Cats are where it’s at…
and that’s where I’m going to stop trying to write a Dr. Seuss type of blog post. Instead, I’ll blog about a few of my favorite famous, fictional cats, because my own cats are in the process of writing a blog with me, so everyone will have to wait to meet them.
The first cat I’ll talk about is “Puss in Boots” who originally appeared in a fairy tale at the end of the 17th century. He “served” (as if! everyone knows we serve cats, not the other way around) a master who inherited his dead father’s cat. The man was disappointed at first; but Puss in Boots was not only very fashion-savvy but incredibly brave, clever and magical. The cat was SO clever, that he killed an Ogre, took over the Ogre’s castle all so that his master could marry a beautiful princess. What a Cat! “Puss in Boot’s” has appeared in so many shapes and ways, but my favorite version of him beside the original “Puss in Boots” has to be from the “Shrek” movies. Here, “Puss in Boots” is dashing, witty, brave, and incredibly clever. I think his first ancestor would be most proud of how far his family has come.
Then we have a cat who could have been the cousin of Puss in Boots. “The Cheshire Cat,” from “Alice in Wonderland. Those of you who read my co-author Lyn’s blog post “A is for Alice in Wonderland” know that she didn’t exactly favor “Alice” but how can anyone not like “Cheshire.” He was sly, tricky, extremely clever and could disappear whenever he felt like it to Alice’s frustration. Hmmmm, that sounds familiar, my own cats, seem to disappear and tease me for the fun of it and then magically appear when they are hungry.
Then there’s a cat who’s not so fortunate, has had to survive a hard street life but manages to sing about her experiences. T.S. Eliot wrote the below poem for his book ” “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” but left it out when his wife wisely pointed out that it was far too sad for a childrens book;
Remark the cat
Who hesitates toward you in the light of the door
Which opens on her like a grin.
You see the border of her coat is torn
Is torn and stained with sand,
And you see the corner of her eye
Twists like a crooked pin.”
Andrew Lloyd Weber liked this poem so much he wrote a character for her in his famous broadway smash “Cats.” Grizabella is her name and she sings a song of her youth when she was still beautiful and loved which has now faded under the moonlight. I speak for myself that when I hear her song, “Memory” I can’t help but get sad thinking of all the cats who are on the streets, without a family and unloved. O.k. enough, enough before I get too sentimental and won’t be able to finish my post.
There are so many cats I could write about; here are just a few of my favorite cats…
“Bagheera” from “Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling
Everybody knew Bagheera, and nobody cared to cross his path; for he was as cunning as Tabaqui, as bold as the wild buffalo, and as reckless as the wounded elephant. But he had a voice as soft as wild honey dripping from a tree, and a skin softer than down.
- “Cat in the Hat” from Dr. Seuss.
- “Pyewackett” from movie “Bell, Book and Candle”
- “Crookshanks” –Hermione Grangers cat from“The Harry Potter Series”
- Ginger, the orange tom cat from C.S. Lewis’s “Narnia” Books appears in The Last Battle.
- GrayMalkin, the witches’ cat in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
I’ll end this post talking about the quintessential cat, “The Cat that Walked by Himself” written by Rudyard Kipling from the “Just So” series. Kipling with all his cat characters seems to have understand the true nature of cats evoking fascination, love, fear, and so many other varied emotions and thoughts that “cats” are a class by themselves. But my favorite story about cats is “The Cat that Walked by Himself.” Here we have a cat when man and woman still lived in a cave and all animals had yet to be domesticated. All the animals, with the cat being the wildest are both curious and drawn by the light and aromas coming from man and woman’s cave. The first animal who stops being feral is of course; the dog…
The Man and the Woman are both inside the Cave eating their dinner. They went to another cozier Cave when the Baby came, because the Baby used to crawl down to the river and fall in, and the Dog had to pull him out.
Then Wild Horse stamped with his wild foot and said, ‘O my Friends and O my Enemies, why have the Man and the Woman made that great light in that great Cave, and what harm will it do us?’
Wild Dog lifted up his wild nose and smelled the smell of roast mutton, and said, ‘I will go up and see and look, and say; for I think it is good. Cat, come with me.’
‘Nenni!’ said the Cat. ‘I am the Cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me. I will not come.’
‘Then we can never be friends again,’ said Wild Dog, and he trotted off to the Cave. But when he had gone a little way the Cat said to himself, ‘All places are alike to me. Why should I not go too and see and look and come away at my own liking.’
Eventually, the cat makes “peace” with the humans but always tells them he can never be fully “owned” and as docile as the dog;
‘Ah,’ said the Woman, listening, ‘this is a very clever Cat, but he is not so clever as the Dog.’ Cat counted the Dog’s teeth (and they looked very pointed) and he said, ‘I will be kind to the Baby while I am in the Cave, as long as he does not pull my tail too hard, for always and always and always. But still I am the Cat that walks by himself, and all places are alike to me.Not when I am near,’ said the Dog. ‘If you had not said that last I would have shut my mouth for always and always and always; but now I am going to hunt you up a tree whenever I meet you. And so shall all proper Dogs do after me.
‘Then the Man threw his two boots and his little stone axe (that makes three) at the Cat, and the Cat ran out of the Cave and the Dog chased him up a tree; and from that day to this, Best Beloved, three proper Men out of five will always throw things at a Cat whenever they meet him, and all proper Dogs will chase him up a tree. But the Cat keeps his side of the bargain too.
He will kill mice and he will be kind to Babies when he is in the house, just as long as they do not pull his tail too hard.
But when he has done that, and between times, and when the moon gets up and night comes, he is the Cat that walks by himself, and all places are alike to him. Then he goes out to the Wet Wild Woods or up the Wet Wild Trees or on the Wet Wild Roofs, waving his wild tail and walking by his wild lone.
And so I have come to the end of my post about the letter “C” which I hope I have demonstrated to you belongs to “Cats” of all shapes and sizes. I have loved cats all my life and have been blessed to have always been owned by at least one cat.
So, tell me, how do you feel about cats? Ambivalent? Love them, hate them? Do you have any cats? Please tell me your stories if you have any and I will pass them along to my cats who love hearing about their own kind. Cat’s have no problems with humility or self-esteem, do they?