I’ve had some notoriously difficult times with Sprout during her almost three years. For a while, she refused to let me feed her. She refuses to let me read her a bedtime story. And she most certainly never gives me a hug or a kiss before she goes to bed.
One evening I escorted Sprout from the bathroom to her bedroom to help her get into pj’s. Sprout was tired. And when Sprout was tired, she was grumpy, which meant I was the absolute last person she wanted to spend time with.
She glared at me as she slowly got dressed, like the way a feral dog sizes up an opponent before deciding if they need to attack. I was in a good mood and wasn’t about to let her dampen it. Knowing I ran the risk of provoking her further, I told her I was going to tickle her and eat her belly. She grunted at me. I told her I was going to poke her ear and nibble on her toes. She turned her back towards me. I sat down on the floor in front of her when one of our cats walked in the room.
The cat in this scenario, Candy Bar, is so named because the colors of her fur resemble a candy bar that’s been stepped on one too many times. She’s incredibly sweet but incredibly needy. And she’s the loudest cat in the history of all felines. She meows and whimpers when she wants attention. She mews when she’s being pet. In fact the only time this cat doesn’t make noise is when she’s sleeping.
Candy Bar walks into the room and I tell Sprout that she’s come in to say hi. Right on cue, the cat lets loose with a small “meow.” So I meow back at the cat. She answers me. The cat and I continue to have a "conversation" for a minute before she slinks off to go pester another member of the family.
I glance up at Sprout, who is staring at me with big, round eyes like a cartoon character. “I love you!” she says.
“Oh, you didn’t know I could speak to the cat?” I said.
She excitedly shook her head no.
I got a hug and a kiss that night.