Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cat Got Your Tongue?

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?


Sugarmag said...

Cute! I love T.S Eliot's Practical Cat poems.

Sungold said...

Well, I thought my last entries have been either so academic or so heavy that it was time for some silliness. And yeah, I'm a sucker for Eliot's cats, too.

John Pine said...

catoptromancy: "Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the top cat of them all?"

J.B. Kochanie said...


If readers will click on this link to your recent post, Back to Babylon, they will see Grey Kitty demonstrating her bored response to Meso Lion's pontifications. Perhaps this would serve as a translation of G.K.'s response:
Oh, I just love the patriarchy! It makes such a superb scratch--post!

I so enjoyed your wordplay. Lucky Tiger to have such a Mom.

John Pine said...

Patriarchy, matriarchy
Take a pen, invent y'r 'archy -
The highest rung
Of canticled dung;
Money and power
To our dying hour...
What ghastly wares
Are all our cares?
Dreadful monotony
Spirit phlebotomy.

Sungold said...

Kochanie, nice juxtaposition! GK more likely would've deposited a hairball on the patriarchy. And then run like hell from the lion.

Thanks for the kind words about the kids. Both the Bear and the Tiger can be tough customers - and so, I learn from them, can I. Amazingly, we all love each other like crazy anyway.