Saturday, December 4, 2010

Our cat speaks German!

Our cat speaks German
I was never keen on getting a pet. I was worried about the additional work. After growing up on a farm in Germany where animals had their place and were never allowed into the house I simply could not imagine living closely with an animal.
About 18 months ago a yoga friend told me about this cat that was picked up as a stray with a litter. The cat, Marnie, had been de-sexed, the kittens were with a vet and Marnie needed a home. At the time the cat was housed in a garage after being rejected by her friendly saviour’s own two cats. Two weeks later the cat was still up for adoption and I decided to give the cat a home.
I have not looked back since.  From the first minute when we met Marnie we started speaking only German to her and she took to it like a duck to the water. My children were 11 and 12 at the time. During their life German has been the preferred language of conversation between us three. They have always been talking to each other in English though, which is not surprising as they were born in Australia and they have always lived in Australia, apart from three brief holidays to Europe. But with me it was German only, our language of choice and of habit. I have used the ”One person one language approach” since birth. Therefore it was only natural that our new fourth ‘family member’ would share our language. My children found it quite normal to only address the cat in German.
The caring, feeding and looking after our cat provided another much needed focus for the German language in our family. The cat is well mannered, friendly and happy. She lives outside during the day and inside at night time. When calling her to come inside we use the words “lecker, lecker, lecker” which means yummy and works very well with her. Marnie surely understands every word we say.
It did not take long until the children gave the cat a proper German name too: “Marnie Schnurlibur Glitzerfell Klingelkatze”. I leave it up to you to find the exact translation but it means something like a cat that purrs, has a shiny fur and carries a bell. Just the right name for our German speaking new family member!
Recently she started purring in German too, greeting us with a sound just like “Morrrr(gen)” in the morning.  It’s great fun to live with a German speaking cat.

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