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Schrödinger In Lockdown

December 25, 2020
by the gentle author

While 2020 has been a time of affliction and strife for humanity, for domestic animals – such as my cat Schrödinger – it has been a year of a different timbre altogether. Those of a cynical cast of mind might even suggest that a cabal of cats and dogs conjured this disaster for the sake of advancing their own well-being.

In 2018, Schrödinger exchanged his role as Shoreditch Church Cat for a new life with me in Spitalfields. It did not take him long to discover the attractions of carpets, upholstery, heating and having his own front door. But since April, he has enjoyed almost constant company enforced by government policy to ‘stay at home and save lives.’

Of course, Schrödinger had already made himself at home. Yet the state of permanent coexistence, imposed by the lockdown, changed our relationship. Rather than leading parallel lives as human and pet, we were now in it together, day and night. He slept when I slept, he ate when I ate and he washed when I washed. He sat on my lap whenever I worked at my desk. Thus our patterns of life became one.

When I lay feverish and weak in my bed, enduring the effects of the virus, Schrödinger stuck with me until I recovered under his benign influence. Leaving the house less frequently, he followed me around all day as my constant companion. Rather than being a diffident observer, Schrödinger became an active participant in our shared routine. Once he sat on the sidelines, now he settled down in the centre of the room. A measure of his sense of domestic security was that he did not flinch even if I walked towards him stretched out on the carpet, because he knew I would step over him.

I suspect that the stillness in the city and lack of traffic in the lockdown extended Schrödinger’s territory for roaming too. Foxes became more evident and, several times in the spring, I observed Schrödinger and a fox cub circling each other round the garden. I could not ascertain whether it was mutual stalking or a game. There was no doubt that the fox felt at home because he began to dig a burrow under one of my tree ferns.

Once the first lockdown ended, I was grateful when the plumbers returned to continue installing a bathroom in my house which was built without any modern facilities. Yet Schrödinger was fearful of their great big boots and, one day, he decided that it would be preferable to follow me out into the city than to remain in the house while the work was done. After crossing the busy road, I was horrified to look back and see Schrödinger come hurtling through the gate to launch himself into the traffic in my pursuit. I ran across in alarm and chased him back through the iron gate, closing it with a loud clang to indicate my displeasure.

For Schrödinger, the state of lockdown is not onerous as it is for humans, it is a pure state of domestic bliss concentrated upon staying at home and being quiet. He recognises no insufficiency in this condition and cannot see any reason to relinquish it.

One morning recently, Schrödinger stumbled through the door, wounded at the neck, leaking blood and dripping with saliva. He was muddy and appeared dazed. Barely able to walk in a straight line, once he found the bed, he fell into a deep sleep. Mindful of Gary Arber’s cat Dusty, who was killed by a fox, I had my suspicions of the cause of his injury. Unwilling to disturb Schrödinger, I decided that if he was no better the next morning I would take him to the vet. For three days, he barely stirred but slowly his spirits rallied. Although I was concerned at the presence of this mystery threat which had been revealed, as soon as Schrödinger recovered his strength, he walked out of the house again to explore.

I had forgotten what a big cat Schrödinger is, unintimidated by the dogs belonging to the homeless people that he knew at Shoreditch Church. In my concern for his welfare, I had not considered what injury he might have inflicted upon his opponent and I believe it is not entirely coincidental that I have not seen the fox in our vicinity since this incident.

Schrödinger walks differently since he recovered. I believe this indicates the outcome of the fight, since he has grown in assurance. He swings his shoulders with a hint of a swagger, like a little puma. He enters the house quickly and runs up the stairs. He gives a nod of acknowledgement when he sees me writing at my desk. Now my house has a bathroom, he sits outside the door washing himself while I take a shower. When I lie down on the carpet in front of the fire on Christmas Eve, he lies down beside me. This is the life of an ex-church cat in Spitalfields in lockdown.

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

29 Responses leave one →
  1. December 25, 2020

    Dear Schrodinger, I would suggest that you stay away from foxes, but perhaps foxes should stay away from you. 😉 Merry Christmas.

  2. December 25, 2020

    Christmas Greetings from Boston, dear Gentle Author.

    Thank you for this lovely telling of Schrodinger in lockdown. He is a wonderful companion in the craziness, even with fox forays. I can imagine his swagger.

  3. John DLC permalink
    December 25, 2020

    Merry Christmas GA- and to all your readers.

  4. Jane Jones permalink
    December 25, 2020

    What a privilege to share your life with such a beautiful chunky chappie. Schrodinger has certainly come along a treat under your care. All the best to you both in 2021 and more Schrodinger stories please?

  5. Jane kilbey permalink
    December 25, 2020

    Just wanted to wish you both a peaceful safe Christmas and thank you for entertaining me every morning with wonderful writing and momentos

  6. Virginia Heaven permalink
    December 25, 2020

    I was hoping for a Schrodinger story for you Christmas! Thank you!

  7. Lesley permalink
    December 25, 2020

    They say that a cat always falls on his feet and Schrödinger certainly has!

  8. Jill Wilson permalink
    December 25, 2020

    Brilliant stuff, and great to hear how your relationship with Schrodinger is developing so nicely.

    I am also building a different relationship with my new cat Bezzy Q (don’t ask!). I got him from the RSPCA during lockdown having had to put my beloved old cat Potty Purrbright down when she had literally stopped eating for a week with no hope of recovery.

