appeared out of the blue. She just walked
right into our house in New Hampshire and stayed. She looked just like Sebastian,
a black cat we had at the time. We thought she was Sebastian and couldn't
understand why the dogs were all of a sudden so excited about her. Then the
real Sebastian walked in! Midnight has a very soft, sweet meow. She loves tuna
fish so much that her nick-names are "Tunerfish", "Fish",
"Fishy", "Shwish", "Shwishy", and of course "Shwishin
Fashu"! She loves to go for walks with me in the field.
Midnight was the first of our cats who came to the east side of Washington, from Hoquiam, to live with me while I attended WSU. She disappeared for the first two days. After school I would search and call for her. On the second night I was up by the road calling her, and she came running to me from hiding somewhere across the street. I was so very happy!
Midnight keeps an eye on me and will always come to my aide if she thinks it is necessary. One windy day I decided to fly a large kite. Midnight watched from a distance. Suddenly the kite came crashing down to the ground in front of me. Midnight immediately charged after it. Her tail was all poofed out and the fur on her back was standing up. She thought the kite was attacking me!
Another time I was putting up a wire mesh fence and kicking the roll along the
ground. Midnight again came charging over, fur all in a floof, to see why this
big roll of wire was attacking me.
When I go out to the cow pasture to feed the cows, Midnight always watches from a distance, ever ready to run to my rescue.
loves it when I whistle to her. Especially the M.A.S.H. theme! She will come
over to me from where ever she is and from whatever she is doing for this tune!
Whenever she hears me whistle she will squirm, purr, drool and rub her head
on everything. Whisling seems to be her auditory equivelant of catnip! I have
contemplated why whistling is so pleasurable to her (and other cats) and I think
that it might have something to do with bird sounds. Maybe cats are programmed
to enjoy bird whistles because they associate the sound with the pleasurable
experience of catching and eating that prey animal. Or maybe they just simply
enjoy the beautiful sound which fills the springtime air...hmm.
I have experimented with other sounds and their effects on the cats. On the opposite end of the spectrum of cat preditor-prey relationships, where the cat is the prey, are dogs. I can do a pretty good wolf howl. One night after watching an enlightening documentary on wolves, I was inspired to let out a little howl. The cats around me had been in their usual semi-conscious state. But upon hearing my howl they sat up in alarm, eyes wide and pupils dialated, looking about in fear. I was amazed at their reaction. I tend to make a lot of strange noises, so my cats are used to it, but a wolf howl sets them off. I know none of them had ever had a run-in with a wolf before. Again, I think the cat brain has built-in programming: eat birds, fear dogs.
Another sound I have experimented with is the "mouse squeak." Since I raised Star, Sun, and Moon from birth, I knew they had never seen or heard a mouse at the time when I decided to squeak my best mouse impression for them. Their reaction was just like any other mouser vetran who knows a mouse is in the vacinity. They were wide-eyed and curious following me as I squeaked, yet they had never had a mouse experience!
In conclusion, I think there are sounds that cause reactions in cats who have never heard them before which are similar in manner to the reactions from cats who are quite familiar with these sounds and are intimate with the creatures who create them.
Midnight hauled out on a dock....her harbor seal impression!