Thursday, September 15, 2011

Response to the Comments

It is no surprise that my fellow cat persons read Oscar's story with a lump in the throat.  I wrote parts of it with tears blurring the letters on the screen. I felt again the sadness of parting with this special boy-cat.  Memories of other dear cats crowded in as well--a quiet spell of melancholy remembering.
My real purpose in sharing the details of Oscar's life and death was to affirm
and honor those who cherish pets, especially cats.
Some years before her death my Mother presented me with a notebook in which I had made an attempt at writing a "cat story." Reviewed from the vantage point of many years and some worthier results in composition, it was an embarressingly clumsy effort, several pages in a penciled round script which suggests I was perhaps 11 or 12 years old at the time.
What I had envisioned as a cute tale of catly doings, sputtered out like a blown candle after I had labored through a description of each of my darlings.
In my late 20's I stumbled upon a number of books authored by cat lovers who were also able writers.
These were/are books intended for adults, and have some literary quality about them. The personality of the feline tribe lends itself to humor, pathos, and some downright wonderful stories.
Michael Joseph's "Cat's Company" was published in England circa 1930, as was his earlier book, the story of his Siamese cat, Charles O'Malley: "Charles, The Story of a Friendship."
These books became available in paperback in the US in the 1970's. 
I still have "Cat's Company"--battered and missing a few pages.
"Charles" must have fallen totally apart sometime during my many moves.
Derk Tangye's "Somewhere A Cat is Waiting" is a 
presentation of several of his cat stories
 first published separately.
Although I don't own copies, Doreen Tovey's cat stories delighted me when I discovered them at a local library when my children were in their early teens.  [Cats in the Belfry and Raining Cats and Donkeys are two of them.]  Ms. Tovey and her husband lived with a variety of animals in Somerset. 
Her description of their cats' adventures is hilarious--I read great chunks of the books aloud--chortling so that I could barely be coherant. Inevitably there are the chapters where the reader's chuckles turn to tears--a part of the process that all pet lovers recognize.
These books come to mind as classics for anyone who loves cats and good writing.
In doing an internet search I discovered, not surprisngly, that second hand copies are
more readily available in UK than in the US.
Just as I cherish the books mentioned [the cats and their owners long gone] I eagerly read the posts which feature those cats of my favorite bloggers--the cats I will never meet but feel that I "know" from  a distance.
And, yes, for whatever it may be worth, I wish that I could offer real comfort when one of you must part with a cherished animal friend.
Pets have such a large role in the lives of individuals and families, their presence
marking the passage of our years.


  1. Beautifully written, MM. Scruffy continues to bring me more joy than I expected. He is such a special cat in comparison with the six or seven we have had in previous years. I think of his passing, he is eight years old, but I will be forever thankful for the time I have had with him and so far it's only about five months.

  2. If you let me know which cat books you are missing, I can look out for them for you in my travels. I had the entire Derek Tangye series at one stage, and let mum have them to read, and then sent them to the charity shop when she could no longer read.

    I remember the Doreen Tovey books too - she had Siamese cats, and that made me want Siamese, but now I think it would have to be a Maine Coone, if I ever had the money to spend on a pedigree cat . . . Honey left a big gap.

  3. When one looses a feline friend, all words of comfort are truely appreciated matter how many hundreds of miles away they come from. I thankyou for thoughtful coments past ...and those to come xx

  4. ah, Derek Tangye, read them too! I will look out for the Tovey books though, living in the west country of UK as I do.
    I couldnt imagine life without cats, and i am blessed to have six special ones at present- My beautiful Merlin, quiet, magical,thoughtful, so loving. Pixie, small but indomitable force of nature.Quick as the wind. Finn, needy, but quirky little man nevertheless,shouts a lot! Sweet Billy, reformed master-killer,ex-ratcatcher extroadinaire, now content to stay close to home. Millie- clan matriarch who rules the roost, and George, mischief personified who enchants all who meet him..

    and not forgetting sammydog, honourary 7th cat sometimes!!!

    Leanne x