Friday, May 16, 2008

Jellicle Cats?

I still find it hard to believe that T. S. Eliot, the poet who penned the line “April is the cruelest month” wrote whimsical poems about jellicle cats and practical cats and what-not-cats. Here are a few lines from Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (also quoted in a previous post):

Practical cats, dramatical cats
Pragmatical cats, fanatical cats
Oratorical cats, delphioracle cats
Skeptical cats, dispeptical cats
Romantical cats, pedantical cats
Critical cats, parasitical cats
Allegorical cats, metaphorical cats
Statistical cats and mystical cats
Political cats, hypocritical cats
Clerical cats, hysterical cats
Cynical cats, rabbinical cats

So, as I mentioned before, I’ve been musing about what sort of kitty category Mittens, the chocolate point bi-color Siamese living in my apartment, might fall into.

Mittens certainly isn’t practical or pragmatic, and she’s definitely not dramatic or fanatic (except maybe about food). She doesn’t meow enough to be considered oratorical, and I doubt that she’ll go to Delphi any time soon. Well, she does seem to orate a bit when she’s hungry.

Now, my late cat Saki was definitely an orator. She had a great vocal range and could meow for hours, expounding on the virtues of value-added meals and extra layers of padding around feline bellies.

Mittens, on the other hand, is more of a mime. She excels at making her point by sitting forlornly by her empty food bowls with her head drooped.

I must say that she is rather good at predicting her feeding time so in that sense she might be an oracle. Oh wait, she doesn’t actually predict—she creates her own time-table for meal times.

Mittens may be a bit skeptical, but not dyspeptic—she’s not particularly morose. She’s definitely not romantic, pedantic, critical, or parasitic -- except in the sense that she gets fed and gets all her needs taken care of without lifting a paw.

She’s shown absolutely no interest in politics -- doesn’t give a hoot about Obama, Clinton or McCain. As long as she gets her food (her current favorite is chicken with herring Wellness cans) and her treats (freeze-dried chicken meat), she doesn’t care whether it’s a Democrat or a Republican in office. (Note: Mittens has recently been re-named Muttonchops.)

Similarly, the only religion she’s interested in is being religiously fed. Like all cats, Mittens is utterly self-serving. But at least she’s not cynical about anything and she’s never been guilty of manipulating stats so she doesn’t qualify as a statistical cat.

But she does seem to enjoy dipping her paws into allegories and metaphors without getting too far into mysticism.

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