Like many of you, I love to observe my cats’ personalities. Each cat is so individual. I also love to wonder what it would be like if these cats could talk. They certainly wouldn’t all say the same things, because their personalities would shape what they said and how they said it.
I wrote a short story once using my cat Kali as the main character. In this story, Kali had fiercely loved her boyfriend (a handsome red tom named Tedral) who’d been killed in a car accident. I was amazed at how passionately Kali’s character came through in a romantic sense, once I started using my imagination. It was so much fun to just let her speak through me and fiercely voice her love. This made me wonder how ALL my cats would act in a romantic situation. Each cat would be vastly different and say different things.
Kali was a tough and tender little tabby. She loved humans with a passion, even though she had a history of being abused. She also loved our Keeshond dog, though the dog was afraid of Kali’s fierce demeanor. Kali didn’t put up with any nonsense from the other cats, and it took her years to let herself be groomed by my orange tom Milo. But that’s the beauty of fiction — you don’t have to stick to the facts. I let my imagination inflate what I love about a cat’s character, and I really have some fun. What were all the mannerisms of Kali that showed her passion? How can I amp it up?
Here’s how a grooming scene would probably go between Kali and Tedral (or Milo — I think that Milo probably inspired the Tedral character quite a bit):
Kali strides into the living room, moving confidently toward Milo. Milo is napping by the fireplace, sprawled out in a luxurious, almost flirtatious fashion, enjoying the heat of a winter fire. His eyes are nearly shut, in that happy-cat fashion.
Kali head butts Milo. “I want to be groomed. Now!”
Milo rolls over lazily. “Purrrr. I’m sooo relaxed. Come and snuggle with me. Here.”
Kali: “Now! Rhowww!” Kali head butts Milo again, with more force, tucking her little round head under his orange chin. Suddenly, and smoothly, he wraps a big paw around her neck. He begins to lick the top of her head, strongly holding her. She does not struggle and her eyes soften into slits. Their purrs crescendo and fill the room.
What if Kali carried out the same scene with Zorro? In true life, the two never met, as Kali had passed away before Zorro joined our household. But it’s fiction, and it’s fun to imagine.
Kali strides into the living room, where Zorro is napping happily by a roaring fire in the woodstove. Zorro naps with complete trust in the world — he sleeps on his back, paws in the air, totally content.
Kali head butts Zorro. “I really want a grooming. Now! Rhwow!” (I can’t imagine Kali saying, “Please.”)
Zorro jumps, shocked out of his happy sleep.
Kali head butts Zorro again. “Now, I said!”
Zorro flops down again on his side. “Look at my paws. Aren’t they pretty? I dance with my paws. Did you know that?” He flexes those big Ragdoll feet, but Kali doesn’t seem to be impressed. Kali brings her head closer to Zorro’s, hoping he’ll get the picture. Zorro rolls around and waves his feet in the air, oblivious.
Kali gives up, sits down hard, lifts a rear leg in the air, and begins grooming herself. Zorro ignores her, happily flexing his paws.
In short, Kali would probably be romantic by passionately yowling, head butting with force, and finally succumbing blissfully to grooming and cuddling with another cat. My Ragdoll Zorro is very very loving, but intense in a different way. Here’s where language gets clumsy. Zorro is intense in a “softer” way. Yet he has his own endearing mannerisms, and I’d use these in a romantic scene starring Zorro. Zorro would just have to hook up with a cat who understood his body language. Zorro doesn’t have the passionate determination of Kali and Milo — but he sure can dance with his feet and his body. Actually, I think I might be Zorro’s true love — at least in his mind.
Kieran would be the one that was shy about asking another cat on a date, but with patience on the other cat’s part, great depth and gentleness would be revealed.
Norton’s too young — I haven’t seen him act romantically, yet. I think he would be a very distracted romantic. Sure, I’ll groom you. Oh, look! Toy! Ball! Chase it now! I’m off, in a totally different place. Get the laser light!
Rama’s a very passionate boy, but again, it’s all reserved for me. In fiction, he would be a very passionate romantic. There’d be plenty of whiny, crabby cat noises involved. Try to picture a feline Hugh Laurie in love, and you come close to what Rama would be like.
So. Tell me your romantic cat stories. How would your cat behave as a romantic? What would she or he say or how would she or he act? Maybe we can create a new subgenre of writing — cat romance fiction.
More by Catherine Holm:
About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of The Great Purr, the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of two short story collections.