    Bezzy Q was understandably nervous to start with but soon changed when he realised where the regular supply of food was coming from, and who was doing the supplying, and is now blatant in his cupboard love of me. He is also much more openly affectionate than Potty was, probably because of his insecure background and it is lovely to be so appreciated!

    Have a lovely Christmas with Schrodinger – I’ll think of you when Bezzy is sitting purring on my lap.

  9. Nina Archer permalink
    December 25, 2020

    Happy Christmas …. lovely article as ever and my thanks for your daily writings.

  10. Eve McBride permalink
    December 25, 2020

    Wishing you both a very Happy Christmas. Thank you for all your wonderful articles, it is such a pleasure to read them, especially so in such depressing times. Eve

  11. December 25, 2020

    How wonderful to hear from Shrodinger. As we say in French “j’ai un faible pour Shrodinger” since he appeared in your life. Although I also had “un faible” for the unforgettable Mr. Pussy. Foxes in London? Incredible. Merry Christmas to both and thank you for your articles.

  12. Pauline Taylor permalink
    December 25, 2020

    Happy Christmas GA and Schrodinger, keep safe and keep well both of you and enjoy all the companionship that you have found during an otherwise truly horrific year.

  13. December 25, 2020

    You could not have given your readers a nicer Christmas present than this glimpse into Schrodinger’s (and your) life. Discovering your website has been one of the upsides of this year.
    A happy day to both of you from someone who loves London but lives in Lincolnshire.

  14. December 25, 2020

    What a wonderful Love Story! And what a wonderful Imagination of the GA and his Cat sitting in front of the Fire on Christmas Eve. — But please, Schrödinger: beware of the Fox!

    *** MERRY CHRISTMAS! ***
    *** JOYEUX NOËL! ***

    Love & Peace

  15. December 25, 2020

    What a wonderful treat, to hear all about Mr. Shrodinger. Just what I was hoping for!
    Happy Holidays to all, and rumbly purrs from my gigantic black cat Satchmo.
    GA, you are a gem.

  16. Gill Whent permalink
    December 25, 2020

    What a lovely website, I have been receiving your posts for a couple of months and am always amazed by the dedication shown to your area, the people and the history. I am so envious, I live in a village in Kent which sadly seems to have no heart, very little communication or interest in the history of the people or buildings.

    It will take me a very long time to catch up with all the posts, images and articles but have the perfect opportunity during these strange times.

  17. December 25, 2020

    I have to say, I am very glad you have a bathroom now.

  18. Saba permalink
    December 25, 2020

    Schrödinger, In the words of Matisse, during the time that he was confined to his home in a wheelchair, find happiness within yourself for just doing a good day’s work. You’ve found your happiness. You’re one smart cat!

  19. Jane permalink
    December 25, 2020

    Merry Christmas!
    Please give Schrodinger a kiss on the forehead from Vancouver Canada!
    Lots of love to you both,

  20. Judith Haxton permalink
    December 25, 2020

    Happy Christmas to you and Schrodinger !!!

  21. Pamela Traves permalink
    December 26, 2020

    Schrodinger is a Gorgeous Cat!! Merry Christmas Dear Puss!!?????⛄?

  22. December 26, 2020

    Thank you so much gentle author and especially during this difficult time for giving us something to look forward to everyday. Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year.

  23. Amanda permalink
    December 26, 2020

    Dear Schrödinger

    Just a line to say how really fine and healthy you look.
    A sure sign of the true love and care bestowed by your gentle father.

    Your thick coat and tail so lush and shiny. And l am so taken with your birthmark – your white ‘SALVADOR DALI’ moustache.

    You resided in the cold church where my Gt Grandpees wed and l am so gladdened you are no longer there.

    Hoping this finds you quite well following the incident of assault and battery and please pay heed to the clanging gate – do refrain from jaywalking across the main road as we would like to hear more from you.
    Stay home and save lives (yours at any rate)

    Further updates of your feline domestic bliss for us to enjoy in the future will be so agreeable.

    An avid reader
    Amanda x

  24. December 26, 2020

    Schrodinger is a tough London inimitable breed. He is very like Trixie, the Earl of Southampton’s friend in the Tower ( yes, that Earl of Southampton).

    If you Google Earl of Southampton & Trixie you will easily find their lovely portrait.

    He could easlily be her direct descendant if he was born in London.

  25. Jeannette permalink
    December 26, 2020

    Merry Christmas to both of you. Thank you for all you do on behalf of all of us. Here’s to a safe new year, and a sweet and peaceful solstice.

  26. Christine Saunders permalink
    December 26, 2020

    Dear Gentle Author

    I know I digress from the central theme of this story but what were you using for a bathroom as you say that you had one fitted this year?

    Was it an outside or downstairs affair, I am totally intrigued and realise it is an intrusive question – apologies but it is always the stories beyond that intrigue me

    Happy Christmas and a Healthy new year


  27. the gentle author permalink*
    December 27, 2020

    I washed in a bucket for twenty months….

  28. Christine Saunders permalink
    December 27, 2020

    Your new bathroom must feel luxurious after using a bucket for so long, I know mine did…

  29. Catriona permalink
    December 29, 2020

    Dear Gentle Author
    I so much enjoyed reading this, and seeing Schrodinger. I’ve been smitten with him since I first saw him in his Sphinx pose picture. Though on behalf of my little cat (who’s been my great companion this year) I do have to feel happy that he doesn’t live next door…

    All best wishes to you both for health and happiness!

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