TO A CAT
Mirrors are not more silent
Nor the creeping dawn more secretive;
In the moonlight, you are the 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.
– Jorge Luis Borges
How true, Jorge, how true. House cats may be the butt of “cat lady” jokes, since loving cats must mean you have no friends or no one else can tolerate you. And cats must be careless enough to horde themselves with each other in some random, obsessive lady’s house full of cat feces and trash. But I think differently.
Cats are interesting creatures. As stated by our friend Jorge up there, they keep themselves scarce, silent, and effectively in control. Notice how they “allow” caresses and “accept” the “distrustful” hand since they’ve been domesticated. We don’t pet them; cats choose to get petted. Cats are on top.
Really, cats are the ideal role model for any spy. Don’t be as quiet as a mouse – be stealthy like a cat, so you can catch that mouse.
What Jorge doesn’t mention is a cat’s infamous curiosity. I think, though, this trait is better stated as a cat’s desire to be entertained. Cats care whether that thud from upstairs is an omen of danger or if it’s worthy of her attention anymore. That string you’re flinging around for her to chase? She wants to own it, beat it, and get it out of her attention span. Either that, or she’s not into it anymore. Notice how cats decide when play time is? Silly humans, thinking they’re in control. Pshaw.
You see, cats are sarcastic beings that can and would take over the world – if only they just felt like it. It’s really not going to fit in their schedule any time soon because there are imaginary bugs to be swat at, windows to glare out of, food to reject with one glance, cat nip to sit on, and humans to lure into eternal loyalty with fuzzy ears and swishing tails.
This ode to cats is to welcome a new feline into my home. My grandma rescued her a sevenish years ago and has moved into an apartment where she can’t go, so my family is her new family. Welcome to your new home, Tig. I’ll do whatever you say. You’re just so darn cute.