Friday, September 01, 2006
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we've never stopped worshipping cats since the days of Sun Ra!
Let's face facts, friends. Any creature that can sleep 20 hours a day and then expect you to feed it and clean up after it is expressly superior to you. Any questions?
These pretties were recent fosters. They've both been adopted. I had about a week free of all kittens, and then the Animal Control gal called with another litter. Four this time.
So off I go to the pound, where I find a cat carrier that seems to be empty, except when you try to stare into it, and then it comes alive with hissing and spitting and pathetic growling. I bring the carrier home, open it, and extract four balls of biting fire who look like they'd eat me if the size issue suddenly reversed.
I place the little wretches into a coop and get my first look. And just like those pictured above, these are awash in cat colors, works of art.
There must be a bored goddess, name long forgotten, whose job it is to paint cats.
I'm not talking about those nutcase people who slather their poor pets with purple and magenta acrylics. Nor am I talking about the equally challenged folks who dab their cats' feet with paint and then urge Fluffy to leap at an empty canvas. Those are clearly mortals. Thank goodness.
I'm talking about the Divine Presence who begins each morning with thousands of pure white cats and turns them into the dazzling array of colorful varieties that enliven our lives.
This goddess paints cats. Only a few squeak through with their white coats intact. (Sorry about the word choice, mice!) The others get dips and dabs, zig-zaggy lines across their faces, dappled ears. The cat-painting goddess tends to miss a lot of bellies. They'll sometimes be white even when the rest of the puss is well turned out.
I imagine that some days the Goddess of Cat Paint gets to feeling sorry for herself. Once upon a time she probably had a respected name and a huge praise and worship team. Now she's as anonymous as a graffiti artist, perhaps even more so.
When she gets low, the goddess turns on the conveyor belt and cranks out ordinary tabbies. You know the ones I mean. Generic striped cats in brown or gray, the kind you see sitting forlorn at PetSmart while the pretty kittens get adopted first. You wonder why there are so many of these "plain Janes" until you see one at work.
My cat Beta is just such an assembly-line product, and she caught a mouse the other morning with one paw tied behind her back. The daft little rodent never saw her coming. Tabby stripes are the perfect camouflage, assuring that some cats will survive the Rapture and keep right on rockin', even after the Friskies run out.
Thank you, Goddess of Cat Paint, for my generic tabbies, Alpha and Beta.
Sometimes I think the Goddess of Cat Paint takes an afternoon off and turns her paints over to the faeries. How else can I explain the kittens brawling at my feet? They look like Jackson Pollock flung cat paint at them from across the room. Random splotchy-blotchy, streaks of gold, flashes of white, chunks of ordinary tabby. They're Postmodernist felines. I imagine a respectable baby bunny would see their neon madness a block away, with plenty of time to hop to the shelter of the nearest honeysuckle hedge.
But of course the Goddess of Cat Paint knows what she's doing. These oddball paint-jobs are the ones we all coo over, cuz they're so damned cute, and off they go to a life of satin cat-cushions and Fancy Feast.
The cat at Woodstock Trading Company is all white with just a tiny smudge of gray right above her nose. You can almost see the Goddess of Cat Paint reaching down and just scritching a white nose for a fraction of a second.
So, the next time you heft a boot to throw at the loud tomcat on the back alley fence, remember that he got those yellow stripes from the Goddess of Cat Paint.
Where, you ask, did he get his bad toilet habits, scary singing voice, and poor sense of family planning? Why, that's all Intelligent Design, of course.
THE MERLIN OF DREARY BERKELEY SPRINGS