Monday, August 22, 2016

His Sense of Playfulness

The comic actor Martin Short identified a necessary characteristic of the ‘buddy movie’ genre. He said that at one point in the film, the two leads (constituting the ‘buddies’ of the genre) have to be in a moving automobile, look through the windshield and simultaneously scream in terror at what is hurtling toward them.

I am reminded of this to an extent when I interact with Tucker. He has a playful quality about him that reinforces the impression that he is a big, albeit furry, baby. He will be sitting or lying about and I will approach him with the clear intent of seizing his head, or grabbing his face or ears, or some such thing. He knows it is in fun and will squeal like a film character being attacked in a horrible but amusing manner. Think of Bill Murray being slimed in Ghostbusters.

If it is true that cats vocalise only to humans, as has been discussed on this blog recently - and this is an assertion which I don’t doubt - then Tucker can be screaming only for my benefit (and maybe his own) and must be pretending. He knows that he is not about to be hurt (he is purring all the while), yet reacts as if he is going to be dealt a mortal blow. It’s part of our game.

How this game developed I can’t say. Other cats may play similarly, but squealing in fake fear is not something I’ve heard about in other animals. Why Tucker does it can only be due to a sense of playfulness, to a quality special to his roly poly personality. It may change, it may disappear, but for now, he and I are enjoying ourselves.


  1. that is one here does that, but we all make our own unique sounds at times

  2. I can't say any of mine has ever done that; Tucker definitely is special. :-)

    I know cats are supposed to vocalize only to humans, but Nicki will vocalize when he's up to no good (!) and often when he "mrrrps" (a different vocalization) Derry will "mrrrp" back (usually prelude to chasing each other or tussling). They don't do that with me, however.

    1. That's interesting about your boys 'mrrrp'ing. I suspect that cats do talk to each other but it may be more rudimentary than what they use with us. Maybe they can communicate with each other more through body language, and so limit their vocal statements. Or maybe they think we need everything spelled out for us...

  3. That's funny how Tucker will squeal as part of your game. My cats vocalize, (especially Willow who is the talker of the bunch), but I've never heard them squeal. But then, we all know that Tucker is special!

  4. MOL, he's probably egging you on, daring you to try it again, which is, of course, exactly what he wants you to do!

  5. dood....we iz crackin up buddy...we iz laffin with ewe...knot at ewe....♥♥♥♥

  6. That is very funny! As above, Eric and Flynn also used to "mrrrp" to each other to get the other to play. It was very similar to "kitten talk" and I wonder if it may have been because they were birth brothers.

  7. Tucker is so very special and sweet :) Ralphie will mrrrp at the pups when he wants them to play with him too.

  8. Tucker is a funny boy! None of my three do that...Saku is more apt to smack me than react positively unless he initiates the contact.

    Enjoy the fun and games!

  9. Tucker is such a character. He knows his part in the film very well. I think his vocalizations are to express his pleasure in having fun with you.