|Scene of the crime|
I knew in a flash (to quote a certain Christmas poem) exactly what the problem was. While Kiki had napped away a Sunday afternoon, someone -- some dastardly person -- had stolen not only the food she had left in the bowl for later, but also the blue-and-white bowl itself, her water dish (um, well, it isn't exactly a dish), and even the blue mat under her dishes. Clearly a problem of the first order! And I was the culprit. I talked to Kiki as we hurried to the kitchen to survey the terrible scene, where I had taken up all her things to clean them. The mat was drying over by the sink.
After my friend Donna and I closed our bookstore, we lived in an apartment together with our two cats as we paid off our business debts. Her cat is Sammy, female like Kiki. Having always been "only" cats, the two didn't really like each other, but they watched and learned things the other cat knew. Sammy became more vocal, like Kiki, and now regularly talks to Donna. And Kiki learned this neat way of drinking water from Sammy.
I've written before about Kiki's talkativeness. She is quite good at lying for a good cause, but sometimes we had to laugh at her. Occasionally when Donna would get home from work, Kiki would tell her she hadn’t had her afternoon treats yet -- and Sammy would come running to jump up on the piano and watch the action, hoping Kiki could convince the human that they were poor, pitiful, starving kitties who never got their treats on time. The only trouble with their scheme was that I was usually right there in the room.
Donna would glance at me and say to Kiki, "But you already HAD your treats."The cats never seemed to notice that humans communicate with each other as well as with them. Finally, Kiki would give up and plop on the floor with her back to Donna, and Sammy would sigh.
Kiki meowed plaintively, "Maiow, mew, mew."
Donna would say, "Yes, you did."
Kiki replied, "Meow miahow mew!"
Donna would say again, "Yes, you did."
Kiki got more assertive, saying, "Meow miaow MEOW."
Cats have such a difficult life, trying to keep their humans in line.