Conversations With Jonesy
I’m not a particularly vocal person. I communicate with a few friends and my co-workers. Needless to say, my communications with Jonesy are also somewhat limited. There’s the plaintive meow when he wants attention, the short brusque meow when he’s hungry, and the long wailing – I’m going to be guillotined – when I take him to the vet. There is one occasion however, when he’s very talkative and it was my own softheartedness that caused it.
When Jonesy was a kitten I was told that if he started to whine when I went out I shouldn’t pay attention to it for he was bound to stop in time. But his whining was so pitiful – I’m sure he practiced – that on several occasions I went back to comfort him. This was a mistake for then he took to howling whenever I left. He’s continued to do that but has since topped this behavior with something not so embarrassing but even more bizarre.
The first time it happened I was going to a gathering of stamp collectors a short distance from my apartment. Jonesy ran beside me slipping from one car to another. I kept telling him to go home but he ignored me. When I reached my destination I told him he could come in but he was understandably apprehensive of the number of people so he stayed outside. Since I was only two blocks from my apartment I reasoned Jonesy would make his way home as soon as he got bored. You can imagine my surprise when I left three hours later to find Jonesy waiting for me like a well-trained dog.
Since then Jonesy has often accompanied me to the edge of his territory, which is about a block in each direction. If I continue past that he will howl at my back for a couple of minutes and then wait in the general vicinity for my return. I was initially charmed by this act of devotion but it has since proved to be a curse. On more than one occasion I have returned home hours later having taken a completely different route, and it was only after I had gotten into bed that I suddenly remembered him. Then I’ve had to get up, dress, and rush outside to find him. Inevitably he is in the same place where I left him. It’s now that he talks non-stop, loudly meowing as if inquiring where I’ve been, what I did, who I was with, what did they say, and from his tone admonishing me for not coming home sooner. It’s bad enough to have to wander about in the dead of night in my dressing gown and slippers looking for him, but lately his haranguing has become so bad that I’ve taken to carrying a little note book so I can jot down where I left him in the first place and thus avoid these embarrassing moments.
Of course that’s when I talk to him because that’s about the only time I can get a word in edgewise. When I see him I’ll come running over and I’ll say low, but loud enough for him to hear, Hey it’s me! He’ll turn around and say, casually, Hey, Jonesy. Then I rub against his legs asking how he’s been and so forth and so on. He pets me and we walk back to the apartment together. We keep it just between ourselves, you know, two dudes saying, Hi. I’d love to have longer conversations with him but he just doesn’t listen. It can be very frustrating.
For example, last week I came rushing in and I said, I’ve got to get to the window. There’s a hurt crow out there somewhere and I want to nail it. He said, Do you want something to eat? No! I said, not now. See the crows on the wire? I just came around the corner when they started cawing like crazy. I bought some fish, he said. Do you want some? He obviously wasn’t listening to a word I was saying. Later! I snapped. Crows only caw like that when one of them is hurt. It’s probably broken a wing or something. If I find him he’s toast.
Mr. V picked me up. What are you doing? I shouted. PUT ME DOOOOOWN! He said, Don’t lean out the window like that, you’ll fall. Are you kidding me? Me? Fall? LET GO OF ME! Of course by that time the crows had long gone.
He might as well have just held up a sign saying, FLY AWAY! CAT ON THE PROWL! Now you understand why I have such a hard time talking to him. Oh, I know he does his best, but sometimes I have to wonder if he’s going deaf or if he’s just plain stupid.
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