If you’re a cat lover, you probably looked at that picture and thought, “How sweet.” If you’re not one, you probably won’t read the rest of this post. And that’s okay. Ever since getting a dog to replace one of our two cats, I’ve come to appreciate the fact that cats are not as ideal as I’d previously thought.
Ashes, shown above in a recent pose, came from a feral background. Rescued and put up for adoption, this white oriental cat–he looked a bit like a Siamese cat then–had gray specks on his neck when he was young. Hence “Ashes.” As he’s grown older, those specks have disappeared.
But who’s going to rename a cat just because the name doesn’t fit anymore? At least the dog’s name–Happy–still fits. But we’re forever trying to refer to her (Happy) as him and to him (Ashes) as her.
But that has nothing to do with the “Loudest Cat in Town.”
I’m not sure when it started–probably soon after getting Happy, though–but Ashes started begging to be fed. I say “begging,” but “yowling” is a more accurate description. And he started yowling for breakfast anywhere from 4:00 a.m. on.
To appreciate our problem, you need to understand several things. We get up at 6:30 on weekdays, 7:30 on Sundays, and whenever on Saturdays. I have my wife’s permission to wake her by 9:00 since I’m always starving by then and she’s the breakfast cook on weekends.
The other thing you need to understand is the fact that Ashes is quite a hunk. Literally. Yes, his fur is thick, but he’s pretty weighty, and we’re determined not to let him get any bigger. Especially since he likes to use our stomachs as springboards getting from one place to another.
So here we were facing (or trying unsuccessfully to ignore) the yowling of a cat before we were ready to get up and to give him less food than he had been accustomed to. Not a great combination.
We finally changed his suppertime from 4:15 p.m. to 8:00. That helped some, since that meant he ought not to be nearly as hungry in the early morning. But it didn’t help enough. So we started giving him his breakfast food along with his supper meal. Two scoops of food rather than just one. That worked wonders.
But he still expected food at 6:30 when we gave Happy her breakfast, and he also wanted food at 4:15 when we fed Happy her evening meal. This fellow wanted it all!
When I say, “He wanted,” I mean he started meowing more loudly than any other cat I’ve ever heard. I’m not sure he doesn’t do it louder than Happy barks, and that’s really saying something.
We finally started giving him a small handful–I’m guilty of giving him more than Kathleen does–each time we feed Happy, and he seems to be satisfied with having two itsy-bitsy meals a day plus the one that’s double-sized.
And that’s the way things are now. Ashes jumps up on the bed and starts meowing closer to 6:30, but still earlier than anyone wants to get up and deal with it.
On weekends, whoever gets tiredest of listening to him gets up, feeds both animals, and then puts Happy out. Even with waiting for Happy to come back in, that doesn’t normally take more than ten minutes or so, and sometimes the person who gets up to feed the animals is able to get back to sleep.
In the evenings when Kathleen is crocheting and I’m reading or writing and soft music is playing in the background, we can count on Ashes to start his evening yowl anywhere from 6:55 on. Fortunately he does stop for a while, but not until he’s worn out our ears and our patience.
Why can’t this beautiful animal have a soft meow like a normal cat?
Oh, well. Things are as they are, and Kathleen assures me that having Ashes’ vocal cords removed would constitute animal cruelty. I’m not so sure.
What about you? Do you have any animal tales (tails?) you’d like to share in a comment?
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