• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 08

Lording It Up

I sit in a band of sunlight, embalming my charcoal fur with an encasing warmth. It flows through me as I bathe, stretching limbs to absorb residual heat from the wooden floorboards. I’m well practiced. A honed professional.

For, I’m a feline. Catty. A descendant of big cats. A fan of tooth and claw.

Naked yet yearning for more: to be clothed as my descendants before me. I eye their Tudor and Victorian portraits cast on the wall, imbuing me with a sense of grandeur. I sense it vibrating firmly in my outstretched paws, performing longer reaches for prestige, but somehow always falling short of it.

So, I’m left.

Bathing in liquid orange sun, I lounge upon peripheries of rooms, methodically searching for myriads of pearly light to coax my chilling heart; I long for it to flutter as it once did: rekindling as an awakened butterfly – one I can cheerfully to chase in wildflower fields with my heartbeat paws.

A female Tudor, nine cousins removed, makes beady-eyes at me, examining beyond her lace neck ruffle, gregarious and over-spilling. I sense a tendril of pageantry in my toasting claws. A link to nobility – long past – but, undoubtedly still burning as a perpetual, nocturnal flame. It has not been dispelled by windy uplifts or puffs of canine breath. It persists. Decadent embroidery bedecks her in a mimicry of other great Tudor queens who held court, regaling courtiers of far-flung stories whilst rotating golden rings, quite mindlessly, upon their fingers of worth – lost in their own visions.


Lording It Up

What must it have been like to be a praised courtier?

I glance at the other portrait. A great, great, great uncle. He boasts, even now, of a finely cut suit, made to measure by the handiwork of a superb London tailor. Prestigious address (of course). A tailor such as he, raked in a plethora of spinning sovereigns, silvered and slithering, from gentlemanly pockets.

His posture in his likeness is one of grandiosity with a stance of the most exquisite finesse: a well-dressed and bred man of the Victorian era. A mentor. That was him: my great, great, great uncle.

Now, in 2023, we no longer parade in gregarious clothing or adornments but have been stripped back: to brazen fur and rising hackles. Long gone is my chance to reign; or to sit for a portraiture as these two ancestors did, so very long before my existence.

I’m naked. Feral.

Yet still my unclothed paws seek the sun. A lover of comfort, that’s me. My feline kind. We just have to temper ourselves now with cream from a milk bottle top, catnip toys, human fussing as lap cats or, the biggest insult, lunch served in metallic satchels from supermarkets. Long gone is the free-flowing champagne and caviar.

How life has changed…

How we have fallen from grace.

A cat’s life.