A one sided conversation ...
"Hello", said the cat.
Now I must explain that the cat was not speaking English. Why would he, he was outside a coffee shop in Hat Yai, southern Thailand, after all.
I should also explain that the cat was not addressing this greeting to me. It had its chin pressed firmly to the ground and was conversing with something or somebody beneath a dark green Isuzu Spacecab pickup with giant Firestone Firewalker FTX tyres.
"Sa Wadee Kap", repeated he cat in slow clear tones.
Those of you who are familiar with cats will know that they are not great conversationalists. They tend to roll over on their backs, with their feet in the air to have their tummy tickled, rub their faces against a chair leg, or complain vehemently about not being fed for a week every time you go anywhere near the refigerator.
However this cat was having a serious conversation.
As much out of affection as anything, I remarked "I love you" in the general direction of my feline companion.
"I love you", came back the slow and clearly articulated reply.
I can't say with certainty that the cat was taking any notice. It's ears were hither and thither as a cat is wont to do. It was far more transfixed on its companion beneath the Spaceab, but "I love you", it said in quite precise tones all the same.
During the next half an hour the cat and I continued this rather one sided conversation.
I once saw a dog on the television who made noises if his chin was pulled, so that it seemed like he was attempting speach, but this rather scruffy ginger tom was in fact mimicking human speach exactly.
I guess if I had gathered him in my arms and presented him as the next miracle creature he would have curled up and gone to sleep, just to spite me. But speak he did.
I saw him three more times. Twice he completely ingnored me, which is about par for your average street tom, and the last time he glanced briefly in my direction and remarked in clear tones, "I love you".
I guess he has gone to that great cattery above. But I shall remember this tiny creature who had at least a moment in his life to share a word or two with a mere human.
True story ...
Hat Yai, Southern Thailand