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Schrodinger Takes Charge

November 6, 2018
by the gentle author

I shall be reading from THE LIFE & TIMES OF MR PUSSY, A MEMOIR OF A FAVOURITE CAT at 7pm on Saturday 17th November as part of the Write Idea Festival at the Whitechapel Idea Store.  Click here for free tickets

The sphinx

Over six months have passed since Schrodinger arrived in Spitalfields. These days, he comes and goes as he pleases through his cat flap, and knows how to open any door by leaping up and applying nimble pressure at just the right spot below the handle. Habitually now he settles down in the centre of the room or upon the arm of the sofa with his shoulders spread and his front legs extended in an expression of ownership. I call this familiar position ‘the sphinx.’

Like the sphinx Schrodinger retains his mystery, yet he opens his heart sometimes. If he discovers me at my desk, he delights to run and jump into the space between me and the back of the chair, rubbing himself against my spine and purring. There have been rare occasions when he has climbed around to sit upon my lap. Similarly, if he sees me lying upon the sofa with my head resting at one end against a cushion, he will leap onto the arm and rub himself against my hair, settling there snuggled against the back of my head. Sometimes he even climbs along the sofa to lie in the narrow space between me and the edge, before moving onto my stomach and cuddling there to feel the warmth of my body.

Yet Schrodinger’s personality has not softened. Like some latter day Joseph Merceron, he is subjugating the neighbourhood. I have become aware of fewer cats in the vicinity as he has extended his manor although – thankfully – he has made an exception for a neighbour’s pair of house cats, granting them free passage in his exclusion zone. Bare patches around Schrodinger’s neck and chest attest to his fights, where bites and scratches have formed red scabs and then taken off chunks of fur as he sheds the scabs before the fur grows again. It troubles me to wonder what injuries he inflicts on his combatants.

For some time, it was a matter of anxiety what might happen if Schrodinger were to confront a neighbour’s Staffordshire terrier, a lean and muscular young specimen. One day, I heard the sound of the confrontation that I dreaded and ran to the window fearing the worst. But I saw Schrodinger sitting alone in his sphinx position with his arms extended, eyes shining and his jaw clenched in an expression of ferocity. Indoors, I could hear the dog whimpering in fear and my neighbour comforting the poor creature. I realised that during Schrodinger’s years in Shoreditch, he had become familiar with the dogs belonging to the down-and-outs who frequented the church. Consequently, dogs prove no challenge to him. After that, I had to restrain Schrodinger physically twice by grabbing his back legs to prevent him climbing into the neighbour’s window to beat up their dog when they left it alone in the house.

In an attempt to encourage Schrodinger’s playful nature and educate him in the ways of house cats, I bought him six ping pong balls and left them on the carpet but he regarded them with disinterest. Yet I know he is happy because he always enters the house with his tail held up and runs to his dish of biscuits where he hunkers down to crunch enthusiastically until his hunger is satiated. Next he moves to his water dish and extends his long, lizard-like tongue, unfurling it down and lapping up the liquid in a quick repetitive gesture.

I have discovered the most effective means to puncture Schrodinger’s implacable nature is to brush him. It is by providing this service that I command his full attention. He has realised at last that I have a function. At first, I brush him gently on his head and then he stretches out his front legs as I brush his back. After I have brushed his chest and legs, he rolls onto his back so that I may brush his chest and belly. This inspires an abandoned frenzy of joy in which he rolls around on the carpet with his legs extended and his eyes gleaming in delight. He may even play with the ping pong balls afterwards, just so that I am not disappointed.

Thus Schrodinger has established his territory, his means of ingress and egress, his supply of food and water. He has company, he has grooming and a warm place to sleep. This is how Schrodinger took charge in Spitalfields.

You may like to read my earlier stories about Schrodinger

A New Home for Schrodinger

The Loneliness of Schrodinger


Click here to order a signed copy for £15


17 Responses leave one →
  1. Jean Clements permalink
    November 6, 2018

    I’m so pleased you have acquired Schrodinger.

  2. Jean Clements permalink
    November 6, 2018

    What a magnificent cat and such a match for your considerable writing talents. A true partnership..I wish you many, many happy years together and thank you for sharing

  3. Greg Tingey permalink
    November 6, 2018

    “Fierce” pussy-cat!
    I once had a large tom-cat called Hermann, who had to be restrained from attacking dogs – any dogs.
    However, Shrödinger’s posture reminds me of a well-known pub’s “management … “Nelson” at “Tapping the Admiral” in Kentish Town W often adopts this posture.
    Oh & better than a brush – my current Birman tom-kitten LURVES being cat-combed underneath his chin …

  4. Jill Wilson permalink
    November 6, 2018

    …and I’m pleased that Schrodinger has acquired you!

  5. November 6, 2018

    He sounds completely satisfactory. The perfect existence for a confident male cat who understands it is his full-time job to keep the locale under his control and to remind everyone who is in charge. I laughed out loud at the thought of you having to stop him actually entering a house with a Staffie in residence. I hope you both continue to hunker happily together as the years pass.

  6. November 6, 2018

    I was wondering about Schrodinger, but didn’t dare ask about him. Thanks for the wonderful and funny news. Hurray for Schrodinger!

  7. Lyn in Yorkshire permalink
    November 6, 2018

    Once again, my heart is singing

  8. Kay permalink
    November 6, 2018

    Thank you so much for making me laugh. Schrodinger obviously has you ‘wrapped around his little finger’ (or paw). What a character.

  9. Richard Smith permalink
    November 6, 2018

    What is the quote? Time spent with cats is never wasted. If it’s good enough for Freud it’s good enough for me.

  10. Helen permalink
    November 6, 2018

    Lovely boy! Glad he’s settled in well…and showing who’s boss!

  11. Allison permalink
    November 6, 2018

    He looks very pleased with his new digs.

  12. Helen Breen permalink
    November 6, 2018

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, true Schrodinger is a beautiful cat with his lovely white bib and white socks. Long may he reign in Spitalfields…

  13. lyn wills permalink
    November 6, 2018

    a beautiful article about a beautiful cat. long may schrodinger be happy

  14. Virginia Heaven permalink
    November 6, 2018

    Good to know he has settled in to his satisfaction, and yours.

  15. Wendy Jones permalink
    November 6, 2018

    What a magnificent portrait of this stunning cat. The “Sphinx” pose says it all: ” I’m here, accept me as I am, respect me at all times, know I’m happy in my new home!”

  16. mlaiuppa permalink
    November 6, 2018

    Sounds as if Mr. S. had decided that you are in need of his particular set of skills. As payment he will consent to being brushed and pampered all over, food on demand and will choose the choicest locations for his relaxation.

    How gracious and magnanimous of him to allow the neighbor’s house cats to retain their present abode.

    The Ancient Egyptians used to worship cats as gods. Cats have never forgotten this.

  17. Julian Woodford permalink
    November 8, 2018

    ‘Like some latter day Joseph Merceron’! It never occurred to me there was a feline version of ‘The Boss of Bethnal Green’, but now I see it – Schrodinger is ‘Top Cat’!
    (or is he Thomas O’Malley?).

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