The Boastful Cat

She bragged, but never said a word.  She was a cat, after all.  But like all felines, she was touched with pride, she walked softly for worship and carried her beautiful history with disdain.  Humanity had forever been nervous before a cat's silent and fearsome dignity and had tried to appease her with fabulous things:  blankets embroidered with diamonds, so she could both rest and gaze on her many faceted beauty; cushions full of clouds harvested from the brightest sunsets; meals served on golden plates thriving with exotic embellishment.  A cat's feminine contempt was adored. 

I thought of these things when I saw her, a crouching icon, black like onyx, like Victorian mourning velvet; shining like crushed jet.  Clearly she was waiting; wondering, in fact, what had taken me so long.  She looked at me with eyes of imperial jade, ceremonial objects stolen from the tombs of emporers, taken from the mouthpieces of opium pipes and polished into an opaque glow, untarnished by gold or amber.

She let me tickle and pull her ears; she was very patient.  Then she began to walk.  She didn't run – either away from me or towards some more promising object – but she moved with a definite purpose.  I followed.

When she had reached a neighboring house, with its walls painted green, she stopped and looked at me.  Eyes and background matched perfectly; she was quite aware of this stunning comparison.  She stared at me as if to say, "Look at me.  Am I not beautiful?  What do you see in my eyes?  Oceans tossed in ribbons of sage and olive?  Do you see deserts, where my likeness was carved into the pyramids, and mocked from the hieroglyphs?  Look at me.  I drove Poe to gothic madness.  I slept on Muhammad's coat.  I wore harnesses of ice and crystal and pulled the chariots of Norse goddesses.  Popes denounced me, yet the daughter of Ra was my protector.  Am I proud?  It is my right:  a family of lions is, after all, called a pride.  Anyway, that's all I have to say.  You may go now."

And with that, she leapt into the overhanging shrubbery and walked amongst the Byzantine branches with the leisurely, silken grace of a panther.  I watched her until the shadows reached out and enticed her into their green depths.

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13 responses to “The Boastful Cat

  1. *sigh* I never thought I could love cats more than I do. You just made me.

  2. oooooooooh…t'anks for the goosebumps, Aubrey…&:o)

  3. Word craft at its finest, and a glorious subject.

  4. JP – that makes me feel as if I've accomplished something that was really special. Thanks!
    fatcat – thanks for reading!
    YGRS – if I mentioned this to that cat (whom I haven't seen since), she would have blinked, as if to say, "Oh, was that one of the Sillies? Yes, well, she probably deserved it."
    Red Pen – a person can get lost – to the point of vanishing – in such a lovely subject.

  5. Very appropriate! Is it the way cats are that compels us to treat them like royalty or do we have a natural inclination to pamper our pets? I've been wondering this lately.

  6. *Big happy smile*I gobble up every word!

  7. It has been noted that cats and dogs differ in one evolutionarily important way: humanity domesticated the dog, but cats domesticated themselves.
    Dogs were sought as hunting partners. Pups were carefully stolen away and hand-raised, slowly learning to treat humans as pack leaders. Over time, those dogs which learned most readily begat a long line of companions, thoroughly bonded to their masters through careful selection.
    Cats, on the other hand, chose us.
    They first came near our early cities, attracted by the wealth of prey to be found in our rapidly-swelling granaries. Those cats which had less fear of the large two-legged predators that swarmed about found better hunting in the denser cities, as they had more organised farming, and therefore larger stores of grain to prowl. Over time, humanity learned first to value the cats' presence as guardians of the precious food supply, then to appreciate cats for their nature. We raised their status to godhood, we pampered and coddled and kept them close, we eventually came to define ourselves in their terms ("oh, I'm really a cat person").

  8. I love to wander across from time to time; I know I am going to read beautiful work:
    "She let me tickle and pull her ears; she was very patient. Then she began to walk. She didn't run – either away from me or towards some more promising object – but she moved with a definite purpose. I followed."

  9. Hetta – I think it's their combination of mystery and aloofness that makes us crawl. We should pamper our pets, but unfortunately it isn't always the case.
    Lauri – Easy to do with such a delicious subject!
    Waterbaby/Purplesque – Thank you, darlings!
    Umuhk – Well, where have you been? You are quite correct – it is the quality of independence which defines the cat. They are lonely hunters – even a domestic cat, I've heard, still hunts – but purely for pleasure. A co-worker once said, that a hungry dog will watch you eat; a hungry cat will start polling the neighborhood.
    MEK – Thank you; yes: I could tell she was being patient with me, yet at the same time eager to be off on her mysterious adventures.

  10. I love reading your work, it is so serene. Now if you will excuse me I have some cats to worship.

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