When she was a kitten, my cat Bizou did not know how to meow. She would try to meow -- she’d open her tiny fanged mouth to try but nothing would come out. One, two, three months went by but Bizou still didn't meow. One weekend, my daughter, Skylar -- who was seven at the time-- announced that she was opening Meow School. True to her word, she sat cross legged on the ground and placed the cat in front of her. With a serious look in her eye, she said sternly, Bizou, I am going to meow and then you are going to copy me. Ready? Meow, Meow. Okay you try now. The small cat looked slightly bewildered but adoring as she was of her adopted human mother, she occasionally seemed to attempt to respond. Nothing came out. She was mute.
My husband and I found Meow School hilarious, especially Skylar’s teaching techniques. But I also worried that Skylar would be disappointed because obviously, there was no way that the cat could possibly learn how to meow that way. I tried to encourage Skylar not to waste her time but she remained undeterred. Meow School continued unabated.
One day, Skylar rushed in and announced triumphantly, She did it! She meowed! Sure enough, when Skylar meowed at her, the cat meowed back. Now it didn’t sound like a proper meow – more like a strangled yowl. But this was a huge leap forward. In the coming days Bizou’s technique improved. She became louder and louder until she was the loudest meower we had ever heard.
Perhaps Meow School offers a lesson for all of us, something besides just meowing. Perhaps it’s about all the things that we thought were not possible but actually are. All the things that we thought we couldn’t do but we actually can.
I think I might need to enroll in Meow School immediately. On my list of impossible-but-perhaps-now-possible things to learn includes:
- Graphic design
- Photography lighting
- Eye makeup (ahem, cough)
What’s on your Meow School list? I want to know.
Images at Peacock Pavilions.