When you've finished, why not go back to Sian's blog, to read some of the other stories - there are usually lots and they're all quite different and normally very good!
I'm sure that those of you who are owned by cats, have notice their clever ability to copy sounds? You know, you speak to your cat, and he answers you - in your own language! At least, it sounds as if he does.
In fact, cats are great communicators and do have the ability to make a lot of different noises - and a selection of individual vocal sounds (someone told me a cat can make 18 different sounds, which I can quite readily believe!).
They can also "talk" with body language - how often have you come back from a holiday, to find that your feline pal will not "speak" to you and slowly & deliberately turns his back, then sits upright with his nose in the air? All to tell you how badly he feels about being abandoned to the cat-sitter.
Sherlock is not alone in this ability to "talk" then; but for us, his language seems both clever and unique. He has a great rapport with "his humans", especially the male members of the household.
He's learned to mimic words we use, to get what he wants from us - or sometimes, just to be conversational. If you say "Hello, Sherlock", back comes the reply "Hewo!".
He generally speaks in a mixture of Ow's, Ooo's, Ahhh's and sometimes a short little "ip" or "ee". When he watches birds out of the window, he gets excited and says "mip!" over and over again, while kneading his paws or pacing in excitement.
He has a habit of wandering round the house, when he's not sure where to find us, yelling for our attention. If there's just him and me in the house, he shouts "Muuum", "Muuuuum" for me. It's not quite the same sound as the human version, but it's quite definitely his "word" for me and it does sound like "Mum"! DH was working from home last week and was quite amazed to hear him do this (and it does prove I'm not mad and it's not just wishful thinking).
So, it's not unsual for Sherlock to "talk" to us. And we like it.
* * *
Chapter 1 - Sherlock's New Cushion
Sherlock is getting on a bit. He's a middle-aged cat, of 14, with arthritis in his back legs. This means that sometimes he is uncomfortable and goes up or downstairs rather carefully - sort of one-paw-two-paw-hoppity-bump - with a look of careful concentration, as if trying not to hurt himself.
He doesn't usually like to sleep on the floor any longer, as it makes his legs sieze up and hurts when he has to get up again. He chooses comfortable places, like beds (when he can sneak in there), sofas and sometimes, laps.
His favourite spot to sleep in the day-time is (was!) the back of the sitting-room sofa,
or on a comfy bed in the garden
He used to sleep on a chair in my studio, however, this was moved downstairs, so he went back to his favourite perch on the sofa. He doesn't like it though, if I am upstairs working and he is downstairs; he prefers to Supervise, but can't do that if there is no-where to sit.
For a while, we had a running battle, as he started sneaking in, to sit on a pile of paper which lived behind me on the floor (since February and until recently, everything has lived behind me on the floor!). Of course, I didn't like this idea very much and kept making him get off. He couldn't find another place to settle down, so he'd go off to the bedroom (if the door was open), or the sofa again, but keep coming to shout at me from the bottom of the stairs - something in cat-language, that sounded very like "Hey, I'm down here, come and keep me company!"
A couple of weeks ago, I took him to the vet for his check-up, so we could continue to get his medicines etc. While I was there, I found a really nice cushion, which I bought for Sherlock and put in a corner of my studio.
...when he isn't lying out in the sunshine:
* * *
Chapter 2 - The Bed-Time Battle
So Sherlock loves his new bed (almost as much as the sunshiney garden)
Sherlock's New Bed
He spends so long lying there snoozing, that he's usually still there in the evening, when it's time for the household to settle down for the night.
Up til now, he used to ask to "go to bed", getting up from his perch on the sofa and staring fixedly at Human Number One, until he said something like "Is it Bed-time, Sherlock?" and followed Sherlock to the kitchen.
Cats are definitely animals who like a routine. Sherlock wants his bed-time to be the same every day. At Bed-Time, he expects The Humans to supply a snack supper, fresh water, clean litter-tray and a comfortable mat or cushion on the dining-room sofa, so that he can settle down to sleep.
Bed-Time is always around 9:50pm (give or take 5 minutes - a chap has to have a pre-bed-time wash!). At this time, he will get up and request (or demand!) that we Take Him To Bed.
So, that first night, it was very unusual and irregular, that Sherlock was snoozing on his New Bed at eleven pm. I was still hard at work (or play?!), at my computer, but DH had an early start in the morning, so he was heading for his pillow.
He came into the studio in search of Sherlock and said, "Sherlock, it's bed-time."
No response from Sherlock (well, he kind-of half-opened an eye....).
"Sherlock, it's Bed-Time; are you coming to bed?"
After a pause, Sherlock opened an eye, looked at DH and said, quite clearly,
* * *
When DH and I had stopped laughing, we coaxed Sherlock downstairs for his usual bed-time routine - but I had to carry him!
Since then the bed-time routine has been somewhat erratic. It's improved since I was at the vet again, buying more medicine, where I bought a second Comfortable Cushion. This now sits in state on the dining room sofa and, most evenings, Sherlock doesn't mind exchanging the Upstairs Comfy Cushion for its brother Downstairs Comfy Cushion.
But sometimes, I still have to carry him!