Maryalice and I are blessed with communication that goes beyond mere language. We share a bond, an intimacy that transcends trite, traditional conventions like sentences and words and coherent speech. We share a life. We share a love. We share… cats.
Phoebe and Piper moved into our home just three months after we were married. We were still getting to know each other when these little bundles of fur and nerves started running around. Their needs were simple, their lives comfortable. Eat. Sleep. Poop. Repeat. One thing we noticed, however: whenever they were displeased, perhaps by day-old water or our refusal to let them sleep in our bed at night, they let out a single, unmistakable sound of annoyance: “MEH.”
Over time, as my wife and I settled into a happy state of marital bliss, something peculiar happened. We stopped saying things like, “No thank you, baby” and “Not right now, sweetie” and “I don’t think that’s the best option, dear.” The hammer had fallen on our marital conversation, and then it happened. I asked Maryalice a question one day, and she replied, “MEH.” That’s right. We learned our communication techniques… from our cats.
“MEH” has now become such a natural part of our speech that it is impossible not to say it to other people. In meetings at work, talking with team members, and hanging out with my friends, I have given voice to my displeasure with the full fury and disinterest of a slightly overweight tabby. And yes, I’m a professional communicator.
At this rate, there’s a fair chance that we’ll be reduced to social grooming, tongue baths, and kitty litter in the bathroom by the time the baby arrives. I can just imagine the painful caterwauling that will fill the halls of the hospital during the labor and delivery. And that’s just me.