As a writer, I have fun inhabiting the voices and the persona of the characters I create. But what if my characters were cats?
Here’s what I’ve discovered. Our cats, whether it’s in writing, or even spoken word (can you hear the yowling and the rrrrowwing?), have distinct voices of their own. And they’re nothing like my voice, nothing at all. When I write in these cats’ voices, it’s as if the cat has taken over completely!
I don’t know whether Tortitude is for real. I’d never heard of it until I adopted my first tortie kitten about 9 months ago. She has a terrific personality, and she’s full of spunk. But I never thought anything of it until I met some cool cat-blogging folks at the 2012 Cat Writers’ Association Conference. These people blog in the voice of their cats! What fun! So I tried it. Wow, did Jamie Bluebell have a thing or two to say, and she didn’t hold back:
Hi, I’m Jamie Bluebell! That’s JB to you, reader. Get used to it. (That’s my tagline.) (LOL CATZ!)
My big brother Dyson (aka Rama Dasa, but don’t call him that or he’ll get a bigger head than me) taught me a great thing about opportunity. Actually, I let him teach me. We were wrestling one night in mama’s living room. Dyson bit me on the ear and then he hissed, "See that bug!" "Where?" I shrieked, jumping straight up into the air, back arched.
"At the window," he yelled.
In an instant we were at the window, side by side, heads upturned, and FOCUSED on That Bug.
Too much fun! I was hooked. Okay, I tend to be bad about writing, but when the cats have something to say, they say it. And you don’t have to be a writer to have fun with this. Just imagine how your cats might talk, or act, to express their personalities.
My orange cat Maynard knew a thing or two about being out on the streets. When he was rescued his ears were chewed, his face had the fat cheeks of a never-neutered male (we neutered him, of course), and he was one cat that none of the other cats dared mess around with.
If Maynard could talk, he’d probably be a shady character with a stereotypical Brooklyn accent:
Maynard: Now lissen ta me. I’m da cat in charge here.
Others: Whine, Whimper…
Maynard: (Cuffs cats across the face) Done deal. I’m numba one. Yeah. (Saunters away, with his face looking fatter than usual.)
My husband calls our black cat, Rama, a conflicted boy. Rama sounds like he’s whining, even when he’s happy. He has a throaty, passionate sound he makes when he’s snuggling with me on the bed. If you didn’t know him, it might almost sound as if he’s mad, or something other than happy. But it’s just the way he talks. Here’s how I imagine he might talk in human language:
Rama: I want to eat! (Whine, whine, throaty purr). Oh, BED! Come on, Mama! Mrowww! (Throaty purr.) Mrrrt… (Head-butt.) Wait a minute! Dad just looked in. I’m outta here!
In my household, I have other cat personalities too. There’s the mysterious Turkish Van (he’s quiet, but he has a great sense of humor), the gentle little tabby/Siamese who makes a great nurse, and the affable and sweet orange male (who’s really almost blonde). I’m a writer and I LOVE to imagine what these cats might sound like if they could talk. It’s fun. For example, which cat would prefer ice tea? Which cat would love a beer? What kind of music would each cat love?
Who are the cat characters that you share your life with? What would your cat sound like if he or she could talk? How would the cats carry out their days? Do you blog in the voice of your cats? I want to know!
About Catherine (Cat) Holm: Cat is kind and reserved, with an edge that shows itself when you get to know her better. Music goes straight to her soul and she’ll dance all night, sometimes with her cats. Passionate about lots of things ÔÇô nature, the outdoors, yoga, writing, reading, singing, moving, gardening, getting hands in the dirt, and caring for her six cats in the best way possible.
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