In which our intrepid hero learns a new word from his cat.

Máâ-má! (The Roman alphabet is notoriously bad at expressing tonal languages, but I think it’s a good approximation.)

Buffy leapt upon my chest a couple of days ago, twirling around in a little cat dance, and waking me from my nap. Máâ-má! she exclaimed, proudly, pausing to nudge my hand or wash my face, before peeling off again into her little cat gyre.

I knew it was something important. Glancing at the clock, I guessed that our flatmate, Nicholas, had arrived home, but I doubted that was it. And although Timmy often wakes me up to tell me that he’s just eaten fish, Buffy’s breath suggested otherwise.

Máâ-má! Her eyes all lit up, Buffy grinned through the frustration of communicating her elation to the dumb human. I cautiously made my way downstairs, hoping that Mim K/W might have an answer.

“Poor Buffy,” she said, as the latter wove excitedly about my ankles. “All that pressure must’ve hurt the poor little thing.” As Mim continued, it gradually became clear what Máâ-má! meant:

Daddy! I farted loud!

This is why I’m a cat-parent.