Purr And Complain And Nothing In-between

by Randy Murray on October 28, 2013

Del, short for Delaware, is the big yellow-orange cat who shares our house. He is far more lion than tiger. He is also a big communicator. Unfortunately, his communications seems to be limited to complaining about something or letting us know that he’s happy at the moment.

I’m hungry. I’m unhappy about something. I want to be petted. I don’t want to be held. Don’t brush me. That chipmunk is back and I’m not allowed outside.


I love snuggling.

And that’s pretty much it. Yes, he sometimes does funny things that might earn him internet cat video fame, but for the most part it’s just purr or complain.

I love Del specifically and cats generally, but I miss the more complete communication of dogs. Dogs and humans have evolved together in ways that cats and humans haven’t. Dogs can tell you things other than their momentary unhappiness. They can tell you that they want to play or walk. They can understand that you don’t want to play or walk at this very moment. They can understand that no means no (for Del, no means “not while I’m looking”). Dogs can understand a lot of words, perhaps as many as 200 and a wide range of human emotions. And they can signal their wants, needs, and feelings to a surprising degree. I’m not sure how many words Del understands because as a cat he doesn’t act like he needs a wider communications range.

But that’s OK. Del is teaching me about my own communicating. I have to watch myself to see if all I am doing is complaining or crowing. I see far too much of that online and especially in social media. Brag or complain. Complain or brag. I’m so happy. The world hates me.

It’s all boring.

There is a wide array of ideas and emotions that we can talk about and yet it’s all too often just one end or the other. It’s what makes me unfollow, mute, and turn off people who I follow (who I follow no longer, in this case).

I can take the annoyances from Del because he and I are buddies and I do like the snuggling. A little complaining from friends and colleagues is OK, too. It helps me know when things aren’t going well.

But for businesses and organizations this approach is a disaster. We’re the best! Please, please buy our stuff! The other products from other companies suck!

Stop boring us. I can read your product data sheets and list of awards and recognitions. I don’t need any more of that. What else do you have to say? What’s going on in the industry? What other problems are customers who use your products and services facing? How is your organization facing challenges?

And occasionally, what funny cat video did you find?

There’s so much more than purring and complaining. Please find some other things to talk about.

The Purr And Complain And Nothing In-between by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Zeynep October 28, 2013 at 1:10 pm

I have never had a cat but I have always admired their independent spirit and their ability to survive falls from such great heights and walk on with their lives. Dogs, on the other hand, curve for attention and appreciation and bother you with their barking if they can’t get any. Personally I’m for removing the dogs and keeping the cats.


Randy Murray October 28, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I love both dogs and cats. I simply find that they have different ways of communicating and a different NEED to communicate.


Zeynep October 28, 2013 at 2:30 pm

I also love both cats and dogs but when we speak metaphorically, I find people with dogs characteristics less sincere about their feelings as they’re often seeking attention. It’s my personal opinion but I have enjoyed your take on this subject too.


Zeynep October 28, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I have an email subscription to this blog so I get to read all of your posts whenever you upload new ones. This is the first time I’m leaving a comment so I would also like to thank you for all the excellent blog posts I find in my inbox every day.


Randy Murray October 29, 2013 at 7:59 am

And thank you for being a loyal reader!



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