Sunday, 3 July 2011

Sherlock's New Cushion - A Bed-Time Story

Good Morning, All Blog Friends!  This is my first contribution to Sian's wonderful Story Telling Sunday - I hope you enjoy the Tale! 

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. 
If you give your cat a lot of attention and watch/listen to him, you will have learned some of his "words" - whether vocal or body language.  A cat "says" so much more than just "Miaow"!  (In fact, Miaow is only an English spelling - there are lots of ways, round the world, of spelling the sound a cat makes when it wants a human's attention ) and it only uses this word to its mother, then to its humans, never to other cats or animals.

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. 

This is where he now spends most of his time....

...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!


  1. He is such a little character! Our dog has developed the habit - and I am sure it is deliberate - of raising her eyebrow ... or what would be a dog eyebrow, at us if she doesn't want to do as she is told!

  2. sherlock is a pampered detective. i love this story and u should scrapbook this for sure. i love sherlock's ability to wrap his humans around his paws. my two are found wherever they lay their paws. at the moment that means holly is gracing the very wide windowsill in the full sunshine watching the activities outisde and probably willow is floozying around outside somewhere collecting moss in her fur. charming,
    jo xxx

  3. Hi Lizzie, thanks for joining in Storytelling Sunday this month, it's a pleasure to have you on board!

    That's a great story, very reassuring for those of us who fondly believe our hamster knows his name and comes out to chat when he is called!

  4. Sherlock sounds quite a character!!

  5. He sounds a real character!!!

  6. Sherlock is cool, I love that he talks to you, one of our dogs does, but of course dogs aren't as intelligent! x

  7. What a little character Sherlock is and obviously a very well loved member of the family:)

  8. What a beautiful cat - lovely photos of him. We had cats when I was growing up and I miss them, so it was lovely to read about yours!

  9. :o) I loved reading about Sherlock's adventures here, Lizzie. It's interesting how we learn to communicate with our pets, isn't it? I've noticed that I use a different tone of voice when I talk to each of our two cats. And they know it too. If I'm calling Fancy she comes based on my tone...same for Whiskers.

    It's pretty cool that Sherlock speaks your language! >^..^<

  10. I enjoyed your story. And unlike kids, Sherlock doesn't mind having his photos taken either.

  11. I really enjoyed reading this, I love how you told the story. Fantastic!

  12. great story, IS important that our pets are comfortable, isn't it?
    Alison xx

  13. Great story! We have two cats and one really talks to us too! The other is more chatty with body language - she has a pathetically small voice and a very large body!

  14. Sherlock sounds very clever with all theat language! He is obviously very loved an quite spoilt and our cat is pretty much the same! Our cat Tinker keeps swopping his favourite sleeping places! So I try and make one comfortable and cat friendly, he uses it a few times then starts sleeping somewhere else! He is sleeping on the lawn at the moment!

  15. I absolutely loved your Sherlock story!! I have two cats Norman & Sophie, Normie is exceptionally vocal where as Sophie is not. She is all about the body language... The photos were a wonderful addition to your story!

  16. It sounds like Sherlock is very lucky to have adopted such nice humans. Enjoyed your story very much.

  17. Sherlock just knows what he likes. My cats can say 'out' and 'water'.

  18. Our cat definitely communicates with different sounding mew and meows, but nothing that sounds like words.
    And Gypsy already has a fairly set bedtime routine.

  19. Love the story (don't like it that the word verification that came up for me was 'fluzi'!!!!)....

  20. Our male cat tells time. If it's even 1 minute past 7:30 (a.m. or p.m.), he's complaining at the top of his voice that it's time to eat! Other than that, he's pretty undemanding but he will not compromise on breakfast or supper time. It sounds like your Sherlock is changing the entire family's habits, all in appreciation of the new bed you bought for him.

  21. What a pretty kitty. Isn't it funny how pets decide where they like to be? How nice of you to buy him a second cusion.

    Our Lucky cat sleeps with Hiredman. That's where he has chosen and that's where he goes.


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