“They say the test of literary power is whether a man can write an inscription. I say, “Can he name a kitten?” ~Samuel Butler
Since last week was for the Birds, what better topic for this week than Cats? Since birds and cats go together like, well, like, Sylvester and Tweety. As dogs chase cats, cats chase birds, and birds chase worms, and worms chase, well, worms don’t chase much of anything, but we’re straying off topic a bit anyway, so like a Stray Cat, we’ll strut right back to the topic at hand. Which this week, of course, is Cats. We hope you enjoy, and we hope you have a purr-fect weekend. – Love, Jennie and Christy
“Throw a stick, and the servile dog wheezes and pants and stumbles to bring it to you. Do the same before a cat, and he will eye you with coolly polite and somewhat bored amusement. And just as inferior people prefer the inferior animal which scampers excitedly because someone else wants something, so do superior people respect the superior animal which lives its own life and knows that the puerile stick-throwings of alien bipeds are none of its business and beneath its notice. The dog barks and begs and tumbles to amuse you when you crack the whip. That pleases a meekness-loving peasant who relishes a stimulus to his self importance. The cat, on the other hand, charms you into playing for its benefit when it wishes to be amused; making you rush about the room with a paper on a string when it feels like exercise, but refusing all your attempts to make it play when it is not in the humor. That is personality and individuality and self-respect — the calm mastery of a being whose life is its own and not yours — and the superior person recognises and appreciates this because he too is a free soul whose position is assured, and whose only law is his own heritage and aesthetic sense.”
“To gain the friendship of a cat is a difficult thing. The cat is a philosophical, methodical, quiet animal, tenacious of its own habits, fond of order and cleanliness, and it does not lightly confer its friendship. If you are worthy of its affection, a cat will be your friend, but never your slave. He keeps his free will, though he loves, and he will not do for you what he thinks is unreasonable. But if he once gives himself to you it is with absolute confidence and affection.” ~Theophile Gautier
“The cat was created when the lion sneezed” ~Arabian Proverb
“Thou art the Great Cat, the avenger of the Gods, and the judge of words, and the president of the sovereign chiefs and the governor of the holy Circle; thou art indeed…the Great Cat.”
~Inscription on the Royal Tombs at Thebes~
“The only mystery about the cat is why it ever decided to become a domestic animal.”
~Sir Compton Mackenzie
“People who hate cats will come back as mice in their next life.” ~Faith Resnick
“Dogs come when they’re called; cats take a message and get back to you later.” ~Mary Bly
“Do not meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer.” ~Bruce Graham
“Garfield’s Law: Cats instinctively know the precise moment their owners will awaken, then they awaken them ten minutes sooner.” ~Jim Davis
“Cats aren’t clean. They’re just covered with cat spit.” ~John S. Nichols
“I love them, they are so nice and selfish. Dogs are TOO good and unselfish. They make me feel uncomfortable. But cats are gloriously human.” ~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island
“The problem with cats is that they get the same exact look whether they see a moth or an ax-murderer.” ~Paula Poundstone
“Schrödinger’s cat was a Siamese cat, must have been, because if it’s at once alive and dead, it’s a zombie, and the only zombie cats are Siamese cats.” ~Jarod Kintz
To A Cat
Mirrors are not more silent
nor the creeping dawn more secretive;
in the moonlight, you are that panther
we catch sight of from afar.
By the inexplicable workings of a divine law,
we look for you in vain;
More remote, even, than the Ganges or the setting sun,
yours is the solitude, yours the secret.
Your haunch allows the lingering
caress of my hand. You have accepted,
since that long forgotten past,
the love of the distrustful hand.
You belong to another time. You are lord
of a place bounded like a dream.
“If you want to concentrate deeply on some problem, and especially some piece of writing or paper-work, you should acquire a cat. Alone with the cat in the room where you work … the cat will invariably get up on your desk and settle placidly under the desk lamp … The cat will settle down and be serene, with a serenity that passes all understanding. And the tranquility of the cat will gradually come to affect you, sitting there at your desk, so that all the excitable qualities that impede your concentration compose themselves and give your mind back the self-command it has lost. You need not watch the cat all the time. Its presence alone is enough. The effect of a cat on your concentration is remarkable, very mysterious.”
~Muriel Spark, A Far Cry from Kensington
“You can call me Dances With Cats. I’m like Dances With Wolves, only meowier.”~Jarod Kintz
“While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats.” ~Mark Twain
“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.” ~Ernest Hemingway
“I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.” ~Edgar Allan Poe
“Of all God’s creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat.”
I have a luck cat in my arms,
it spins threads of luck.
Luck cat, luck cat,
make for me three things:
make for me a golden ring,
to tell me that I am lucky;
make for me a mirror
to tell me that I am beautiful;
make for me a fan
to waft away my cumbersome thoughts.
Luck cat, luck cat,
spin for me some news of my future!
– Edith Södergran, translated by David McDuff
“The cat does not offer services. The cat offers itself.” ~William S. Burroughs, The Cat Inside
As The Cat
As the cat
the top of
first the right
then the hind
into the pit of
“I sometimes longed for someone who, like me, had not adjusted perfectly with his age, and such a person was hard to find; but I soon discovered cats, in which I could imagine a condition like mine, and books, where I found it quite often.” ~Julio Cortázar, Around the Day in Eighty Worlds
“He is the Cat that walks by himself, and all places are alike to him.” ~Rudyard Kipling, Just So Stories
“Cats can be very funny, and have the oddest ways of showing they’re glad to see you. Rudimace always peed in our shoes.” ~W.H. Auden
“What a luxury a cat is, the moments of shocking and startling pleasure in a day, the feel of the beast, the soft sleekness under your palm, the warmth when you wake on a cold night, the grace and charm even in a quite ordinary workaday puss. Cat walks across your room, and in that lonely stalk you see leopard or even panther, or it turns its head to acknowledge you and the yellow blaze of those eyes tells you what an exotic visitor you have here, in this household friend, the cat who purrs as you stroke, or rub his chin, or scratch his head.”
– Doris Lessing, The Old Age of El Magnifico
“Cats will amusingly tolerate humans only until someone comes up with a tin opener that can be operated with a paw.” ~ Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms
I know. I know.
they are limited, have different
but I watch and learn from them.
I like the little they know,
which is so
they complain but never
they walk with a surprising dignity.
they sleep with a direct simplicity that
humans just can’t
their eyes are more
beautiful than our eyes.
and they can sleep 20 hours
when I am feeling
all I have to do is
watch my cats
I study these
they are my
“I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through.” ~Jules Verne
“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.” ~Jean Cocteau
Holding up my
purring cat to the moon
~Jack Kerouac, American Haiku, 1959
“Books. Cats. Life is good.” ~Edward Gorey
This week’s playlist includes music by Johnny Cash, Katy Perry, Stray Cats, and more…
*Cat photos by C.K. Hope