In this part of the world, cats were big news last week. Yep, domestic moggies made the headlines. For the benefit of the Americans, let me explain. The first story came from the UK where a woman put a cat in a wheelie bin. She was caught on CCTV and later apologised. However she qualified her apology by saying “it was only a cat”. The second story concerned a moggie from Malahide in North Dublin who decided to board the DART (rapid transit system) at her local station and travelled into the city. There was taken into the care of the DART staff who tweeted her story and her family were located and a renunion was arranged.

But back to our lady in the UK – “only a cat” she said. As if there was such a thing as “only a cat.” Cats are sublime creatures. I know. I have shared my life with cats since the day I was born, quiet some time ago. The cat heritage comes down my maternal line. My mother always lived with cats; I must find out if my maternal grandmother did too.

Anyway the point is, I know cats. I understand them. And they are magnificent creatures. I don’t know who it was that said “I have lived with many Zen Masters, all of them cats” but he was bang on the money. I currently share my home with four felines, some more Zen than others. But each one of them contributes to a laid back, informal, comfy energy in my home, that I could not achieve alone. Sure they also contribute to cat hairs everywhere but so what. If they could talk, they would say “chill out, its hair. It don’t stain”

My cats desport themselves all over my house. Each has their own favourite spot. In the morning they find puddles of sunlight to recline in and as the sun dissappears they seek out the heat of radiators and hidden pipes. One in particular likes the Hot Press. The lend the whole house an air of languid uselessness in a way that no scented candle or soft music could ever do.

Often I explode in the front door, laden down with bags, harrassed and mithered, only to be met by the sight of Fat Cat stretched out on the hall chair, catching the sunlight. He opens just one eye to acknowledge my presence. Above his head is a giant thought bubble which says “what’s the fuss? Chill woman!” in a voice reminiscent of the old Caramel Bunny. Then he drifts off back to cat dreamland and I arrive into the kitchen wondering which of us is the more evolved species.

But it only an inexperienced cat woman who thinks that cats sleep all day. Sure they sleep a lot but cats have another habit which occupies many hours in the day. That’s looking out the window. They ponder the weather and also take huge interest in the neighbours movements. What are they thinking about as they gaze out the window, I wonder.

Cats are mysterious creatures. They live in two worlds. This one and the other world -the unseen world whose energies they pick up regularly. Ever seen a cat staring at a stop high up on a wall or on the ceiling. They are in touch with things we only imagine. They are endlessly curious, as demonstrated by the Malahide Moggie on the DART. We also had an adventurer. Tiger, our matriarch cat, took off when she was in her teenage years and was gone for 3 months. We had her dead and buried when one day she wandered back into the kitchen, not much the worse for wear for her expedition.

But the very best thing about living with cats is that point when you gain their affection. Unlike dogs, whose love can easily be bought, cats are aloof and independent. So that when they decide they like you, it is the most precious and wonderful gift. Once you obtain the love of your cat, you have a friend for life. A soft, warm, wise and comforting cat. “Only a cat” indeed, as if there was such a thing!

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Writing and Talking.... on the radio, on the telly and in the papers. Debut book out in Spring 2022

22 thoughts on “ONLY A CAT?”

  1. Oooh you're almost convincing me to like them!! You make them sound fabulous and myserious, oh cat-woman of the burbs! A lovely post as usual. Maria xx

  2. Bravo! Bravo! People say such horrid things about cats and it pains me so. It always seems a cat lover is in the position of constantly having to defend cats because of their crimes of not-fetching and not-playing-dead.

  3. Poor cat in a wheelie bin, people are so cruel.
    I have only ever had a one-seventh share of a cat but I can understand their attraction and serenity they provide.

  4. I love cats but unfortunately my daughter is highly allergic. Or I would have one gracing my home. That woman who tried to throw away a cat must be a horrible person to do that to any living creature. I will kill flies and mice however.

  5. I loved reading this – you have totally hit on why cats make a house a home – especially that last paragraph 'when they decide they like you'. It is a terrific feeling, isn't it? And I also love that picture – what a fantastic ginger cat! He or she obviously decided that was the perfect spot for a nap-attack.

