I live with a cat. Or, in order to put it more appropriately, I have become the servant of a feline. His name is Sufi. He is a philosopher. He ponders a lot. He sits and watches and thinks about how to direct his humans. How to make them stroke him, mainly before and during his meals. He meows to call his domestics into the kitchen. He demands instant stroking, before and during his meals. Then, if we get it right he starts purring as his sign of approval.
Anna brought Sufi into our relationship. She had been serving him for the past three years and very early in our liaison she started teaching me how to do it right. I mean, he had demanded from her to educate every human male that enters his personal space. That is what we call a flat but in reality it is the space where the cat resides. The place that he has taken possession of. The place that he defends against invaders and mice. With a purr. With a slight stir of his whiskers. With a silent glance.
He doesn't require a loud or shrill voice. Some soft meowing, some purring, some elegant steps along his servants' legs will tell them what to do in order to be of use to him. And of course he doesn't thank us. Cats never do. He eats, expects the nutritional stroke, turns his head in disapproval if the stroke comes not frequently enough. And then, abruptly, he decides to leave the place. Up he goes, no thank you, no final purr. And he leaves his servants sitting on the floor looking at each other in puzzlement. "What about us?" You don't ask this question when you have become the servant of a cat. It's futile.
But there is one more thing that you need to know. I will tell you my secret, but only if you promise not to pass it on to him. Promise? Ok. I know catish. Yes, I really do. I understand his language. And I know how to speak it. And that's why I leave him after some strokes sitting in the middle of the room. Or fondle him a tiny little bit too roughly. Or let him wait for my caressing hand for a few seconds longer than expected. And guess what - he adores me.
Yes, I speak catish.