The Cat Who Never Meowed

Brian Dickens Barrabee
Jan 14 · 3 min read

He was so charming that nobody noticed. A unique noiseless extravert that everyone loved.

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Photo by Isabela Ferreira on unsplash

Our family was overjoyed to bring home Jonathan (aka: Knuckles, Providence, White Shoes), from a shelter to keep the irascible Jasper company

Everyone in our cat loving clan had a different suggestion for the new cat’s name. Jonathan was everyone’s grudging compromise, honoring a good friend of our youngest family member.

I must confess, the other three names were used occasionally according to the whim of the caller.

It took a full year before any of us realized that Jonathan remained forever silent.

Maybe it was that Jasper was high profile and so over shadowed Jonathan we didn’t notice he was soundless.

It could have been that Jonathan was so agreeable that his silence went unobserved.

I even had the creative thought that he had an identity crisis having been given so many names by well meaning family members in a position to dispense them.

We all loved Jonathan, in part, because he was so agreeably silent as much as we all appreciated that he WASN’T JASPER.

The two got along reasonably well. After Jasper accepted the fact he had to share his old territory with his new step brother, I think he actually enjoyed having Jonathan around.

Oh, they’d occasionally have their disagreements like any bros. But ultimately Jasper was boss and as long as Jonathan knew that — all remained peaceful.

One day, about three years into Jonathan’s soundless residence, I noticed a scab on his tail.

I asked Jasper if he knew anything about it and if he did — he wasn’t telling.

After a week, the wound seemed to become infected.

I made an appointment with the Vet. for the following day.

Putting Jonathan in the cat carrier was a pleasure compared to my countless attempts in the past with the very vocal, combative Jasper.

The Vet. diagnosed Jonathan as having a severely infected tail. Apparently, we all had underestimated the injury possibly because of Jonathan’s basic sweet nature.

He certainly never mentioned it.

Whatever the reason for the progress of the infection, it was eminently curable by a shot of tetracycline.

The Vet. summoned his receptionist/restrainer who wrapped the still placid Jonathan in a large towel with just his wounded tail sticking out.

As the Vet. drew the tetracycline into the syringe, I remember thinking, “Holy Shit! That’s a big needle for such a small tail.”

As the dispassionate Vet. inserted the spike directly into the infected area of poor Jonathan’s rear appendage, I cringed in sympathy.

The Vet professionally injected Jonathan with the medicine.

I heard an ungodly noise.

Something like “ Rrrrrowwwww” (the best I can do).

It was Jonathan, of course, breaking his sound fast of three plus years

A miracle! I was both sympathetic and elated.

Admittedly, an odd combination of emotions.

After the ordeal was over Jonathan had his tail entirely wrapped in white first aid tape covering any and all treated wounds.

After I settled him in his cat carrier.

I met the good doctor in his conference room and excitedly informed him that, not only did I appreciate his good work but Jonathan made a cat sound for the initial time his life.

The Vet. stared at me and said philosophically, Probably the first thing he had to talk about.”

Jonathan’s tail eventually healed nicely.

He went on to live a long and satisfying life.

He was able to continue to make peace with Jasper and I think Jasper’s toleration of him gradually grew to a modest degree of feline affection.

I know he was adored by all the family humans.

Jonathan never made another sound.

Brian Dickens Barrabee

Written by

A lifetime of philosophical, psychological, physical and fiscal involvement. Above all, a storyteller. brianbarrabee@aol.com

ILLUMINATION-Curated

Outstanding stories objectively and diligently selected by 40+ senior editors on ILLUMINATION

Brian Dickens Barrabee

Written by

A lifetime of philosophical, psychological, physical and fiscal involvement. Above all, a storyteller. brianbarrabee@aol.com

ILLUMINATION-Curated

Outstanding stories objectively and diligently selected by 40+ senior editors on ILLUMINATION

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