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The Consolation Of Schrodinger

April 6, 2020
by the gentle author


I believe most will agree that life is far from easy and that dark moments are an inescapable part of human existence. When I feel sad, when I feel confused, when I feel conflicted, when it all gets too much and my head is crowded with thoughts yet I do not even know what to do next, I lie down on my bed to calm myself.

On such an occasion recently, I was lying in a reverie and my consciousness was merging with the patterns of the changing light on the ceiling, when I heard small footsteps enter the room followed by a soft clump as Schrodinger landed upon the coverlet in a leap.

I lifted my head for a moment and cast my eyes towards him and he looked at me askance, our eyes meeting briefly in the half-light of the shaded room before I lay my head back and he settled himself down at a distance to rest.

I resumed my contemplation, trying to navigate the shifting currents of troubling thoughts as they coursed through my head but drifting inescapably into emotional confusion. Suddenly my mind was stilled and halted by the interruption of the smallest sensation, as insignificant yet as arresting as a single star in a night sky.

Turning my head towards Schrodinger, I saw that he had stretched out a front leg to its greatest extent and the very tip of his white paw was touching my calf, just enough to register. Our eyes met in a moment of mutual recognition that granted me the consolation I had been seeking. I was amazed. It truly was as if he knew, yet I cannot unravel precisely what he knew. I only know that I was released from the troubles and sorrow that were oppressing me.

When he was the church cat, Schrodinger lived a public life and developed a robust personality that enabled him to survive and flourish in his role as mascot in Shoreditch. After two years living a private domestic life in Spitalfields, he has adapted to a quieter more intimate sequestered existence, becoming more playful and openly affectionate.

At bedtime now, he leaps onto the coverlet, rolling around like a kitten before retreating – once he has wished me goodnight in his own way – to the sofa outside the bedroom door where he spends the night. Thus each day with Schrodinger ends in an expression of mutual delight.



You may also like to read about

Schrodinger’s First Year in Spitalfields

Schrodinger Pleases Himself

Schrodinger’s First Winter in Spitalfields

Schrodinger Takes Charge

The Loneliness of Schrodinger

A New Home for Schrodinger

Schrodinger, Shoreditch Church Cat




27 Responses leave one →
  1. Robert permalink
    April 6, 2020

    I think cats know when we’re troubled. The fact your distress has been acknowledged is comforting.

  2. Virginia Heaven permalink
    April 6, 2020

    Cats are a great comfort and they do seem to know when they are needed; they veryrarely disappoint.

  3. April 6, 2020

    I hesitate to call Schrodinger a pet as you have eloquently described his working life and independence but it has been moving to witness the relationship that has developed between you since his introduction to the warmth in front of your fireplace. I am so glad Schrodinger is keeping his eye on you and reaching out in his own way to offer you the consolation you need.

  4. April 6, 2020

    Keep safe GA. We need you.

  5. April 6, 2020

    Dear G. A., thank you for letting us know about Schrodinger. He is really splendid in every way, inside and out. A magnificent companion. All my best to both.

  6. April 6, 2020

    Give that cat a tin of tuna! Staunch work, Schrodinger. Cats are amazingly calming in strange times. Our own rescue cat is a great delight. A perfect example of how to hunker down and snooze through.

  7. April 6, 2020

    Under your care, the former church cat is responding very well to secular life. His coat glows and his eyes shine. He obviously repays the care you have invested in him. Blessings to both of you.

  8. Jill Wilson permalink
    April 6, 2020

    I love this post which gives such a good account of the subtle and mutual love and support a cat can give. I trust Schrodinger is doing his bit to console you during the lockdown.

    My cat Potty is loving the extra time I’m spending with her at the moment and we have got into the routine of having an hour or so reading in bed every morning. She has also been ‘helping’ me make a lot of decorative bells which I hope we can use to celebrate the re-opening of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry if and when that ever happens…dream on!

    Or in her case – purr on…

  9. Greta Kelly permalink
    April 6, 2020

    He knows!

  10. lyn permalink
    April 6, 2020

    thank you for that, my cats also seem to be extra affectionate at the moment. both of them need to sit on me and follow me around even more than usual. i wondered if they had come to a pact between themselves that they feel i need more support at this extraordinarily difficult time.

  11. Venetia permalink
    April 6, 2020

    Dear cat. My husband spent half last night looking for one of our cats. She must have got shut in somewhere. She turned up this morning loudly protesting. They are amazing creatures.

  12. April 6, 2020

    So true, those of us with cats will know the touch of a gentle paw works wonders.

