Saturday, September 4, 2010

A royal cat

The humans in Tatum’s house talked a good bit about what classic looks he had, kind of like the statues and paintings of ancient Egyptian cats.  Even Ursula commented sometimes on how regal he looked.  Tatum never replied to these comments, but he knew the truth.  He was descended from the royalty of cats. 

Tatum hadn’t lived with his cat mommy long, just two months.  The human who she lived with decided that she really couldn’t take care of a litter of kittens, and didn’t have time to find homes for them, so she had taken them to the SPCA, where she promised they would find good homes.  They did, but unfortunately it had taken nine months for a good family to find Tatum. 

When his cat mommy realized that the kittens were to be taken to the SPCA she sat them all down and told them they needed to listen to her carefully, as she was going to tell them about their heritage.  Telling an entire litter of eight week old kittens to listen carefully is a lost cause.  Three of them immediately wandered off because there was a rumor of a mouse in the kitchen and each thought he or she would be the kitten to catch it.  As if.  The mouse would be half the size of the kittens, most likely, and scare them away.  Tatum and Daisy sat and looked expectantly at their mother, though.  They were the two kittens with some sense, their mother thought.  They didn’t just rush out without thinking.  These two could go far, so if anyone should know their heritage it was these two. 

“Tatum, Daisy, you are both descended from the royal cats of Egypt.  As you get older, you will see how your heads are delicately shaped, your necks are thin and long and your long tails are your glory.  These are marks of your royalty and how you have been touched by the gods.  You are not only descended from those ancient royal cats, but of the actual cats who were beloved of the cat god Bast and who lived at her temple. 

“People came from all over the world to worship Bast or just to participate in the festivities.  Although the cats at the temple were sacred, some revelers stole cats to take home with them.  That is how we came out of Egypt in the early common era.  We were taken to what is now France, and lived there for many generations.  As our ancestors multiplied we spread throughout France, and eventually one of our ancestors was brought to the New World before the revolutionary war.  One of your foremothers assisted Molly Pitcher by tending to her wounded husband while she manned his cannon after he fell.  The brave cat kept the vermin swarming the battlefield from settling on his wounds, and alerted the one medic when he needed attention. 

“The cats in our lineage are unusually loyal to their humans.  Once they have found a family with whom to share their lives they remain with them despite illness, famine or disaster, assisting the family whenever possible.  Bast blesses us and our human families, but only if we ask her help.  So kittens, be very aware of your human families, so you can help them when it is needed.”

Little Daisy looked confused.  “What do you mean we are touched by the gods?  I’ve been touched by the humans, does it feel like that?” 

“No, Daisy.  When I say we have been touched by the gods, I am talking about how we still have the bearing of our ancestors, no matter our mating.  The colors of our kittens may vary, but they are always short-haired with delicately shaped heads, long necks and long tails.  It is also seen in how we can summon Bast’s help for our human families.  Most cats can do no more than catch vermin.  We can do so much more.”  She went on to describe the secret invocation to Bast that only her descendents can use.  She then carefully groomed Daisy and Tatum to prepare them for their journey to their new homes. 

Tatum still felt sad when he remembered that day, as he never saw his cat mother again.  It also marked the start of his long nine months at the SPCA.  Happily he did finally find a human family with whom to share his life.  And as his mother had said, he was intensely loyal to them, even the noisy kid.  Thus far he had not needed to appeal to Bast on their behalf, but he was quite prepared to do so when needed.  Nothing was too good for his human family. 

Image courtesy of Felipe De las Heras -

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