December 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’m betraying my cats with another, a Brooklynite named Medici, with long, thick, incredibly soft fur—tabby brown-black with white fluff on the belly. His eyes are that particular underwater sage green only cats have, and he has a short face, like Fitzroy’s, but much milder and dreamier. Philip says he named the cat Medici because he’s so princely, but in fact he’s more like what a prince would have in his cat harem, if princes had cat harems, as some surely must. This Medici wouldn’t poison his relatives or dominate European banking; he prefers to roll on his back for a strange woman, and nearly fall off the bed for his pleasure. If there’s any prince he reminds me of, it’s Prince Genji—gelded of course.

When I get up to write, he follows me into the living room and sits calmly at my feet, and then on the couch beside me. One of the 8,000 reasons I never had children was that I feared being watched all the time, and here in my near-dotage I am watched by cats, which isn’t so bad when it’s Medici and Sparkle (Medici’s roommate: large, gray, shy) but at home feels dangerous, because Fitzroy and Mouchette know too much.

They can’t report on me to anyone, but they can mirror me back to myself, they can react with unhappiness to my unhappiness, they can grow up sneaky and drawn to drugs (Mouchette) or seething with violent fantasies (guess who). Just imagine what my human children would have been like. I prefer not to.

But it is nice to have a cat like an ermine coat lie next to me purring loudly, and not even because he wants to be fed. Philip’s cats have an automatic dry food dispenser and don’t expect anything more. They love for the sake of love. They weren’t rescued from the street, like mine were. What does that tell you? In cats, it takes such a harsh childhood to produce neurosis, while in humans all its takes it being born. I know that, in theory, humans with lovely childhoods become lovely adults, but I haven’t actually seen that. Maybe it’s the ape ancestry that dooms us. Or maybe the key to male contentment is being gelded at birth and never let outdoors, and female contentment would follow (though we’d have to go out to do the shopping). The problem is that nobody wants to geld babies.

To see the some cool pix…Cats of Italy click here

Which I found on an interesting site about an expatriate in Italy (also recipes!). Click here

The Cat

Along the hallways of my thought,
As if at home, there prowls a cat,
A strong, sweet, charming, splendid cat.
He mews: the sound is barely caught,

So soft and diffident its tone.
Cries of contentment or complaint
A throaty resonance contain,
A charm, a secret of their own.

A voice that slakes and saturates
The deepest shaded parts of me
And fills my soul like poetry;
Like magic, it rejuvenates.

It lulls to sleep my cruel malaise,
Contains all ecstasy as well;
There is no need of words to tell
The long complexities of phrase.

No bow could rasp across my heart,
Though perfect instrument it be,
And make it throb more royally,
More resonant in every part,

Than does your voice, mysterious,
Seraphic cat, eccentric cat;
An angel’s song is in your throat,
So subtle and harmonious.

His fur is dappled brown and blond,
And has such sweet perfume, last night
When I had touched him with one light
Caress, my hand became embalmed.

He is the soul of our abode:
The judge, the king, the inspiration
Of everything in his small nation.
Perhaps a demon, is he God?

When, as by a magnet’s spell,
This cherished cat has caught my eyes,
Then, docilely, to analyze
They turn and gaze into my self,

With what astonishment I see
The fire within his pallid pupils,
Lighted beacons, living opals,
Which contemplate me fixedly!

Charles Baudelaire (translator unknown)


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