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Opinion >  Column

The Slice: Cat must have had his own tongue

I now know how a choir director must feel when the singers won’t make an effort.

But let’s start at the beginning. About 10 years ago, my wife was back in Michigan in November when her mother had hip-replacement surgery.

At some point, multi-tasking in our kitchen here in Spokane, I left her a phone message while preparing a seafood snack for the neighbor’s cat. As I wrapped up my yammering, I held the phone down and asked the visiting feline to say something.

Remarkably, she complied. In fact, when my wife later played that message for her mother, my mother-in-law declared with certainty that the cat had said “Happy Thanksgiving!”

Yes, OK, they give you some pretty strong drugs after that hip operation.

But this soon became a routine when my wife was out of town. I would leave her phone messages and get the neighbor animal to chime in at the end. It was our act.

Feel free to gag or roll your eyes. I thought it was fun. Sue me.

Then, one day — don’t remember exactly when — my furry phone-message partner stopped cooperating.

I would hold the phone down, cue the cat, and wait as we recorded what radio pros refer to as “dead air.”

I would exhort the small predator to give voice the way she once had. And she would silently look up at me with an expression that seemed to suggest she believed I needed a full battery of psychological examinations.

Or perhaps she felt there was simply too much emphasis on circus-like shenanigans and not enough attention being paid to food prep. I don’t know.

I asked her. But you know how it is with cats. If they are not in the mood to talk, the silent treatment is what you get.

All is not lost, however. Next time my wife goes out of town on her own, I’m going to direct a bunch of texts her way. And before hitting “Send” I will hold the phone down within paw’s reach so our neighbor’s cat can tack on a greeting.

I know what you’re thinking and you might be right. She’ll probably type “Make him get me my snack.”

Today’s Slice question: If you could see a transcript of things friends and co-workers have said about you behind your back, would you want to read it?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. The Donner Party set out on this date in 1846.

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