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Wednesday, June 28, 2023


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That is an adorable photo Bill. Talk about living in the moment! I assume that these two boys are brothers. If so, how old are they? I have lived with cats, eleven in all, for forty years now, and I can't imagine a life without them. I sense that you too have passed many years in their company and know the uniqueness that each one possesses. Currently, I live with a fat black cat, Rudi, and her sister, a sleek Snowshoe, Pax, sired by a different father, both rescues. They have been with me for the last two years, and given my age, they will be the last of my feline companions. I hope to live long enough for them to pass on before me, for it pains me to think that they would be homeless again.

The cats which lived wild in Fitzroy Square London and inspired T S Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats were also tuxedo cats. (We don't use the Americanism "tuxedo" over here, though). They have now all gone, having been humanely trapped, neutered, and returned to the Square to live out their days untormented by the urge to procreate.

Your cats are very nice - they have that sheen that says "Well cared for".

Yes, Vito, they are brothers from the same litter about 12 years old. And like most brothers they both love and hate each other. Their mutual grooming often turns aggressive, and they compete to see who gets to sleep closest to me. They are delightful, low-maintenance critters unlike dogs, and they have a nobility that dogs lack. You are right that every cat has a unique, if limited, personality.

I have my wife to thank for many things, including introducing me to cats. I like to say that she caused me to acquire Katzenbewusstsein, not to be confused with Klassenbewusstsein When wifey suggested we get a cat, I gave her ten reasons contra, each of which experience has refuted.
There have been seven so far: Mungo, Motor, Maya, Zeno, Caissa, Max, and Manny.

In the '90s at a time when we had three cats, a fourth, a stray, applied for membership. I said No: three's enough. He wanted in so bad! He got in once and jumped on my lap. One day, riding my bike, I spied a dead cat in the road. I tried, unsuccesfully, to convince myself that it wasn't the cat I had refused. I regret my decision to this day. Humans are easy to hate; animals . . .


It was from Eliot's book that I got the name for our first cat, Mungo, shortened from Mungojerrie.

The sheen you mention is in good part due to their never going outside the house. We live in an area in which there are rattlesnakes, bobcats, coyotes, and the occasional mountain lion.

But I never declaw a cat (and disapprove of the practice) and so when I play rough with them they are allowed to get in their licks. Once I got a little too rough with Manny: he sunk his teeth and claws into my forearm and bloodied the whole arm. I was proud of him. He stood up to Big Pussy. But against a bobcat he wouldn't have a chance.

The photo of your cats made me think of a passage from Mark Rowlands, The Philosopher and the Wolf:

“The time of wolves [and cats?], I suspect, is a circle, not a line. Each moment of their lives is complete in itself. And happiness, for them, is always found in the eternal return of the same. If time is a circle, there is no nevermore. And, accordingly, one’s existence is not organized around the vision of life as a process of loss. . .. Where there is no sense of nevermore, there is no sense of loss. For the wolf or dog [or cat], death really is the limit of a life. And for this reason death has no dominion over them.”

I think that there is some truth in this small excerpt from the chapter on this subject, but as a philosopher, you can better judge its merits. In any case, I thought you would find it of interest.

Dogs think they are human.

But cats think humans are defective cats.

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