The latest National Geographic Kids claims that cats have 16 words that they use to communicate. It was driving me and the Bear nuts that the magazine doesn’t say more – is this a top-secret language, so secret that only the cats know and aren’t telling? Is it kind of like the mysterious name that T.S. Eliot describes in “The Naming of Cats?”
… The name
that no human research can discover–
But The Cat Himself Knows,
and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought,
of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.
Even after googling it, the Bear and I failed completely to figure out what National Geographic was getting at. But I did find this very funny lexicat at Artsy Catsy. I’m copying their whole list; if you love cats, do visit their blog.
1) Catcall: A signaling device we use to give marching orders to humans to fill food bowls, open doors, give us chin scritches and their undivided attention.
2) Catty-corner: The proper location for our litter box.
3) Caterwaul: What we sometimes hit when we miss the litter box.
4) Catwalk: Our daily exercise regimen, consisting of short shuffles to the food bowl with occasional detours to the catty-corner.
5) Catkin: What happens to kitties who didn’t have hoohaectomies or ladygardenectomies.
6) Catalyst: What humans use to do our shopping, i.e. 1. Stinky goodness 2. Temptations 3. Litter 4. Toys 5. More Temptations
7) Catacomb: A device used on kitty spa days to remove cat-a-mats from our furs.
8) Catapult: What we do when the catacomb gets caught in a cat-a-mat.
9) Catnip: What we do when you “pult” too hard with the catacomb.
10) Catgut: An essential part of our insides, which requires constant filling with stinky goodness and Temptations.
11) Catsup: Mealtime; a method for filling the catgut.
12) Catnap: What we do when we’re not catsupping.
13) Category: The yucky stuff we yak up all over the house when we’ve catsupped too much.
Now, we at Kittywampus no longer have a resident cat since the demise of Grey Kitty a few years ago. But we still observe proper eticatte, and so – knowing what GK would’ve said – here are our humble additions to Artsy Catsy’s compendium:
Catalog: The shape deposited in our litter box after too much catsup and cat-a-mats.
Cat scan: Surveying our territory for signs that the humans are about to break out the catsup.
Catsuit: That which suits us, especially stinky goodness and Temptations.
Catamount: That’s personal! Didn’t you learn about that in biology class?
Catalytic converter: The elegant system for digesting catsup.
Caterpillar: Leader and paragon of the feline community; top cat. (Feared and loathed by Grey Kitty, who was not all that.)
Catfish: The stinkiest of stinky goodness; comes in a can and should be served at every catsup.
Catechism: The long and often futile program of schooling humans to properly cater to cats.
Catastrophe: Punctuation, used (sparingly) in cat communication. When formed by the tail, often resembles a human question mark.
Categorical imperative: The requirement for humans to cater to every feline whim; priority of feline wishes over all else.
If you come up with any more catty silliness, leave a comment and I’ll add it here.
LOLdictionarycat from I Can Has Cheezburger?