MY CAT TALKS TO ME -- AND
SAVED MY LIFE
by Thomas M. Sipos, managing editor.
[October 12, 2006]
Bob Harvey's cat talks to him -- and saved his life! And that of
Even more amazing, all pets
talk! Your pet talks to you all the time! But to understand
your pet, you must know how to listen.
Harvey revealed some secrets
to listening to your pet in an exclusive Weekly Universe interview, an
ability he learned from "You Too" -- a Maine Coon cat who saved Harvey's
"I was walking near my house,"
said Harvey to the Universe, "when You Too jumped in my path and began
pawing my legs. I stopped at his insistent interference, and as I
stooped to reach for him, a slither movement caught my eye.
feet ahead, a rattlesnake was coiled in my path. It exhibited none
of the telltale warnings -- no raised-head posturing, no threatening rattler
sound. Had You Too not stopped me, I would have surely stepped upon
time, I'd fallen asleep and was startled by You Too's pawing at my arm.
Once I turned on the light and You Too felt he had my attention, he jumped
from the bed and stopped at the sheepskin rug where my dog lay stretched
and asleep. Just above the dog's head, within inches of his sensitive
left ear canal, were not one -- but two! -- huge, 3-inch scorpions!
I could move closer, one of the nasty crawlers moved to the tip of my dog's
ear! You Too did not hesitate to rush forward and swat the enemy
away. This woke my pup, who lazily yawned, looked at us, and threw
a paw over his head -- not ready to engage the new day."
had found You Too as a stray in 1992. "I was a mid-forties bachelor,
a recent transplant to Texas. It was an early spring morning and
I was making my breakfast-on-the-run when I heard a strange, mellow call
from my patio deck. There stood a long, bushy raccoon tail attached
to a large cat. Strange furry ears twitched as the feline kept calling
to me. I mean, this animal looked straight at me!
had a pet. Ignoring cats was what I normally did, at least until
that day. Somehow this persistent feline enticed me to open the door.
Then, not knowing what else to do, I fed the stranger a can of tuna.
While the cat devoured the meal, I found myself so captivated by the striking,
multi-colored coat and leonine mane that I forgot my rush-rush agenda and
just sat nearby and watched, mesmerized.
another serving of tuna, the cat faced me, and did the most extraordinary
thing! He -- I don't know why I decided it was a male -- contemplated
me with those large, green-blue-gold, almost turquoise eyes, and then launched
himself onto my lap. He sat inches from my face, our eyes locked
for an eternity of 20 blinks or so. Then he stretched, turned in
a circle several times, and pretty-as-you-please, curled up on my lap.
Just like that. Nothing said, just his affirmation that he had made
his decision. I was the one!
went to work that day. Just sat with him off and on, or he followed
me about like I would have expected of a faithful dog. Finally, I
realized I was talking to him constantly, so it seemed we should be formerly
introduced. I said something like, 'I'm all alone. Are you
was how You Too got his name.
Too' just stuck," said Harvey, "and we were inseparable for the next nine
claims humans and animals communicate through a process called biophilia,
a term coined by Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson in his 1984 book, Biophilia:
The Human Bond with Other Species.
also has Nine Tips on how YOU can talk to your pet!
1. Listen and observe.
They will share so much of themselves if you pay attention.
2. Respond verbally. Since their
hearing is so acute compared to ours, they will pick up on your different
tones and be more sensitized to your moods.
3. Include them in everything. They
will be eager companions and sharing experiences bond you even closer.
4. Encourage physical contact. When
they cuddle up or stretch close make space for them. You will be
amazed how quickly they develop a lifelong routine you both cherish.
5. Remember to be playful. They
naturally enjoy chasing and swatting things that roll and dangle.
Whether lying on their backs or extending off rear legs they love games.
6. Let them set the parameters.
They respond positively to change or new circumstances if you let them
adjust on their own as opposed to imposing your will.
7. Do not make rooms off-limits.
Unless it is for safety reasons, such as a dangerous workshop, try to allow
access everywhere in your home where you go. They won't understand
the concept of "this room is my office." Besides, especially there
you might really benefit from their stress-reducing presence.
8. When you are sick, keep them close.
They will sense your discomfort and will be a comforting caregiver regardless
of how bad you feel or think you look. They're great medicine!
9. Judge their health by their demeanor.
The best indicator of a problem seems to be a change in their energy level
Harvey's life with You Too inspired his first novel, Me
and You Too – Catalyst. In 2005, he co-founded the Tailwaggers
Pet Sitting Service.
read the Weekly Universe's special report on Ceausescu's Communist
dog, and Santa Monica's doggy grave.
Copyright 2006 by WeeklyUniverse.com
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