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Home2Cats.org - Fall, 2010

THE  SCRATCHING  POST

Issue #45, by Barbara Stanley, home2cats@aol.com

Home 2 Cats, P. O. Box 752671, Memphis, TN  38175-2671

HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!

Mews You Can Use

Cat Chat

Chatting with a cat can be a one sided conversation. Overall, cats do not understand our language but respond to our tone of voice. Most cats love to relax and listen (or pretend to listen) when we communicate with them in a soothing friendly way. They don’t understand our conversation but this captive audience enjoys being included, which strengthens our bond with them. The conversation isn’t always one-sided, as there are some pretty chatty felines out there who love to spin a yarn or two with some cat tales of their own.

Your cat may appear to be the silent type with not much to say, but don’t let that fool you, as they are actually capable of making over 100 different vocal sounds in a variety of tones and across octaves. The actual vocal sound of ‘meow’ between cats is usually reserved for communication between a mother and her kittens. It may surprise many of you that, as adults, cats usually do not use the meow sound with one another. The special language of meow-ese that cats use as adults is reserved for us privileged humans.

Even though cats don’t understand our language and we don’t speak meow-ese, both parties can usually get the gist of the conversation by observing body language and the tone of voice used. From our language, cats can distinguish many single words, mostly when the word is important to them, such as "dinnertime". There is no denying that they understood that word as the foot race to the kitchen begins and the meowing escalates to a full-blown concerto.

As adults, the communication that cats use cat-to-cat can vary from purring, caterwauling, chattering, hissing, growling and shrieking but the meowing sound is not usually used. Body language used along with the vocal sounds plays an important role in their communication with each other.

The cat-to-human communication may include some or all of the above in addition to the meow sound. Cats have fine-tuned their meow-ese language and those of us with talkative companions have learned to distinguish many of their mews that vary in pitch, length and volume. For example, cats can turn a simple meow into a ten-syllable word when they are reminding us about the word "dinnertime".

Some scientists believe that the meows were fine tuned to manipulate people. (Gee, imagine that, a cat manipulating a human to get want they want! Really didn’t need a scientific study as the scientist just needed to own a cat or should I say ‘be owned by a cat!)

Being resourceful, cats know which meow, in which tone, will give them the desired result from their human. The pleasant sweet meow, you know the type, the one that tugs at your heartstrings, can be used for the very-important dinner request or for simply requesting human attention. A harsher not-so-cute meow (yeah, I think I know this one also) is reserved for demands.

Then there are the really harsh ugly ones used for reprimanding and turning M-E-O-W into a big ugly four-letter word. Cats know when to use the sweet meow versus the harsh and ugly meow because they know which one will work to get the desired result. (Can the scientist spell MANIPULATE one more time?)

I consider it is an honor that cats have deemed us worthy of their affection and have fine-tuned their meow-ese into a second language to communicate with us. Okay, maybe I should have said ‘manipulate us’…either way I’m still honored!

 

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Cat Tails

A Christmas Blessing

We have all experienced a moment or two in our lives that have had an impact on us. There are the profound ones, which I categorize as a "light bulb" experience. It’s when the moment really makes you realize something for the first time and it changes the direction of your life. Then there are the breathtaking ones (self-explanatory!) that leave you speechless. The best way I can truly describe them would be spiritual.

A few of my breathtaking spiritual moments include hiking up a volcano in Costa Rico and hearing and feeling the mountain breathe. Another moment was waking up at 2 AM on July 4th to the sound of rumbling and to view molten red lava shooting in the night sky and flowing down the volcanoes’ peak. There was also the most breathtaking vivid view of the Napili coast in Kauai revealed to us as we stood on a mountain in the mist of a cloud that suddenly opened and then once again encompassed the scene.

And then there was the time we were fortunate to view a feral colony’s Christmas Blessing.

Larry and I had been feeding feral colonies long before we founded Home 2 Cats. It began quite by accident and was a forerunner to our "careers" in animal rescue and the founding of Home 2 Cats.

Amanda, who was our blind cat that we had found starving, wandering through the woods, had a special relationship with Larry. She was slightly temperamental and somewhere along the way, Larry discovered that Amanda loved to ride in the car. Once in the car, nestled in Larry’s arms, she became the sweetest most content cat. The car rides were a special ‘treat’ for Amanda and Larry would make a point on the weekends to take her for a little outing.

On one of these outings, the two of them discovered a large feral colony living behind a grocery store. The colony was quite large and the cats were ‘dumpster diving’ for food. Behind one side of the store was a hilly wooded area that was becoming an unauthorized dumping site…tires, couches, you name it, and it was among all this debris we eventually discovered that the cats sought shelter.

Way back then, we were unfamiliar with feral colonies; in fact, this colony was the first we had ever seen. Over time we became their dedicated caretakers feeding them morning and night for many years. But in the beginning, it was just occasionally on the weekends and holidays that Larry, Amanda and I would bring them food.

