Amusing first novel and takeoff on the old archy & mahitabel series, with two cats writing to each other by e-mail without their mommies knowing it.
One day Linda finds some diskettes hidden in a box. When she puts them on her p.c., the symbols seem nonsensical, but she notes repeated formations, so sends the disks off to Professor Manfred Katz, the UCLA linguist. The good professor determines that they’re in Felinese (not the more common Catçais) and translates them for Linda, who owns Cleo the Divine, and for Virginia, who owns Tyrone the Great. Cleo has delusions of grandeur and at ten years owns up to age six. When she and her sister Honey turned up one day, pathetic and bedraggled, at Linda Hamner’s doorstep, Linda and her husband could keep only Honey, so foisted Cleo off on Virginia. Tyrone was rescued from near death at the pound and became top cat at Linda’s, and now he and Cleo are lovers, linguistically. Tyrone, top poet among toms, calls Cleo “the Syrup on My Pancakes, the Peanut Butter on My Jelly, the Tuna in My Macaroni of Life.” Meanwhile, Cleo has to put up with loopy Chester, known as The Big Old Stupid Dog, who just stares, sleeps and drools, and with thuggish Stealth, a lowlife cat Cleo calls “a pickup-with-a-gunrack kind of cat.” On New Year’s Eve, she nibbles shrimp pâté, sips champagne and watches Dick Clark on TV. The correspondents exchange wisdom about attention-getting devices and the shortcomings of their mommies. Their big tryst takes place at Kamp Kritter when all the animals from both households get together for a week’s babble. It’s an affair to remember, Cleo and Tyrone’s paws touching between carriers as the music swells.
All too cute. But Mommies who speak the language of cats will find it catnip at daybreak.