Babbling Fools

Craig and I were driving through town the other day, and saw the head of a German Shepard sticking out of a window of the car in front of us.  Both of us turned into babbling idiots:  “Who’s a good dog?” “Yes, you’re a good dog!”  “Awww, such a good baby.”  (You have to imagine the puckered lips and deep-voiced baby talk that generally accompanies those statements.)

In the building we just moved to, the lady below us has two cats.  We spout similar baby-like cat-isms to them whenever we see them sitting in the windows.  Actually, Craig says things like “Hi there, kitty.”  Me?  I say “Meow”, like the cats know I’m saying hello to them.  Granted, I can do a fairly decent cat – I’ve said “meow” to cats before and had them go crazy looking for where the other cat is – but I have no idea what I actually say to them.  I’m guessing their language is a complex mixture of where the accent is placed, how long you hold the note, etc.  Rosetta Stone hasn’t come out with a program for that language . . . yet.

In both instances, windows separated us from the animals, so there was no way the creatures could even hear the loving inflection in our voices.  We sat and joked about both instances later.

What is it about our fine furry friends that turn many of us into babbling fools?  I don’t use that tone of voice for babies, but put a pooch or kitty in front of me, and I turn into a blathering mess.  If the puppy is all floppy-eared and full of excitement, it’s even worse.

I’ve even tried talking to the squirrels I encounter on my daily walk along a path that shoulders the bay in Alameda.  There are tons of ground squirrels to be seen, and they often scamper away whenever they sense a human getting too near.  However, some of them are bolder than others and will simply sit there, waiting for you to walk on by, as long as you keep a respectable distance.

One day, I decided to chatter to them.  I rapidly moved my tongue up and down against the roof of my mouth, where it meets my teeth, and hoped the sound of popping air bubbles was something they could understand.  To be fair, the squirrels did take notice of the noise, and perked up to look at me.  I even had some of them come up to me, as if I might have had anything to offer them.  That prompted me to bring some nuts on my next walk, and when I chattered again, and they stood alert, I sprinkled some nuts around.  The bold ones came right up and started noshing, while the shier ones sat back, waiting for me to leave.

I walked away that day, thinking myself some sort of female Dr. Doolittle, and smiled, feeling like the squirrels and I were in sync with one another.  Maybe that’s a delusion I cling to, but we were obviously able to communicate on some level that day.  They perked up when I first chattered to them, which made me think my chattering meant “FOOD”, so I took some food the next time, they responded to my chatter, and ate the food I provided.  So there was definitely something going on.

There may be a logical language barrier between we humans and the other animals in our world, but we do find our ways to communicate.  A cat turning his nose up at some wet food lets you know it’s time to buy a different flavor or brand.  A dog sitting at the front door might signal to you that she needs to go relieve herself.  So whether or not I’m saying anything real to a squirrel when I chatter at it doesn’t matter; it’s not going to judge me anyway.  A cat might, but not a squirrel.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jim
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 11:48:01

    Heh, I do the same thing, espeically with my two cats at home. I even sing to them, making up words as I go along.

    It’s one thing to be in your car in traffic, most likely your windows are closed and you’ve got some privacy. Since buying a motorcycle, I’ve found myself doing the same thing. Now picture this big guy on a Harley, big rumbly motor, sitting in trafiic and saying all the same things. “who’s a goooood booooy’ making kissy noises.


    • Alyx Morgan
      Sep 02, 2011 @ 13:30:47

      LMAO! Jim that is a riot, & something I could totally see you doing! I have to say, that image will probably pop into my head every time I see some guy pass by on a motorcycle. Thanks. 😀

      & thanks for stopping by today.


  2. Kara Cerise
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 12:53:52

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who talks to the animals! I confess that I speak to the fish in our aquariums. Sometimes they swim over and blow bubbles at me but I think they ae just waiting for food:)


    • Alyx Morgan
      Sep 02, 2011 @ 13:25:06

      You never know, Kara! Maybe they’re thanking you for taking such good care of them. They say that plants react well when we speak to them, so why not fish too. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by today.


  3. Kathy
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 14:30:17

    Cats definitely judge. I’m sure mine would like to say, “We are intelligent adults and English is our native language. When you speak in that infantile fashion, we are not amused.” They WOULD say it if they thought it would do any good.


    • Alyx Morgan
      Sep 02, 2011 @ 15:27:26

      LOL Yep, you can see the judgement in a cat’s face, especially when they slowly blink their eyes just before turning their head away from you. Sometimes I can almost “hear” them think “I’m humoring you, but you do realize you’re an idiot, right?”

      Thanks for stopping by today, Kathy!


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