Pets are like people in one important respect: no two are alike.
Deep down, I knew this when my wife and I adopted our new cat almost three weeks ago. But until you live with an animal day in and day out, you don’t realize just how many personality quirks you may have to deal with.
Our last cat, Emma, loved to sit at the window and watch birds. Our new cat, Sophie, can take ’em or leave ’em — at least so far.
Emma was always in the kitchen whenever we were. Sophie doesn’t seem too concerned about what we’re doing in there.
Emma couldn’t stand it when we touched her back paws. Sophie actually seems to like it when we pet hers.
Emma almost always came when called (unless she thought we didn’t see her). Sophie almost never responds, even if treats are involved.
Still, on the whole, Sophie is very affectionate and well-behaved.
She always uses her litter pan, she doesn’t beg for food when we’re eating and she usually wants to be in the same room with us, especially when we’re watching TV. She’ll even watch TV herself whenever we’re tuned to Animal Planet or a sporting event where people are running around on the screen.
But we’ve also found Sophie can be somewhat weird and frustrating.
A few days after we brought her home, Sophie started making a strange little grunting, chirping noise — kind of a cross between a pigeon’s coo and a trilling purr.
She started talking to us by using this sound whenever she saw us, and also when we were giving her some attention, so naturally, we thought it was cute.
Before long, though, she started wandering the house alternating between this trilling sound and a pitiful meow. Nothing we did or said seemed to get her out of this behavior mode.
I went online and found some possible reasons for her meowing, at pets.webmd.com. Some of the possibilities included loneliness, stress, attention-seeking and illness. None of these choices seemed to fit, especially since Sophie adjusted to our home quickly and usually seems fairly calm.
Still, she was a rescue cat, and we can’t be sure how her previous owners treated her or what traumatic experience she may have had that could be contributing to her current behavior.
There was one other possible explanation for her excessive meowing listed on the website — the cat wants to breed.
That makes sense. When we took Sophie in for her required shots two weeks ago, our veterinarian said she may be making the cooing noise because she’s in heat, and the cat certainly has been showing some of the signs — including raising her hind quarters whenever we pet her near the tail, as well as displaying an inexplicable love for my new slippers.
But it’s been two weeks. How long does this amorous-kitty condition last, anyway?
We’re taking her in to be spayed next week, so hopefully that will go a long way toward addressing the meowing problem.
Still, I have to admit I’ve come to grow fond of the cute little grunt-purr she makes when she’s happy, and I would be sad if she stopped doing it altogether after her operation.
With apologies to blues legend B.B. King, I’d rather not be singing, “The Trill is Gone.”
Dave Miller is deputy managing editor of the Killeen Daily Herald. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7543.