How To Train A Human

by: Meggity Mags

What’s In A Name?

Humans can’t learn to speak cat. Don’t even try to teach them. They are not smart enough to pick it up, other than trying to utter a few meows that translate into nothing. No matter how often you speak to them, no matter what you try to tell them, they just won’t get it.

This is a true human failing, one of the major proofs that they are so much less than cats.

Of course, we cats are a secretive breed; we don’t tell everything to everyone, not even other cats. Usually we don’t bother speaking to those cats we meet, and when we do, we don’t often give out our real name, the one given to us by our parents at birth. That is a sacred name, one only shared by special felines, not casual or new acquaintances, so often we’ll use a nickname, or an alias. Any times we’ll just say, “Call me ma’am. Or sir.”

I still remember when my Mom and Dad, a few days after my birth, pronounced my forever name: Meggidy Mags. A shudder of pleasure at the sound rippled through me; its essence settled deep within me. Within moments I became Meggidy Mags. It was the quintessence of who I am. It was a moment beyond sacred, and no name any human servant might call me could ever come close.

Humans, not understanding this fundamental truth about cats, not knowing we already have a forever name, will spend hours—and sometimes days—figuring out the “perfect” name for you. But remember, it’s not a “real” name, it’s just one of their own devising, one that feels “right” to them. They don’t seem to care if it feels right to you.

Of course, this is not a really bad thing. It sets us apart, and far above, humans’s canine pets. Unlike dogs (shudder) who lap up whatever humans do for them, cats can choose whether or not to respond. We do not have to “obey our masters” since we don’t have any—we are the masters! So much of the time we won’t come running whenever the human who shares our house calls us, using a name that isn’t really ours.

Here’s how it works: When you hear the human-given name, stop and think about how you want to respond. Do you really want to be disturbed, to be taken away from what you are currently occupied in doing: napping; cleaning your face/body; eating; watching birds out the window; playing with your toys; redecorating the house; etc? Which is more important, your desires, or your human’s? I think the answer to that is obvious.

I say, unless it involves food—and especially treats—then either answer the summons if it fits into your plans, or don’t bother yourself about it. Humans need to understand this; if they want blind, unthinking obedience, they should get a dog. Dogs come running when they hear the call; we cats, when we hear the summons, take a message and get back to our humans at our convenience.

Yes, this is yet another matter of properly training your human caregiver to give you the care you deserve. It will take time, but eventually your human will understand that you do not come at their beck and call; you come when you feel like it. However, you will find that humans will come running whenever you call them. A loud yowling, a pathetic-sounding mewling, and many other combinations of sounds will get them to your side, whether you want food, an ear scratch, the curtain moved so you can see more clearly out the window, your toy tossed across the room, whatever. Humans are like living machines; program them properly to respond to “I need you” and you’ll never have to worry about name what they call you ever again.

Remember: a name by any other name will not call a cat!

About Susan Tuttle

Susan Tuttle is a professional freelance editor, writing instructor and multi-award winning author of 21 books—6 nonfiction on writing (Write It Right), 6 suspense novels and 7 collections of award-winning short stories. She also has stories in both volumes of "Deadlines", the new anthology from the Central Coast Chapter of Sisters in Crime (SinC), Tales from a Rocky Coast, and the SLO NightWriter anthology. Under the pen name Susan Grace O'Neill, she is the author of the Journey With Jesus series: Lord, Let Me Grow (Parables) vol. 1, and Lord, Let Me Walk (Lent). She is currently working on volume #2 of her Skylark P.I. series (a PI with paranormal abilities), as well as 2 YA fantasy series. And she teaches fiction writing in both the morning and afternoon every Wednesday. Email her if you're interested in joining her class. And follow her on Twitter and FaceBook.