On the Whiskers of a Great Discovery


When I was a kid I wanted to be able to talk to the animals. Seriously. My goal in life was to be Doctor Doolittle. Can you imagine how awesome it would be to understand critter-speak? I’d be able to find out if Polly really does want that cracker. I’d know what the fuss is all about with that tree full of crows in the backyard. I’d finally get my dog to understand that my socks are not nesting material. Come to think about it, I’d probably be the most sought after person on the planet – except for the Pope. Everyone wants a selfie with him. I could charge for my translating ability and end up richer than Forrest Gump. Yes, I’d say I had some pretty wise aspirations as a child.

Well, it’s taken me over 55 years, but I have finally managed to reach the first step in my lifelong quest of being the Animal Whisperer. I discovered that cats have a written language! Ok, so I still can’t tell the difference between a “Meow” and a “Rrrowl,” but give me some time. I’m sure I’ll be hissing and purring with the best of them soon. For now, though, I’m up to my beard deciphering the things my kitty Mr. Jack has inscribed around the house. If you own a cat you’ve witnessed them scratching everything from the chandelier to the carpet. They’re not sharpening their claws, my friend. They’re actually writing! You see them outside shredding trees and telephone poles and have always thought they were just relieving pent up energy. On the contrary, they are communicating with each other through what I believe are cat-scratch bulletin boards!  Once I become fluent in their language, I’ll be able to ask them such important questions as Why ignore us when we call them, How can they sleep so much and can they teach us to do it, too, and What’s with leaving mice on the doorstep? Personally, I think it’s like a Mafia warning: Give me tuna or this could be you.

I’ve been busy translating table legs, throw rugs, doors and the dog’s nose to name just a few. For instance, on the side of the dog’s food dish Jack wrote “CHOKE, YOU MISERABLE BEAST.”  On his favorite window ledge it says “THAT STUPID SQUIRREL BURIES ACORNS AROUND THE YARD THEN FORGETS WHERE HE PUTS THEM.” Just this morning I found a treasure trove of information on the back of the couch. I think he’s been keeping a journal. I’ll be sure to share his entries with you as I decipher them. For now, though, I have to be cautious. Jack is becoming suspicious, so I’ve only been able to translate when he’s napping. I’m not sure if he knows I’ve cracked the code of his language, but I have to assume he considers it private and wouldn’t be too happy if he knew I could read it. The last thing in the world I want to do is piss the cat off. He could reduce this house to toothpicks if he wanted.

I believe I’ve discovered one of his earliest writings this morning while cleaning the kitchen. On the floorboard Jack etched “I HAVE ONLY BEEN HERE A FEW MOMENTS BUT HAVE SEEN MONSTEROUS BIRDS ON THE TOP OF EVERY ROOM SPINNING THEIR WINGS SO VIOLENTLY IT CREATES A DRAFT. I AM SURE THEY WILL DEVOUR ME SO I’LL HIDE RIGHT HERE UNTIL THEY FLY AWAY.” I think Jack was talking about the ceiling fans. The day we brought him home he freaked out and bolted through the house. We finally found him the next day cowering behind the fridge. Now I know why.

I feel like the first man to have climbed Mt. Everest, except I’m not as cold. This has got to be one of the greatest scientific discoveries since the automatic drip coffee maker. Once I acquire enough data, I’ll submit it to whatever Grand Poobah council you send such stuff to. Maybe I could get a grant. Maybe I could contract it out to the government. Maybe I’ll be able to have lunch with Donald Trump and Bill Gates. Maybe I’ll finally be able to figure out what catnip actually does to cats. The possibilities are endless!

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