by Joel Clark
My Cat-O-Matic electronic cat language translator arrived in the mail! I plugged it in and said, “Testing! Testing!” into the microphone and the little speaker made a “Meoooawwoo, meoawooo” catlike sound.
Fluffy jumped up from her nap and scanned the room. She leaped on the couch back and looked behind it.
“Hello, Fluffy, it’s me talking!” I said.
“Hey, Dingbat, are you talking to me??” she answered.
“Yes, Fluffy! Isn’t it great, now we can have a little cat chat!” I said.
“Please, Dilbert, my name isn’t Fluffy. To you, it’s ‘Your Royal Highness Queen Cleopatra II’,” she corrected me.
“I’m excited, Fluffy, I mean Cleo, now you’ll understand me and you can come when I call you.”
“Dream on, Buster Brown,” said Cleo. She got comfortable to continue her nap.
“Wait, don’t you want to talk any more? This is a communication breakthrough for man and the animal kingdom; you can be one of the first cats to be understood! You can tell me what it’s like to be a cat.”
“It’s very boring,” said Cleo in a bored voice.
“Do you want to know about me, your owner, where I grew up and where I went to school, and my career…?”
“No.” Cleo napped on.
“Cleo, now you’ll be able to make special cat food requests.”
Cleo napped on.
“Cleo, I can read interesting things to you. See this magazine ‘Cat Fancier’? See…pictures of cats…ads for cat toys!”
Cleo opened one eye. “What’s a cat toy?” she asked.
I held the magazine close to Cleo. I pointed to numerous catnip mice and little jiggly fluffy mice on strings, jingle balls, and wind-up chipmunks.
“I’d like one of those and one of those and that cat scratching post with all the cubbyholes,” she allowed. “What are those?” she asked as she pointed with her paw at some cat books.
“Books, see, I have some around the house here, let me show you.”
I read her The Cat in the Hat. She laughed some little cat laughs and said, “Pretty funny, Dingleberry. Read me another one.”
I read some more. “Well, I’ve read five books, aren’t you tired?”
“I want those cat toys!” said Queen Cleopatra II.
We went to the store to buy cat toys.
After that, we went to the library to get more cat books to read. I read 20 cat books.
“Cleo, I’m tired now, don’t you want to take a nap now?”
“Let’s go, Kokomo, keep reading!”
I read 20 more cat books. Cleo decided she wanted to write a cat story, just like the book stories.
I got pencil and paper and wrote what she dictated.
“This is good, McGee, but can’t you draw the pictures, too, like in The Cat in the Hat?”
I illustrated her cat story. (Interesting plot…a cat chased a mouse. And then chased another mouse.)
“I feel I could be a successful author. I want to write a whole series, starring my principal character, the mysterious and beautiful ‘Queenie The Magnificent’,” Cleo said enthusiastically.
For some reason the Cat-O-Matic suddenly stopped working (because I pulled the plug). I said words but no cat sounds came out.
I looked at Cleo. She looked at me and said “Meeughe meeeeoooww muge meeeeoooww? Muee meeeeoooww muee meeeeoooww?”
I shrugged with upturned hands. I carefully filled out the return merchandise form, including under Remarks: “Please refund my money as per your ‘Money back guarantee if not satisfied.’” I boxed up the machine. Then I settled down for a nap.