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A Cat In The Dog Days

July 18, 2022
by the gentle author

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While Londoners luxuriate in the warmth of high summer, I miss my old cat Mr Pussy who endured the hindrance of a fur coat, spending his languorous days stretched out upon the floor in a heat-induced stupor.

As the sun reached its zenith, his activity declined and he sought the deep shadow, the cooling breeze and the bare wooden floor to stretch out and fall into a deep trance that could transport him far away to the loss of his physical being. Mr Pussy’s refined nature was such that even these testing conditions provided an opportunity for him to show grace, transcending dreamy resignation to explore an area of meditation of which he was the supreme proponent.

In the early morning and late afternoon, you would see him on the first floor window sill here in Spitalfields, taking advantage of the draught of air through the house. With his aristocratic attitude, Mr Pussy took amusement in watching the passersby from his high vantage point on the street frontage and enjoyed lapping water from his dish on the kitchen window sill at the back of the house, where in the evenings he also liked to look down upon the foxes gambolling in the yard.

Whereas in winter it was Mr Pussy’s custom to curl up in a ball to exclude drafts, in these balmy days he preferred to stretch out to maximize the air flow around his body. There was a familiar sequence to his actions, as particular as stages in yoga. Finding a sympathetic location with the advantage of cross currents and shade from direct light, at first Mr Pussy sat to consider the suitability of the circumstance before rolling onto his side and releasing the muscles in his limbs, revealing that he was irrevocably set upon the path of total relaxation.

Delighting in the sensuous moment, Mr Pussy stretched out to his maximum length of over three feet long, curling his spine and splaying his legs at angles, creating an impression of the frozen moment of a leap, just like those wooden horses on fairground rides. Extending every muscle and toe, his glinting claws unsheathed and his eyes widened gleaming gold, until the stretch reached it full extent and subsided in the manner of a wave upon the ocean, as Mr Pussy slackened his limbs to lie peacefully with heavy lids descending.

In this position that resembled a carcass on the floor, Mr Pussy could undertake his journey into dreams, apparent by his twitching eyelids and limbs as he ran through the dark forest of his feline unconscious where prey were to be found in abundance. Vulnerable as an infant, sometimes Mr Pussy cried to himself in his dream, an internal murmur of indeterminate emotion, evoking a mysterious fantasy that I could never be party to. It was somewhere beyond thought or language. I could only wonder if his arcadia was like that in Paolo Uccello’s “Hunt in the Forest” or whether Mr Pussy’s dreamscape resembled the watermeadows of the River Exe, the location of his youthful safaris.

There was another stage, beyond dreams, signalled when Mr Pussy rolled onto his back with his front paws distended like a child in the womb, almost in prayer. His back legs splayed to either side, his head tilted back, his jaw loosened and his mouth opened a little, just sufficient to release his shallow breath – and Mr Pussy was gone. Silent and inanimate, he looked like a baby and yet very old at the same time. The heat relaxed Mr Pussy’s connection to the world and he fell, he let himself go far away on a spiritual odyssey. It was somewhere deep and somewhere cool, he was out of his body, released from the fur coat at last.

Startled upon awakening from his trance, like a deep-sea diver ascending too quickly, Mr Pussy squinted at me as he recovered recognition, giving his brains a good shake, once the heat of the day had subsided. Lolloping down the stairs, still loose-limbed, he strolled out of the house into the garden and took a dust bath under a tree, spending the next hour washing it out and thereby cleansing the sticky perspiration from his fur.

Regrettably the climatic conditions that subdued Mr Pussy by day, also enlivened him by night. At first light, when the dawn chorus commenced, he stood on the floor at my bedside, scratched a little and called to me. I woke to discover two golden eyes filling my field of vision. I rolled over at my peril, because this provoked Mr Pussy to walk to the end of the bed and scratch my toes sticking out under the sheet, causing me to wake again with a cry of pain. I miss having no choice but to rise, accepting his forceful invitation to appreciate the manifold joys of early morning in summer in Spitalfields, because it was not an entirely unwelcome obligation.


You may also like to read

Mr Pussy, Water Creature

At Odds With Mr Pussy

Mr Pussy Gives his First Interview

The Ploys of Mr Pussy

Mr Pussy in the Dog Days

Mr Pussy is Ten

Mr Pussy in Winter

The Caprice of Mr Pussy

Mr Pussy in Spitalfields

Mr Pussy takes the Sun

Mr Pussy, Natural Born Killer

Mr Pussy takes a Nap

Mr Pussy’s Viewing Habits

The Life of Mr Pussy

Mr Pussy thinks he is a Dog

Mr Pussy in Spring

In the Company of Mr Pussy


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11 Responses leave one →
  1. Virginia Heaven permalink
    July 18, 2022

    I love Mr. Pussy stories, but what of Schrodinger? Is he well? Please tell us a Schrodinger story!

  2. Claire D permalink
    July 18, 2022

    What a beautiful cat Mr Pussy was.
    I recently discovered the poem within a poem, For I Will Consider My Cat Jeoffrey, part of Jubilate Agno by Christopher Smart, which I like very much.

  3. Adrienne permalink
    July 18, 2022

    That was absolutely lovely!

  4. Esther Wilkinson Rank permalink
    July 18, 2022

    Always remembering the glorious Mr Pussy! We miss him too.

  5. July 18, 2022

    What a wonderful, sad and so very cat article in memory of Mr. Pussy. No cats is the same although, to people who have never lived with one, they seem to do the same things. Cats belong to a world apart. Is Shrodinger all right? Have a good day.

  6. David Tarrant permalink
    July 18, 2022

    Wonderful piece of creative writing. You are the master!

  7. Helen permalink
    July 18, 2022

    Aw, Mr Pussy was much loved! My old moggie was a big boy, and he liked nothing better than stretching right across the stone kitchen floor, getting everyone’s way (and not moving) in order to stay cool in the summer! How is Schrodinger coping with the heat?

  8. July 18, 2022

    I loved this. How long is The Life and Times of Mr Pussy? Does it have lots of photos? Could I pay for it by a credit card?

  9. July 18, 2022

    Who could deny Mr Pussy anything with THAT expression?

    Love & Peace

  10. July 20, 2022

    A beautiful story of love

  11. Kim permalink
    July 23, 2022

    I still miss him and cried every time l re-read your final missive “So long, Mr Pussy”.

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