• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 08


‘It behoves us-’

The preacher pauses for tails to calm and murmur-purrings among the gathered crowd to subside.

‘It behoves us, brethren,’ he continues, ‘to remember those who we consider less advantaged than ourselves.’

‘To remember,’ he repeats the word slowly for effect, pauses again and is rewarded by the feeling of shared electricity passing through the fur on the backs of the multitude.

‘To remember those who roam the streets in the small villages of the south, those whose bed is hard, whose life simple.’

The preacher’s tones are low and silkenly seductive. They ripple through the assembled audience. The cats blink. They are all listening. It is more aphrodisiacal than the finest essence of anchovy, but the preacher forces himself back to his subject.

‘You and I,’ he looks around as ruffs and gowns rustle, ‘have taken the advantages offered by the indoor life. But I say this to you. We are all one beneath the fabric on our backs. So I ask you this. Remember those of our tribe who live in another place and in another fashion. For we are all warmed by the same sun, and what we share is greater than that which divides us. What more profound pleasure in the evening, for every cat, than to take his or her place stretched out on a stone wall that has soaked up the heat of the day? The Mighty One provides for each of us in this way. Take your place in the sun. Take the proffered mouse. Receive what you are given with humility, and a grateful heart.’



As the preacher draws to a close the cats turn to one another and pass comment, some in softly purring agreement, others hissing dissent. As for the one who has addressed them, he moves silently from the picture and enters the house where a dinner of meat and rich gravy is set out for him on a silver salver.