Monday Tells!

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Remember “Lassie”? Sometimes Timmy and his family would be eating dinner in ‘50’s black and white when their pleasant conversation would be dramatically interrupted by the bursting entrance of the bounding collie. Timmy immediately knew something was wrong and jumped up to translate.

“What’s wrong, Lassie?”
“Roof, roof!”
Timmy: “What!? Someone fell in the well!?”
Lassie: “Roof, roof, roof!”
Timmy: “And he can’t swim!?”
Lassie : “Roof!”
Timmy: “Well let’s GO!”

And then Timmy and the gang would all rush out the door led by Lassie, the ultimate canine hero.

Even as a kid, I laughed at the inanity of the dialogue between people and animals.

That’s before I knew animals could talk. Of course they don’t speak English but they can communicate many things very clearly – without sarcasm – hidden meanings – or false agendas. If I had any doubts about this, they were dispelled by Monday the Cat on a quiet summer afternoon years ago. If you’ve read some of my previous entries, you know that Sunday and Monday were our cats who were very much a part of our lives in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s.

Sunday, the top cat, lived for attention and figured out early in life that negative attention was better than no attention – so she thought up numerous ways to cause chaos and confusion. Sunday knew she could do just about anything and the only “bad” things that would happen to her were loud threats and chases down the hall as she left messes in her wake like tipped plants, stolen food, piles of toilet paper, chewed plastic, broken glass, scattered litter, dumped ash trays, ripped computer paper, and her people scrambling to find the “squirter” water bottle with which we were supposed to discipline her. Of course she always escaped before we found the damn thing and she was an expert at hiding.

Monday, the cat we got for Sunday, wasn’t good at being bad. She’d try to copy her outrageous sister but usually ended up confused and unsure what to do after Sunday pulled off another caper. Many times she’d be sniffing something like a crashed plant, seconds after Sunday vanished . When we’d rush to the scene of the crime, Monday would look up with big, innocent, frightened eyes that said, “Surely you don’t think I did this?! We ALL know who did this, right!?”

One summer day, T. and I were in my office when Monday the Cat burst in. She was in a panic! Her eyes were wild and the size of saucers, her ears were flat against her head, and her fur was standing straight up.

“What’s the matter, Monday?” we both shouted in unison.

Thinking back, there was no question of Cat/Human Communication. T. and I both knew exactly what Monday was “saying.” Something was very wrong and Monday could not
be any more clear had she spoken perfect English and had the voice of Winston Churchill.

“MEOW!” she shouted and then she turned and started running back down the hall. In an instant, T. and I jumped to our feet and ran after her. The three of us skidded to a halt in the living room and were struck with horror!

“SOMEONE” had left the terrace door open. This was the Number One rule in the apartment: ALWAYS CLOSE THE TERRACE DOOR! The previous year, Sunday dove after a bug and broke her pelvis after hurtling down four floors from my bathroom window. Our unscreened terrace was four floors above the pavement (not the grass) and there was a large tree filled with birds ALMOST within leaping distance for a cat. Sunday was crouched and quickly considering the possibilities.

Then, in one of the top five smartest ideas I ever had in my life, I quietly said, “OK, now don’t rush her. Don’t move!” I then slowly backed into the kitchen and in a loud voice announced, “Who wants TUNAAAAA!?!?”

“Tuna time” although rare, was the only event guaranteed to bring both cats running before one scarfed up the other’s portion. If Monday even hesitated for an instant to get in place, Sunday would vacuum her sister’s whole serving and then start on her own as Monday stared down at an empty plate.

Within seconds, Monday rushed into the kitchen (“I’m sorry Sunday might kill herself – but tuna’s tuna.”), Sunday sprinted across the living room floor right behind her, and T. dashed to the terrace door and slammed it shut. When Sunday saw there was no tuna, she probably realized it was a trick and started running down the hall with T. in hot pursuit loudly yelling at her.

Monday, as usual, didn’t quite know what was going on (she undoubtedly forgot about the whole terrace business as soon as she heard ‘tuna!’) and continued to look up at me and then down at the floor where the tuna should have been served.

Of course Monday got tuna and (no surprise) Sunday did too – but don’t EVER tell me cats can’t communicate!

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