I was surprised when the cattery assistant at the rescue centre said they only had two cats needing rehoming but was eager to see them. She led me into the cattery both cats were black one was a long haired beautiful looking cat but known to have a bad temper and the other a sweet but rather shy shorthaired female. As I looked at them I was drawn to the female. Her name was Ashes, that would have to change I thought, but that was easy enough she could simply be Ash for short.
The assistant had said that she had belonged to an old lady who had died, her son had taken her on but she had been traumatised by the busy household of many kids and other cats and had spent most of her time hiding in a draw. She still likes draws if one is open but dosn't feel the need to stay there just be inquisitive. On arrival back at my flat I let her out of the cat carrier and immediately regretted not having closed the kitchen door. Not realising having not had a cat living there before that she could get behind the kitchen cupboards where me as a human could not possibly reach. There she stayed for the rest of the day, no amount of coaxing with food would bring her out. Just as I thought she would never emerge from her hiding place a little black face appeared, I watched as still as I could as she finally decided it was safe to explore her surroundings.
From that first day I began to learn many things about this little black cat who had come into my life. Apart from liking draws she was a very fussy eater, the cattery had said she would only eat pate. I thought I knew better and would soon have her on cheaper stuff, so after giving her a couple of weeks to settle I put my plan into action, if she was hungry she would eat the cheaper food. Day ! - She turned up her nose and said no thanks, ok I thought but tommorow you will be hungry. Day 2 - I still got a no thanks, where's my pate. After day 3 I had to give up as she was a thin cat and couldn't afford to lose more weight, so for the last 10 years pate it has been, she is looking good on it though, she is now 18 years old.
I also discovered that apart from being generally shy with strangers she was particularly not fond of men, I guess she had been used to living with a lady, but my dad would always comment that he didn't think I actualy had a cat as she had always disapeared when he came over to visit. Although being very shy with strangers she was actually a very affectionate cat and loved nothing more than to be with me and be stroked. I would find that if I stopped the stroking she would show her disaproval by wacking me with her tail until I started to stroke her again. Her previous owner had obviously trained her well. To my amusment she would only sit on your lap if you had a blanket on your knee, if not she would sit beside you, she also never slept on my bed until I got out of bed and then it was hers. She does get cross and meow at me to get up though if I have over stayed my alloted time in bed.
One day sitting in my lounge I heard someone say "hello" It took me a moment to realise that there was no one else in the house apart from Ash. I shook my head and thought no that can't have been her or if it was it was just the way she happened to meow. However this became a regular thing and not only could she say "hello" but she said it in context when she was greeting me or letting me know she was there. When I thought about it I realised that it was probably the word that she heard me say the most as whenever I saw her I would say "hello" Not everyone believes me but I have had some astonished friends who have heard her and said "was that your cat that just said hello?"
Tonight she really made me laugh. As she has got older she has developed an annoying habit of meowing at me rather a lot even when she has just had food. The vet did say to me that it sometimes happens in older cats and maybe she has dementia (I didn't know cats could get dementia either) Often lately when she has been sat meowing at me I have looked at her and said "meow" and tonight she walked into the lounge and said "meow" it seemed so funny coming from a cat. I am very proud of her, like a mum when their baby says their first words, after 18 years she can now say two words. She has also finally accepted that my dad is ok and graced him with her presence so I no longer have to try and prove I own a cat. Ash has such a sweet natured affectionate personality and like many of our pets knows when your not feeling right, I am so fortunate to have her in my life. If you have a talking cat (or dog of course) please let me know, although they can talk in many ways without using our human language.