It started innocently enough, my son asking Penelope a question about her feet: “Penelope, how many fingers do you have?”
And without much thought, I answered for her, in a high pitched Muppet voice: “None, I have 20 toes.”
And thus began one of the kids’ greatest sources of entertainment for the past two weeks. He argued with her for a while, about why cats have four legs instead of two arms and two legs. In this case, Penelope was right. But sometimes she’s not, like when she insisted that cats were permanently excused from school due to a 1960 Act of Congress declaring they already knew everything there was to know. She is opinionated.
Like most pet owners, I sometimes imitate my pets saying something, but never has it evolved to this degree. Penelope has a distinct personality, for sure, and plenty to say. I don’t even pay attention to what she is saying half the time, the material just kind of writes itself. She’s a saucy thing. I’m just the translator.
The kids look forward to this now, which, had I known was going to happen would have picked a voice less damaging to my vocal cords. “Penelope!” they yell after school, barging into the front door. Sometimes they are actually looking for the cat. Sometimes though, my son will appear in front of me accusingly. “I said, PENELOPE!!! Where are you?” and then I sigh, and say, “Right here!” or, if I’m smart, “Hiding somewhere in the house! Come catch me!”
Penelope only has about 5 minute in her before her voice needs a rest. She is, after all, new to this talking thing.
Last night, my daughter was angry with me for reasons that only nine year old girls understand, something to do with Animal Jam time restrictions. I was persona non grata. I was sitting on her bed wondering if I was going to be able to get a goodnight hug when in walked Penelope.
“Hi Penelope,” she said.
“Hi,” she answered.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m looking for mice,” she replied. “Seen any lately?”
“No,” my daughter laughed.
“I think you’re holding out on me,” Penelope replied, and just like that Animal Jam was forgotten and I got my hug.
All these years with pets and I’m still learning how much they enrich our lives. Thanks kiddo. Penelope is now the new intermediary. Please tell me someone else talks for their pet like this too, so I know I haven’t entirely gone off the deep end. 😀
Deborah Mendez says
Almost daily, and in my case I am usually asking the questions and answering them on the cat’s behalf. Something like: “Peanut, do you think your Daddy will remember that this is garbage and recycle pick up day?” And Peanut will respond with a witty answer and I don’t feel like a nagging wife reminding the husband to get the heavy bins down to the curb!
Our dogs have their own voices, their own favorite sayings and their own personalities. We talk to them and we speak for them, we even sing parodies of pop songs to and about them … Once I thought we had issues, then I slowly learned that a few other people out there do the same thing…
Deborah Mendez says
Don’t feel bad, I have altered songs for each of ours and usually sing to them on the way to the Vet! Mainly to drown out their vocalizing!
Oh, you KNOW I do. Only nobody here appreciates it like your kids do. Except for me. And if I crack myself up, that’s good enough, right?
Oh, I’m so glad I’m not the only one!!!
E.A. Summers says
My household is 1 human, 1 dog, 1 cat. We are all vocal in our own ways. And yet…I SPEAK a back and forth dialog for all. Scary!
But, I feel better knowing that others are the “voice of pet” also…
Cathey Avery says
Great story – on all levels! Thanks so much for letting us sit in your kitchen while this all goes on! PS–Penelope is becoming even more beautiful in that very unusual coat!
Love it! Had a flash memory to the puppets in “What About Bob?”.
Cute! I do this for my cats too. Sometimes other animals. And I realized I was turning into my mother when the movie ‘Two Brothers’ came out-the one about the two tigers. I did voices for them the entire movie, and only towards the end did I realize my mother had embarrassed me when she did the exact same thing during the movie ‘The Bear.’
(Don’t cats have 18 toes? 4 on each back paw? Perhaps mine are deformed.)
When I worked in recovery for a s/n clinic I translated for the animals quite often, to amuse my volunteer helper with developmental disabilities. Kitties would often let her know they had headaches from the dogs barking, tummy aches, or be upset at missing parts. It made the day go by quicker. I often have conversations with my own cat, giving voice to both sides (she likes to talk back about medicine time).