It was early Christmas morning that we headed out to give the colony an extra special feeding to help celebrate the day. Amanda was in her usual spot; contentedly sprawled across Larry’s lap and arms.

As we drove up behind the grocery store expecting to see cats dumpster diving, none were to be seen. This was unusual as there were always a minimum of three or four cats hanging around that area. Concerned, we continued driving away from the dumpster to an area where we normally left them food, and again no cats.

Then we noticed off to our right, far and away from all the dumped debris, in the wooded field, perched on top of a mound, sat the whole colony and quite few extra cats we had never seen or would ever see again. We stopped the car and sat quietly taking in the scene. We had never before witnessed so many cats together.

They were quietly sitting upright and appeared so serene that they looked like sculpted statues. The twenty plus cats that gathered that special day continued to sit peacefully together as the morning light unfolded on their quiet celebration of Christmas Day.

The scene was such an incredible sight and it will forever be imprinted in my mind. We felt like intruders as we witnessed this extraordinary, peaceful and private moment. Eventually, several of the cats noticed us and the moment was then lost. The cats began to scatter and disappear in the shrubs. I always felt bad that we intruded on their private celebration that day but also blessed that we were given a glimpse.

We left them their special meal and we left with a special feeling deep within.

 

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Animal and People Recognition

While losing a companion is one of life's greatest sorrows, never having one is to miss out on years of loving companionship.

 

In Memory Of Animals

In loving memory of little Squirt.
--Dennis Kroll & Karen Plant

Chester
Beloved cat of Pam Magee.
--Nathine Stark

Abbie
For Gregory & Susan Gregory, Lyn Greer, Emily Bucy, Madeline & Jacob Haines in memory of Abbie & in honor of her birthday, September 6th.
--Laurin Gregory

Abbie
For Laurin Gregory, Lyn Greer, Emily Bucy, Madeline & Jacob Haines in memory of Abbie Gregory who passed away July 17, 2009 in honor of her birthday which was September 6.
 --Kimbrough & Susan Gregory

Lily
My sister, Bonnie L. Severson’s, beloved cat that she cared and nutured
and nursed and loved for nine years.

--Sue & Frank Domian

Ebony
Much loved dog of Nancy Jaussand.
--Elaine Theisen

Christie
For Kimbrough & Susan Gregory and Lyn Greer in memory of our family
black Labrador retriever who died in October, 1994.

--Laurin Gregory

Davey
For Kimbrough & Susan Gregory and Lyn Greer in memory of our family
dog who died in April of 1983.
--Laurin Gregory

Agnes Suzanne
In memory of Ann Sharp’s constant and loving companion.
--Bob & Dody Cordes

Brownie
In memory of our granddog, Brownie, beloved pet of Mike, Ashley, Zack and Maegan Redman.
Brownie joined the family last year as a puppy.
As a chocolate lab, Brownie devoted his short life to protecting his family and having lots of fun.
He loved taking the kids to and from the school bus stop
He knew the bus was coming long before you could see it.
It was always the correct bus—no matter how many came by!
Brownie loved to play tug of war with his rope toy and could pull Zack all over the house.
Brownie was a wonderful friend & companion—he is greatly missed by all who knew & loved him.
-
Jim and Shirley Redman

Agnes Suzanne

 

In Memory Of People

Ted Cartledge
In memory of my beloved Ted.
--
Ruth Blann Cartledge

Ted Cartledge
In memory of my beloved husband.
--Ruth Blann Cartledge

Ted Cartledge
In memory of my beloved husband’s birth month of October.
--Ruth Blann Cartledge

Mr. Larry Askins
For Dr. Kelly Askins & Joanne Rhodes & Walker.
--Danny & Laura Greer

Clare Bosler
For Ginny Manss in memory of Clare Bosler & her love of a friend’s dog, Sadie.
--Elaine Theisen

 

In Honor Of People

In honor of Barbara and Larry Stanley
for their love and work and their dedication to saving the lives of so many cats
(and maybe a few other creatures, too).
--
Dr. & Mrs. Murray Heimberg

Larry & Barbara Stanley
In love & admiration for you both.
--Ruth Blann Cartledge

A Birthday wish for Donna Daugherty, my friend!
--Susan Barnhart

Happy 11th Birthday to everyone at Home 2 Cats.
Thanks for helping our "sisters" and "brothers".

--Autumn & Henry Bond

 

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Our mission is:
To provide food, medical care, love and sanctuary for injured, disabled or abused animals.
To educate the public in what constitutes responsible cat care and ownership.
To engage in other activities related to animal rescue and public education about cat care and responsibilities.

 

- -  H o m e 2 C a t s . o r g  - -

 

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P. O. Box 752671
Memphis, TN  38175-2671
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