Megan's Christmas kitty

Bubby loves Alice, Aunt B's kitty -- March 15, 2010

Megan got a kitten for Christmas. She didn't ask for it, and she doesn't really care to have it around. It was cute at first, but the little guy very quickly became annoying.

It's not that Megan's a cat-hater, it's that the cat isn't really a cat. It's Bubby ... who decided just before Christmas that he's no longer a boy, he's a cat. And his primary form of communication is meowing. Like a kitty. At home. And out in public.

Don't get me wrong: Megan loves Bubby. And hearing Bubby meow around the house is precious and cute, especially when his imagination takes over during playtime with his Mommy Kitty and Baby Kitty stuffed animals -- the only other cats in residence. But when the 30-month-old who was formerly mature in the face of friends, family and strangers responds to Mommy's fellow shoppers or coworkers asking "How are you today" with mewling, yowling, and meowing -- or all three -- the cute factor is decreased by 100 percent. Megan's been mortified more often than not when out in public the last week or so, wondering where-oh-where did her big Bubby go.

Sunday evening Megan told me about the trip she, Preston and Bubby made that afternoon to a retailer to do some exchanging of Christmas gifts. On the way, the car stereo was cranked and the family was singing along. All three of them. Impressed that Bubby seemed to be joining in the fun, Megan told Preston, "Listen, Bubby's singing, too." So they both quieted their own tunes and bent their ears to the backseat to hear Bubby's contribution to the merriment. Only the merriment fell flat when they noticed that his cheerful song was only one word, over and over: "meow, meow, meow, meow."

I've not yet heard the kitty talk from Bubby as Megan warns him as he comes to the phone wanting to talk to Gramma that kitties don't talk to grandmas, only big boys do. After several attempts at getting his way with a mewl or two, he realizes Mommy means business and finally responds with "I'm a big boy" and commences a quick conversation with me, telling me about his new trucks and Roxy's bone and offering a rushed "Buh-bye, I love you!"... then he's off the phone and back to meowing.

I would think it more likely for Bubby to pretend to be a dog, romping and "ruff"-ing with his dog, Roxy. Being a kitty has me a bit perplexed. One might imagine odd behavior coming from a kid dealing with stress and trauma and drama in his environment, but other than a new brother on the way, Bubby's life is pretty stress-free ... if not downright boring, Megan might say.

Tay Hohoff famously noted that, "There are few things in life more heartwarming than to be welcomed by a cat," but this cat has worn out its welcome from Megan and Preston. With one more week remaining of holiday vacation from school -- where Bubby would likely speak "normal" in the face of peer pressure -- I'm wondering if Bubby's parents ... and Bubby ... will make it through the kitty phase unscathed.

"It could be worse," I tried to console Megan. "He could be pretending he has an imaginary friend, which would scare the cuss out of you, thinking he was seeing ghosts."

She readily agreed. But that doesn't mean she's okay with the meowing. And my attempts to Google some assistance or, at the very least, an explanation, have provided neither.

My suggestion? I think Megan needs to play into the kitty behavior ... by offering up a nice can of salmon-and-cheese Friskies for Bubby's next meal because that's what kitties eat. Being the finicky eater he is, Bubby will surely return to big-boy status immediately if faced with the stinky pate.

On the other hand, he may shock the cuss out of Megan and simply do like my finicky felines do: yowl for the Friskies turkey giblet flavor instead.

In that case, Megan may as well pick up a cat collar and some cat nip while stocking up on the Friskies, for if picky-eater Bubby readily nibbles cat nosh, that's a sure sign the Bubby Kitty is here to stay. Whether Megan wants a kitty or not.

Today's question:

What kind of imaginary friend -- or persona -- did you, your kids or your grandkids have as a child?