Quarantine Conversation with my Cat


When I asked my nine-month old tabby cat Imelda this morning if she wanted breakfast, she said yes. At first I was unsure I’d heard anything because the response was so low and melodious, but I shook my head and said, “Come again?” And clear as a bell, she answered yes in the voice of Samuel L. Jackson.

“Imelda?” I almost dropped the scoop on her furry head.

“What? You’re surprised that I can talk?” she answered, flicking her tail back and forth. “You never spend enough time with me. You don’t deserve my conversation, lady. Why would I talk to you? But things are different now. You’re here. Like, a lot,” she growled.

I looked around to see if anyone else was hearing what I was hearing, but of course, I live alone with Imelda and twenty-two plants and succulents.

“Always so chatty when it’s Garrett on the phone, but when your cat starts talking suddenly you don’t have anything to say, is that right?” her baritone revealed both her disappointment and lack of surprise.

“Look, I’m sorry. I just wasn’t expecting…” Uncertain how to continue, I looked around the kitchen for answers that my Target-brand cookware was unable to give.

“What? A cat to have opinions? I have an opinion about this food by the way. It tastes like how your socks smell after you’ve been pathetically failing at Zumba for half an hour.”

“Now hold on! This is quality cat food!” My outrage overwhelmed my surprise. “And you can’t fail at Zumba!”

Imelda arched an eyebrow at that. She sauntered out of the kitchen, knocking my copy of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? off the coffee table before she jumped up on the couch.

“Hey!” I shouted. “Why would you do that?”

She flicked her tail towards the fallen memoir. “The answer is yes, by the way.”

“Okay, you know what, I’m having a bit of a crisis here. COVID-19 is running rampant. Our political leadership is infantile and what’s worse, Garrett isn’t texting me back. And now you’re telling me the food I give you is bad and I fail at Zumba and cats can talk?”

Imelda-Samuel L. Jackson licked her paw disdainfully.

“If you can’t handle the heat, you better get yourself an ice cube,” she answered.

“That’s not even a saying!” I sputtered.

“I’m a cat. You can’t expect me to know everything now, can you?”

She licked her paw once and sprinted toward the window. I stared after her, mouth agape, when I heard a tiny cough from behind me.

“You know Garrett’s gay, right?” my snake plant whispered in Mindy Kaling’s voice.

Mary Lee Ptacek is a writer living in Kansas City, Missouri, with her two cats (tabby) and boyfriend (ginger). She has been published in Little Old Lady Comedy. If you look hard enough, you can find her on Twitter @marylee_writes.

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