This Christmas, a friend gave me this beautiful broach. Which is so me, everyone said. For cats are mystical, magical creatures! I am a definite cat person. And I have a bit of a reputation for being such.
A couple of weeks ago we were on a late train home after a night out. I was pretty tired, when we bumped into a friend. She was a little drunk after a Christmas party. We all got to talking, about books and such things. I was trying to remember a book I’d read at university, about cats. ‘It’s amazing’, I said, ‘if not a little grim’. ‘It’s all about cats. About them being suspected and treated cruelly throughout history, because their wisdom has been feared.’ Cats – the Egyptians cat, the feral cat, the witch’s cat! ‘Wisdom?’ Our friend questioned. ‘Cats? They’re just cats, aren’t they?’ ‘Oh no, I said – they’ve got human eyes.’ This aroused some laughter. Apparently I also said something to the effect of, ‘human eyes, I tell you.’ I have no recollection of this bit.
And so, okay, understandably I’ve been ribbed about this over-tired comment since that evening. And people seem to think I’m some kind of dotty cat lady or something! Well, I am a bit really. I love cats. And all animals. I think a lot about them at this time of year. Perhaps it’s the endless piles of turkey I see people eating. I feel sorry for the mass killing of turkeys, really. And also because the news is always full of stories about pets being dumped in January, after the initial thrill of Christmas.
The book, incidentally, is called ‘The Great Cat Massacre’. My favourite professor (a fellow cat lover) at university recommended it to me, but only certain pages – as, as I said – it is a little grim. But one of the ideas the book raises is that through time societies have feared the wisdom in the eyes of cats.
And I do believe in the magic of cats! I think they’re beautiful creatures. All my life, we’ve always had at least one mog about the place. And they’ve always been rescued, each with their own weathered past. One of our cats, Poppy, always used to knock at my bedroom window. After she died suddenly, I was sure I still heard her knocking, just for a few nights.
At home, we’re big supporters of the RSPCA. And we’ve always had cats from there. Visiting their cat and dog homes is particularly sad, especially a few weeks after Christmas, when they’re full of the latest unwanted and sadly forlorn Christmas presents. Our local home has a pin board with photos of all the animals they’re re-homed – which is brilliant to see.
Our two cats, Harry and Percy, were rescued a few years ago. They had been nursed for months in the RSPCA medical centre. During their first Christmas with us, they were scared of everything – the tree, the presents, the visitors. But now they are such crazy and well loved additions to our family. And we’ve enjoyed their company this Christmas! Percy likes to play under the tree; Harry likes to sleep on discarded pieces of wrapping paper.
So, I’m attaching the photo below. With this message: cats are wise and amazing creatures! They should be treated with respect, at Christmas and always. And charities such as the RSPCA should be commended for the amazing work they do – helping us to treat animals with the decency any living creature deserves. I wish Christmas, a time of charity and generosity, didn’t have to result in so much suffering for animals.
But it doesn’t always have to – as my picture shows! 🙂