  13. Sandra Stewart permalink
    April 6, 2020

    Thank you so much for todays “offering”, a world away from what is happening around the world. Schrodinger is a most beautiful feline – and the words were great. Greetings and stay safe from “the land of the long white cloud” New Zealand.

    PS your book is on my book shelf

  14. April 6, 2020

    You’ve captured it perfectly. The comfort and solace that an animal brings, and the silent eloquence of that beseeching paw.

    Safety and fortitude to both of you.
    With gratitude.

  15. April 6, 2020


  16. Clary permalink
    April 6, 2020

    dear GA, isn’t it amazing how our bond with animals doesn’t require a single word spoken? they truly do know how we feel…thank you for your beautiful posts, and may both of you continue to stay well and safe…all the best from Virginia in the US…

  17. paul loften permalink
    April 6, 2020

    Ah yes! I recognise this gesture. I think it is of great significance. We have had it only once from Whiskey, who was formerly Dewey and was living with an American who was leaving the UK. His personality has similarities with Schrodinger. My son and I picked him up from Neasden around 11 years ago when he was 6 months old. As we left with him in our car after a very emotional farewell with his American carer. He jumped up and looked longingly out of the rear window as we drove off and knew he would never see him again. After a few minutes, he settled in the rear seat and stretched out his paw and gently rested the tip on my son’s lap who was with him in the back seat. A very emotional moment for both him and us “You’re going to take care of me aren’t you ?” I think we have kept our promise to him.

  18. Pauline Pardoe permalink
    April 6, 2020

    Dear Gentle Author,

    I have read your post today with great appreciation and delight. Thank you so much. I have 3 cats living with me. They are such different characters and temperaments. I agree with you that cats seem to have an inner sense of knowing and responding to despair.

    Thank you for your wonderful blog,


  19. marla mazar carr permalink
    April 6, 2020

    Thank you. That touch, that brief flicker of star shine was felt and consoled me across the Atlantic Ocean. Beautiful grace of Schrodinger !

  20. Jean permalink
    April 6, 2020

    I think people who think animals have no feelings have no feelings themselves and certainly
    do not have animals in their lives. I have lost count of the number of times my cats have been there to comfort me,

  21. April 6, 2020

    awww… this is how I got my cat Hodge from the Arvon foundation. I was weaping over a script I was trying to write and he came up to me and laid a paw on my arm. So when they said he needed to be rehomed I immediately offered. He lived with me for 3 very happy years.

  22. Annie permalink
    April 6, 2020

    Thanks for that beautiful essay. Much appreciated.

  23. April 6, 2020

    Animals can be such a comfort, especially in times like these. My three cats have been exceptionally loving the last few weeks. My husband and I have had our laps graced by one of our three more often. They have each cried for attention, a new behavior for 2 of the three.
    Cats have the right skills for a crisis- relax and sleep, eat meals, drink water and find comfort. Glad you have the comfort of a cat, GA.

  24. Eric Forward permalink
    April 6, 2020

    A lovely post, made even more lovely with the warmth and purring of one of my cats, Josie, on my lap as I read it.

  25. April 7, 2020

    Schrodinger is an Angle!! I wish He was mine!!?????✌??

  26. mlaiuppa permalink
    April 9, 2020

    And a handsome fellow he is. It is so joyful to hear that he has settled so beautifully into his new life. I’d say he has finally given up his stress and vigilance and found he can relax, be his true self and enjoy some play and company.

    I know that touch. Not of the feline but the canine persuasion. One of my previous loves would settle on the bed apart from me. But as I drifted off to sleep there would be a touch. As if he had to be apart but also needed to be tethered to me. To be assured that in the dark I was still there and he would know immediately if I were to leave.

    My current dog is not so subtle. She sleeps ON me. Her heavy head is across my lap or she has an arm flung over my leg, almost in an embrace.

    Truth be told, we don’t own them. They own us. Or perhaps we own each other.

    The current shelter in place has been a boon to all companion animals. They have us round the clock, day after day. And we have the time to observe and interact and come to know them better than before. They in turn can teach us to slow down, relax, live in the now and pay more attention to them rather that some abstractions outside our walls.

    I am intrigued by that needlepoint Schrodinger is posing on in the first photo. Is it a rug or a coverlet? Is there a history to it? I would love to see more detailed photos and hear the story behind that particular piece of textile. Or group of textiles that came to be pieced together..

  27. Rick van Hemert permalink
    April 11, 2020

    Thank you for this post. A cat makes you feel beter on days like these.
    I very much enjoyed your book about Mr Pussy last year.

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