Monday 20 September 2010

Cat Power

I loved the story of the woman who's dumped her cat in a fit of rage or ennui. Cats can be annoying creatures at times, so my sympathy to her. She's been vilified by the press and by animal activists as if she had throttled a pensioner in his sleep.

The Guardian
reports that Mary Bale is to be prosecuted "for causing unnecessary suffering and for failing to provide the cat with a suitable environment". He he he.

Sorry, I find this amusing because I come from a country where drowning kittens and torturing and even eating cats is certainly not considered such a taboo. People from Vicenza are nicknamed "magnagati" – cat-eaters. Of course this might well be a legend, but cats are quite scarce on the streets of Vicenza – and I remember people telling me that, during the War, it was commonplace to eat cats in Italy. "They're not bad – they taste like rabbits," an old woman told me once, with a touch of nostalgia in her voice.

OK, this is in bad taste, so I'll stop here.

I love cats, and I have had dozens of cats over the years ("had" as in "owned"). But let's put this episode in perspective, and let's hope the judge shows some sense and does not find the poor woman guilty.

After all, if a rabid cat scratches or bites you, I don't think there's a tribunal where you can bring up felines for crimes against mankind.

And now a sonnet from my Bestiary, in JG Nichols's translation:

The Cat

This is the beast whom most of all I hate:
a glass in which I find myself revealed
a little at a time as I grow old
and see my bourgeois belly rounding out.

A cunning profiteer, she sinks to rest
on someone's useful lap, arrogantly,
to miaow and mew and purr, especially
whenever she has something to request.

She's very careful in her choice of friend:
what point in being fondled and caressed,
if one gets nothing out of it at last?

And, if she tires of stroking in the end,
a swift volte-face is always de rigueur:
she'll bite the hand that feeds, with no demur.

1 comment:

  1. No cat is ever annoying. Only the human who doesn't know how to treat is annoying. As long as we do not see cats or any other animal as our equals we do not deserve to be called human.
    Btw. I am Italian too. You make us look really bad. Thanks.


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