  6. I always had cats but now am allergic…all were grand but the last one. He was just plain mean. He lives in a barn at a horse farm now. We hope he's happy. We are! I have a dog – Hoagy – who is not a Zenny. He's a Christian Scientist, I believe. My chickens are atheists except for the rooster, Jackmo, and he fancies himself a Pantheist with a Druidic undertone…Jan Morrison

  7. Totally agree about the wonderfulness of cats! A cat took up residence with us seven years when we moved in and she's wonderful – she has an unbelievable understanding of Murray and will allow him to do anything with her – the rest of us she barely tolerates and will claw at will. But we love her so much for her understanding and patience with Murray!

  8. “I keep my readers entertained when writing blog posts.” This is what you said on my latest post where I asked the question, Is blogging really writing. Well, it IS writing, and excellent writing, in your hands. This post has kept me entertained and interested. And it recalls memories. My youngest daughter LOVES cats; she has three. She also has two adorable jack russell terriers. I have come to like dogs; these two are so lively and loving. Yes, cats seem aloof, but you have captured their spirits so well here. My daughter Jen loves cats the most; she had a Silver Persian she just loved. She called him Perseus and also Babby. She had to give him up when my husband and I divorced and we moved east; she'll never forget him.
    Oh, the cat stories! Thank you for a great post!!

  9. It's quite shocking how cruel that woman was, imagine if she had children? Imagine if no one knew what she did.

    I enjoyed your post but at the same time – cats? No, never! A particular episode of Tales of the Unexpected put me off for life!

  10. I couldn't believe it when I saw it on the news. Putting a cat into a wheelie bin? Seriously, some people! However, while I do like cats, I'm more of a dog person, I think.

  11. Hello friends.. I am back from a little break in Kilkenny (again) and catching up with blog posts etc. Well glad to see that this 'Cat' post hit such a nerve with many!

    Hi Maria – thanks for liking my post altho I know you reserve judgement on cats!
    Hi Jacky and Cee – think I am preaching to the converted with you guys.. cat lovers always welcome at my kitchen table (once you shoooo off the cats!!!)
    Brigid – you own one 7th of a cat – explain?
    KarenG – not surprised you like cats.
    Hi Jayne – glad you like the photo – that is Pasqua – a shy and delicate soul. He had a rough childhood with a bad car accident which has left him with a crooked mouth and gimpy leg but he is a sweet heart!
    Jan – what can I say! A Christian Scientist dog and atheist chickens – there is a story there!
    Hi Clive – welcome back from your travels. Cats are so tuned into people's energy. So not surprised your moggie is great with Murray! Cats deal with people's souls and hearts!
    Hey Ann – thanks for commenting – so nicely!
    Padraic – totally true about Cats. They know they are wonderful!

  12. Hi Talli – yep but I kind of feel sorry for that woman now. She was almost public enemy no 1 in the UK where I have to say you love your animals!
    Hi Susannah – and how are your moggies? I miss their adventures on the bus. Do they?
    Niamh – I am sorry you were put off cats. But then again I think some visitors to my home were put off cats by meeting mine!
    Olive – does the world break down to cat people and dog people? Think it mite. Love my dog but dont think I would live without cats!

  13. I found my way here via Ann's blog – and Karen G's too (I think) – anyway we have a few blogs in common so I've started following yours – drop by mine if you like and follow if you feel like it! I read your article in the Irish Times (the Leaving Cert letter) and it was lovely and very true – to date only had sons fly the nest but teen daughter gone into JC will be off in a few years (less if she gets her way and avoids TY!)
    As for cats – had one as a kid but got allergic and now we have a great dog, big foolish lab cross with lots of energy. As for the cat woman in UK, she spawned a few spoofs – best one was on Facebook from a Tipp fan – putting a Kilkenny cat in the bin!
    Have a look.
    All the best, Catherine.

  14. Love this post!! I have 3 wonderful cats and I wouldn't change them for the world. We have just got a new puppy so it is lots of fun in our house atm!! Love the blog too btw 🙂 xxx

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