Kat Konversations
for Diane G.

Note: For the following kitty dialogue, the cats’ non-verbal communications will be in italics, and their meowed words will be in normal font. Most of their conversation is non-verbal. Luckily for y’all, I can understand and translate their language.


Toby and Starbuck have finally signed a treaty and declared my bedroom to be neutral territory. Starbuck has, therefore, resumed her nightly occupation of the foot of my bed. So I’m lying in bed, recovering from the work day with a sexy domestic magazine, and Starbuck sees her opportunity to spend quality time with me. She does this by jumping onto the bed and lying on top of the next magazine on my list, a foot away from me. Mmm… magazine bed…


Toby: Are you on the bed? Should I get on the bed? Are we on the bed? Can I get on the bed?
Me: Hey, Toby-binky. Hey, Toby Tonka Truck. Get on the bed.
Starbuck: Oh, jeez. Whatever.
Toby: Hi! Here I am!

Toby steps on my magazine, hits me in the face with his head. His butt is all up in Starbuck’s face.

Toby: I have a special offer for you today! You may pet me! A lot!

Toby wedges his entire body between me and Starbuck, falls onto the magazine I’m reading, head butts me again.

Starbuck: WTF? Seriously, WHAT the HELL?
Toby: [Looking into my eyes.] I love you! Do you love me? I love you! You love me! We’re a happy… Pet me, please!
Starbuck: Oh, hell no. Eff this.
Me: Starbuck… Wait! Starbuck, we love you, too!

Starbuck jumps off the bed as bitchily as non-verbally possible, and leaves the room. Toby lets out a happy sigh. I remove cat hair from my lip gloss.


It’s night. I turn off all the lights in the house and retire to my room. This evening, there happens to be a child in my bed. (Scary movie, potential bad dreams.) The other kid is in his own room, lights out. Lights out in my bedroom. Next thing I know, Starbuck has appeared at the foot of my bed. She is curled up, head down. Ready to sleep. I’m glad, because at first I was worried that Toby was making her nocturnal again. But no. Here she is, and everything’s quiet. I roll up in the piece of the blanket my child has allotted me, and close my eyes.

Fifteen minutes of silence. Then, the sound of cat claws clicking far away, across the dining room floor.

Toby: HELLO?

Silence. Then…

Me: [Calling toward dining room.] Toby! Go to sleep!
Toby What? Who was that? Man. This is, like, so weird. It’s happening again. It turned dark, and suddenly no one’s around. Why does this always happen? Where’d everybody go?
Me: [Trying not to wake up my kids.] Toby! Be quiet!
Toby: Oh, there’s that chick again. Let me go see…

Toby enters the bedroom. I see his giant, half-white body glowing in the doorway.

Toby: HELLO? Hey, you guys! What are you doing? How come you’re all in bed with your eyes closed?
Me: [Weakly.] Toby… Please… Shh-h-h…
Toby: Should I get in bed, too? Are you gonna pet me? No? Okay, well, I’ll be in the living room if anybody wants me. Just let me know.
Starbuck: Oh, Jesus Christ.

Toby clicks back into living room.

Toby: Doo dee doo… Here I am, walking around alone. Mmm, cat food. Delish! People all over the world… join hands… start a love train… love train…
My child: Can’t sleep… Mom! Ricky’s wearing that ugly hat again and he’s crying all over my outfit for school… zzz…
Me: Why does he only meow at night?
Starbuck: See? You see how I’m being all good here, and he’s making noise? This is what I’ve been trying to tell you. He is bad, and I am good! You need to take him back to the shelter! Oh, damn! [Jumps up and runs from room.] He’s eating all the cat food!


Toby has PTSD. We know this now. At some point in his childhood, someone apparently abused him with household items. This is how we found out: I lying in bed, recovering from a long day of broking commercial insurance by flipping through a magazine and talking to my boyfriend on my cell. My cell was also charging at the time.

Me: And then I was like, whatever! And she was like, let me just email everybody as if they care! And I was like, well I will Reply All on that shit, and CC our boss, his wife, and my lawyer! That’ll teach her to ask me if I followed up on Alan’s file! I’m like, “You follow up on YOUR files, and I’ll follow up on MY files, and you follow up on SHUT THE HELL UP.” Not even to mention that she’s trying to copy my hair color.
Tad: Uh huh.
Toby: Hi!
Me: Oh my God, can they please stop showing these kids from the Hills? Jesus! So anyway, remember I was telling you about that one time a long time ago when I saw that green skirt on sale and it was too small? Back when I was sixteen? And I was like, totally traumatized?
Tad: Uh huh.
Toby: Hi!! It’s okay if you want to pet me now!

Toby falls onto my magazine, tearing the Heidi Montag page, and head butts me in the eye.

Me: Jesus, Toby. Toby’s here. Oh, guess what. Toby and Starbuck didn’t make any noise at all last night. Until 3:30 AM, when they started fighting under the bed. But they stopped at 4:30 AM, when I finally got up and sent them out of the bedroom. I think they’re getting better, don’t you?
Tad: Uh uh. Not really, no.

My elbow is falling asleep, so I turn from my stomach to my side, temporarily pausing my petting of Toby. As I turn, the charger cord connected to my cell brushes across Toby’s ear.

Toby: Oh my God! It’s happening again! RED ALERT! RED ALERT! THE VEE-CEES ARE IN THE TREES!

Toby jumps up, makes a warning motion as if to bite my hand.

Me: [Sitting up quickly, so that the charger cord pulls out of the phone.] What the fuck? Toby, what’s wrong with you?

Toby grabs phone cord, starts feverishly biting it.

Tad: What happened?
Me: I don’t know. Toby just freaked out. I think it was because I turned away from him to talk to you. Do you think he’s jealous of you? Do you think he wants me all for himself? Do you think he’s emotionally abusive, looking to get into a codependent relationship with me? Oh my god, why does this shit always happen to me? Why am I a magnet for…
Tad: He probably just got scared. You know how he’s kind of jumpy.
Me: Maybe. Oh, shoot — I need to charge my phone. I don’t know why it keeps running out of charge so fast… It’s not like I talk on it all the time or…

I reach over and take the charger plug from Toby. The cord brushes against his body.


Toby jumps straight into the air, lands near Starbuck at the foot of the bed, and bites the air near her back.

Toby: [Jumping off bed.] Why? Why does the devil cord follow me???
Starbuck: Oh, for the love of…
Me: Oh. I think I know what’s wrong with him now.
Tad: Baby, do you mind if I get off the phone and eat dinner now?
Me: Oh, I guess. I’ll call you later, okay? [Hanging up, putting phone cord out of sight, turning to Toby.] Toby, come here, baby. Come here.

Warily, Toby jumps up on bed. I reach over to my nightstand and grab the cat brush that’s there.

Me: Here, baby. Let me brush you.
Toby: [Jumping off bed, running out of room.] Not the cat brush! Not the CAT BRUSH! No means no! No-o-o-o!!!
Me: What is his deal?
Starbuck: Hell if I know. I told you, you never should have got him from the shelter.
Me: Oh, Starbuck. Come here.
Starbuck: Only if you’re going to brush me. Otherwise, shut the hell up.


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Posted in cats on 02/27/2008 11:06 am

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