The Silence of the Kitten

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At lunch today, we were sandwiched between two families, both with small children. People with small children are accustomed to a level of noise and chaos that we middle aged childless types find hard to stomach, especially when we’re trying to eat. We have to really focus on our noodles and try to tune out the rambunctious ankle-biters. I do the same thing when someone nearby is inhaling half of Tokyo as they slurp their noodles. I call it “Noodle Zen: the art of shutting out obnoxious noises and foul manners.”

So I was doing my Noodle Zen, finding inner peace, silence of the soul and a higher plane of gustatory harmony when it occurred to me that Little Guy doesn’t speak.

It’s not that he can’t; he just doesn’t.

When we first brought him home, I put the kitty jail on the floor and opened the door. Twitchy came over to see what was in it and the two of them immediately got into a rather heated discussion. Big meow, little mew, big meow, little mew. It went on for quite a while and probably included some mild kitty profanity. (“Your mother has sex with strays!” “Oh, yeah? Your father has tuna breath!”)

After a while, Twitch abruptly turned away and retreated to the top of the fridge. Since that day, Little Guy has said nary a word except for the time I stepped on his tail. That was an accident, not an experiment, and what he said was less “mew” than “HEY!”

Little Guy and Twitch love to wrestle, which they do with a great deal of gusto, rolling each other over and over, all the while biting and scratching. This goes on for quite some time, broken up with sudden spasms of chasing each other up and down the curtains and stairs, thundering along the hallway, jumping on the table and sending things flying in all directions. All that time, Little Guys says not a word except for an incredibly cute squeaky noise he makes when Twitch gets him into a headlock. I suppose it’s the kitten version of “uncle”.

The downside of all this silence is that Little Guy doesn’t purr. Unlike the wild and somewhat terrifying monster who used to scream bloody murder when she first came here, Twitchy has become much less vocal than she used to be. She likes to be picked up and cuddled and she purrs a chocolate syrup river as she rubs her head against my chin. Little Guy sometimes lets me cuddle him, but soon enough something catches his attention and he squirms away, completely purr-less. I’m hoping Twitch will school him in that gentle art. I’ve tried, but my purr isn’t very convincing.

And as I came to the end of that train of thought, I also arrived at the bottom of my bowl of noodles, satisfyingly full of both noodles and Zen. Namaste.

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2 thoughts on “The Silence of the Kitten”

  1. Little Guy is just waiting for the right time to surprise you.

    It reminds me of the story of the family who had a little boy. The boy was healthy, and normal in every way except that he did not speak. There was no “mama” “dada” anything. They took him to the doctor. The doctor said all was normal, and no one know why he didn’t speak. No words at the age of ONE, two, or three, or four. More specialists were consulted; still it remained a mystery.

    At breakfast one morning, the four-and-a-half year old looks up at his mother and says “OATMEAL IS LUMPY!” The mother and father are stunned.
    “What?” his mother replied?
    “OATMEAL IS LUMPY.”
    “Wait,” she said. “You have never spoke a word and the first thing you say to us is this? I don’t understand.”
    “WELL, EVERYTHING HAS BEEN FINE UP UNTIL NOW… ”

    thank you very much I will be here all week. don’t forget to tip your noodle waitress…

    More please…

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