Cat Voice

I made the horrendous mistake one day of getting this free app called Talking Tom on my phone. You can talk into it, and it repeats what you said back in a high pitched voice. You can also pet it, which gives you points; and buy all sorts of ridiculous stuff, like virtual food.

It’s the most annoying app in the world. Of course, my children adore it.

The kids decided that their own cat also talks in this voice, so they carry on long conversations with him, with the kids switching off the cat talking role, which always sounds like LOLcats captions. It usually goes something like this:

Kid: What do you want, kitty?

Cat: Oooh, I can haz treat? I loves me some treatz! Then gives me pettinsg. I droolz on ur handz.

Then all the kids start rolling on the floor in laughter.

The other day, Little Girl asked what we were having for dinner. “Salmon,” I said.

“I don’t like salmon,” she said.

“You do like salmon,” I reminded her.”You loved it last time.”

“I don’t,” she said.

“That’s because you call it chicken. But it’s always salmon.”

She ignored this. Little Girl was tired– it was right after the time change.

The cat was sitting on the couch between us, so I launched into Kitty Voice. “Oh, good! Then I will sitz on your seat at the table and eats it all gone. I loves salmon!”

Little Girl got her crazy-angry face on. She smacked her hand down on the couch in front of the cat, startling him. But he didn’t move.

“Why’d you do that?” I asked.

“Because he said he was going to eat my salmon!” she said indignantly.

“First of all, you said you don’t like it. Second, the cat can’t actually talk. I said it,” I said.

“Well, I didn’t like it,” she said.

“Well, then you can eat your dinner,” I said.

So at dinner, she tried her salmon. “Not bad, I kind of like it!” she said.

Her brother was picking at his dinner. “What’s wrong?” I asked him.

“I only like WILD salmon,” he said. “Not farmed.”

Oh, Lord.

Published by Margaret Dilloway

Middle grade and women's fiction novelist. FIVE THINGS ABOUT AVA ANDREWS, (Balzer + Bray 2020); SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES. MOMOTARO: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters (Disney Hyperion); TALE OF THE WARRIOR GEISHA and SISTERS OF HEART AND SNOW, out now from Putnam Books. HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE was a finalist for the John Gardner fiction award. THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS is the 2013 Literary Tastes Best Women's Fiction Pick for the American Library Association. Mother of three children, wife to one, slave to a cat, and caretaker of the best overgrown teddy bear on Earth, Gatsby the Goldendoodle.

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