Saturday, September 22, 2012

Paws for Reflection

Yo. My name is Tolkien, and yes, I hold you in disdain. Hey, I’m a cat. It's in my job description.

Week after week, my human neglects me while she putters around on this stupid blog. She should be brushing my fur, rubbing my belly, and—of course—feeding me! But oh no, she’d rather read some silly book or write some silly blogpost. Silly = book or blog without cats.

My pet human

So this week, I’m taking matters into my own paws. I’m gonna write the blinkin’ post. How hard can it be? Okay, the shift key is a little tricky.

My topic? 

Cats in story and myth. Duh. But where to begin?

Where better than with the Cheshire Cat, in Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll? When Alice asks which way she ought to go, the cat sagely replies, "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to." His best trick is appearing and disappearing at will--a talent all cats possess to some extent. At one point, he slowly fades until only his haunting grin remains. He’s arrogant and obnoxious. He’s my hero.

The Catwings books, by Ursula K. LeGuin, are about cats born with--wait for it--wings! In Catwings, the cats fly away from danger in the city, only to find other dangers in the country. The series continues with Catwings Return, Wonderful Alexander and the Catwings, and Jane on Her Own.  Flying would be so cool. The expression on Miss Mousie’s face? Priceless!

The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss, clearly illustrates the relative cleverness of cats and humans. Two human children are home alone and bored. (So pathetic. Why don’t they just chase their tails?) It’s up to a visiting cat to entertain them by balancing a teacup, a glass of milk, a cake, three books, a goldfish, a rake, some toys, and his umbrella while he dances on a ball. This clever cat appears in six Seuss books.

The intelligence of cats is again recognized in The Cat Who… mystery series by Lilian Jackson Braun. These books--with titles like The Cat Who Moved a Mountain and The Cat Who Saw Stars--feature a news reporter named Jim Qwilleran and his Siamese cats, Koko and Yum-Yum. (Yum-Yum? Whatever.) The cats "dig up" clues to help solve mysteries. In an exemplary display of overindulgence, these cats are fed lobster, salmon, and crab. Required reading for all cat owners.

And then there’s Crookshanks, the true hero of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. After all, it was Hermione’s kitty who sniffed out Ron Weasley’s annoying pet rat Scabbers, the rat who turned out to be none other than the notorious Peter Pettigrew who betrayed Harry’s parents to their death. (But even to other cats, Mrs. Norris--Filch’s cat--is gag-on-a-hairball CREEPY. Petrification was a big improvement.)

Puss in Boots, a classic French fairy tale, shows once again that humans are helpless without their cats. In this story by Charles Perrault, a cat uses his feline wits to get wealth, position, and a princess for his penniless master. Although why he needs all that stuff when he's got a cat, I'll never know. 

It’s almost time for me to resume my life of pampering and privilege, but I must mention one other cat of legend and lore: Aslan—the great lion in The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis. Aslan is the very model of majesty and amazingness. Best of all, he’s not a tame lion.  And though he is the greatest cat of all, he still looks at us and says, "Us lions." How cool is that?

Hark! Is that the heavenly anthem of food falling into my dish? Okay, I’m out of here. And really, what’s the big furry deal about blogging? All you need is the right subject. Duh.

That was easy. Let's eat. Duh.


  1. Glad to see Mr. Tolkien the Fuzzy making his blogosphere debut! Cats are truly a higher and enlightened species. ;)

    1. At last--a human with wits enough to recognize the superiority of cat-kind. Please come feed me. I've only eaten twice today, not counting snacks. I suffer so. Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

      --Tolkien the Terrible