Birthday jaunt

This morning I made the familiar return journey to Chingford. Freya and I travelled thither as she is going to spend 10 days in the cattery while her humans are living it up on holiday.

At home, we performed the usual pantomime where I get out the cat basket and Freya makes a token show of resistance before going limp and allowing herself to be picked up and lowered into the cage.

Everyone knows that cows moo, gulls shriek and cats miaow. In fact, most species have a far wider range of vocal expression than we give them credit for. Gulls, for instance, certainly do make that strident pulsating cry without which no film about the sea is complete, but they also emit quieter sounds like the ha-ha-ha call or the "Seep, seep, seep" of a juvenile begging for food.


While cats do miaow, they are also capable of blood-curdling screams and the low menacing thrumming of two toms trying to face one another down. My old cat used to growl, just like a dog, when she saw something or someone she didn’t like.

Freya’s vocabulary has evolved over time. After I moved to Islington, she took to greeting me with a staccato sound that I can only transcribe as "Eck-eck-eck". Gradually this mutated to a guttural trill, a bit like someone imitating a machine gun.

She still says "Eck" from time to time, or "Ick". I am not sure what it means though it seems to be a verbal acknowledgement of some sort.

When Freya first joined me, she didn’t miaow in the conventional way. It was a definite "miah" sound, accompanied by a searching gaze into my eyes. Once she had settled down and accepted me, the "miah" ceased and I have not heard it since,

Another sound that Freya makes is a soft trill in the back of her throat. She doesn’t open her mouth and the sound comes out through her nose. At other times it is no more than a vibration of her chest and throat muscles that I see rather than hear.  This is an exclamation of pleasure or pleased surprise which she makes, for example, if I stroke her in passing.

This morning, when I handed over the cage, I heard the machine-gun eck-eck-eck and it made me feel bad. It was the equivalent of a child stretching out her arms disconsolately to a departing parent.

We have come a long way together, Freya and I. She is the one thing that accompanied me from my old life into my new one. From being terrified of me, she has come to trust and rely on me and I so often (in her eyes) betray that trust by taking her to the vet or to the cattery. Fortunately, the happiness of being home again seems to wipe away the sadness of betrayal, at least until next time. I hope it will be so again.

Freya is taking an enforced holiday in Chingford because we too are going on holiday. We leave tomorrow and return on the following Saturday. If you have read previous posts, you may recall that we try to get away for our respective birthdays and this is my birthday jaunt.

As usual, I will not say where we are going until I blog about it on my return but will leave you a couple of easy clues which you may use if you want to guess our destination. This city was once the second largest in England and it has a canary named after it.

We will be staying in the town but, as usual, visiting various places in the area, having acquired rail rover tickets for the purpose. We expect to be out of the town more than we are in it.

I will be taking a laptop computer with me to collect and catalogue my photos but will not be using it to go online, although I can access the Web and Internet with my phone. So if you leave comments I will (I hope) be able to acknowledge them.

Copyright © 2010 SilverTiger,, All rights reserved.


About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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8 Responses to Birthday jaunt

  1. BFG says:

    Harpic Bath Day for next week!!! (four days from today if I’m not mistaken). And here’s to many more of them.

    Our two feline companions also have their own little idiot syncrasies; Angel, our queen, has altered one of her cries in recent months, which we think may be a call to Tom, our tom, when she’s bored and she wants to play. One of these days I’ll have to record their various sounds (if I can catch them quickly enough) and post them online.

    Tom’s often more of a dog than a cat in some of his behaviors, whereas Angel, despite having been with us since kittenhood (14 years and counting), still behaves towards us as if we’re not to be trusted, even as she does endearing things like tap us gently on the leg with a paw when she wants our attention. She also understands hide-and-seek games better than Tom does – the difference in their respective ability to understand things is quite remarkable.

    • SilverTiger says:

      Cats do vary in individual ways. My old cat was very intelligent and quick on the uptake whereas Freya hasn’t even worked out how to get past/under the net curtain to look out of the window!

  2. AEJ says:

    Happy birthday! Sunday is my baby’s birthday, though he’s not a baby anymore. September is a good birthday month.

    We are hiring a dog-sitter for our mini-vacation next month. She will come to our house to watch our spoiled dog so that he does not have to go into a cage or stay in a scary place. Still, though, there’ll be a scary person in the house, so I don’t know if it’s really any better. This will be the first time we’ve tried this. It will be a learning experience.

    I hope you have a lovely holiday, and that Freya recovers quickly upon your return.

    • SilverTiger says:

      Good luck with the dog-sitter. Freya should be used to the cattery by now and I believe they like and are kind to her. Being there makes her grumpy because she doesn’t like other cats!

  3. WOL says:

    Hallo, Silver Tiger. Lovely picture of a beautiful Freya. Hope your birthday is a happy one, with many happy returns!

    My eldest is half Siamese and half “Godknows.” He has an opinion about everything, and is not shy about expressing it, either. He whines like a 2-year-old about practically everything! My youngest is also male and is quite a big husky boy, but he has the most genteel little voice — quite comical when he is trying to sound rough, tough and threatening. He makes this soft little “brrrraow” and puts his paw on my arm when he wants attention. My little grey girl is very slim and dainty with such a tiny little Edwardian voice that she hardly ever uses. I had a lie-in on my day off the other day and during the night I had put my arm up in my sleep. I awoke to find my eldest lying at my side with his head pillowed in my palm. Moments like that are priceless.

    • SilverTiger says:

      Siamese are interesting creatures but I have not so far lived with one. One of the rewarding characteristics of cats is this ability to find their individual ways of communicating with us.

      I hope you continue enjoying life with your three cats.

  4. Happy Birthday from Lynda in putney. Have just come across your blog and am really enjoying. Have a great time away. Lynda

    • SilverTiger says:

      Thanks. This is actually our last day and we return to London this evening. The stay itself was enjoyable except for some annoyances and frustrations which I will describe in due course.

      I had a quick look at your blog and agree that London is a fascinating city. There is none quite like it.

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