How can I stop my husband vocal-babbling around our cat?

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Q: I love my husband but since we acquired a pet cat, he’s adopted a particularly irritating special voice when he addresses it. When I mentioned it to him, he got quite offended. How should I let him know that it’s causing me to love him less? C.V.

When your cat turns you into a birdbrain.

Simon Letch/The Age

When your cat turns you into a birdbrain.

A: Pets can turn pet owners into pathetic, gushing imbeciles.

A pet owner could be a soft-spoken, sophisticated, scholarly type, sitting on the couch and discussing the post-Covidian societal landscape, or the nonlinear cinema of Wong Kar-wai … then their pet walks into the room and they start babbling, “Awwwwww, it’s my little smoooshy!

Who’s a smooshy wooshy? Soooooo cute!!!!” And they pronounce “little” as “widdle”, and “cute” as “qwoooooooooooot”. It’s a sad thing to see.

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Pet owner vocal-babbling is extremely irritating. The tone is eye-wateringly high pitched, the content is unintelligibly babyish, and it’s always delivered with a grinning, gummy goofball expression that romantic partners may find a bit of a turn-off.

You say you’ve already mentioned it to your husband and he got offended: he probably said, “I do not have a special cat voice! I always address the cat in my regular, calm, mellifluous …” then the cat walked in and his voice jumped three octaves: “Wook who’s here!!!! My widdle smooshy-bwains! Awwwww!!!!!”

If you want to make a point, film him talking to the cat, then play it back to him, saying, “Hey, you’ll love this! It’s you and the cat!” Pump the sound up loud and play it over and over again until he despises himself and everything’s he’s become.

And if that doesn’t work and you really want to save your marriage, go to a pet store, buy a shock collar for barking dogs, secure it around his neck while he’s sleeping, and zap him with every “awwww”, every “widdle” and every “qwoooooooooooot!!!!!”

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