The Cat’s Memories

I am always looking for cats.  Seeing one is like witnessing the materialization of Egyptian worship - surrounded by incense and bare feet, carved into golden delicacies and marble scarabs.  A sleepy deity tightly groomed and insulted by collar and tag, it now scowls at me with an ancient disgust.

The other day I saw such a cat, sitting at a window that was dim and greasy enough to hold a city's fingerprint, its dirty and unbecoming DNA.  The frame was beaten with the fist of gusty weather – splintered by seasonal, prying fingers.  Curled like an icon, it lay on a poor, inefficient throne:  a threadbare couch that was the color of sickness -  bilious and jaundiced.

The morning was confused that day, with a sky that was noncommittal and unfocused.  But in a moment of clarity, light pounced at my discovery's throat, and quickly the tag glowed new and polished, like a stolen doubloon.  And amongst the ghosts that tangled in the atmosphere, brigands on their ships appeared to regain their treasure.  But when they saw the neck from where it so audaciously hung, they paused…then disappeared as the waterly light slipped away.

So, having stared down one enemy, the cat faced me, another inferior heat source.  Bored with its dreams, I was no improvement.  Its eyes were an amber judgement of discontent.

Perhaps it is a memory that all cats hold inside them that causes this frustration.  It was a memory of distant fiefdoms and foreign names whispered in devout incantations.  It was the knowledge that its ancestors were cradled by gods like exalted children; hunters destined to live forever inside pharoahs' tombs.  And the knowledge that it now lived on common ground, watching spirits through dirty windows, crouched on a sickly bed, shamed by the "To Rent" sign on the front lawn.

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10 responses to “The Cat’s Memories

  1. ahhh… is that why Boo does nothing but hiss & sleep these days?!?

  2. I love the imagery of your writing…

  3. I started noticing cats everywhere after spending time with my friend who has 8.

  4. Oh, I have to point out a couple of cool bits of phrasing, because they make me wish I could hug you or something silly like that:

  5. My favorite phrase in this is "another inferior heat source."
    Have you ever been to Venice? There are so many cats there, living on the street but cared for by a community organization.

  6. "It's amber eyes were a judgment of discontent" – sounds just like mine at home. This is a really great piece. I've been thinking about it for a few days and hoping to say something more profound that that, but that's all I've got, aside from just saying how true this is.

  7. ?And the knowledge that it now lived on common ground, watching spirits
    through dirty windows, crouched on a sickly bed, shamed by the "To
    Rent" sign on the front lawn." … who would know reading this prose the turn of conclusion waiting? …

  8. Sigh. I have yet to do a post on Hermes. He is the last kitten to need a home from the litter we raised. He is here with us now to give him a break from the adoption cubicles at Petsmart and he is the epitome of the royal Egyptian cat. Long, lean, sleek, elegant. *whispers* I am hoping that hubby will say, when it is time to return him to Petsmart, "Oh, what's one more?" and Hermes can stay and honor us with his regal presence.

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