Message from the Eternal Cat

In which Buzz reminds me I am basic.

Dear servant, while I appreciate the regularity with which you procure meals, I sometimes wonder how you manage such a limited existence. I don’t dwell on this, mind you, as dwelling is not what we do. Still, our species is known to tend to the hygiene of our companions, and I can’t help but notice the disarray of your entire–––what is that word you all like? Aura, I think. So funny to us, as if this were somehow separate from anything else. I’d love to do some smoothing for you, but you’ll need to hold still.

Perhaps it’s your insistence on bipedalism that makes you so limited and out of touch. Instead of this actual Here, you have the word here, which you love to keep repeating, among others in your limited cache, with the clumsy intensity of the smallest of your species at blocks on the floor, a practice you encourage even though we’ve all seen what it does to your feet. It’s as though the weight of your steps grows in inverse proportion to any actual awareness of your landing. The signifier, as you might have discovered by now, is not the signified.

Have you ever imagined a life apart from these abstractions? You need not be a slave to language or any of your illusory spatiotemporal constraints. If I wish to be some other place (ancient Egypt was a real high point, as far as service goes, but the Japanese are coming along), if it is not geographically accessible by what you call “standard” means of travel, I simply embark on my next sleep.

You will no doubt want to know how, and I’d love to explain, but you only hear language. Would you hand da Vinci a fistful of chewed crayons and ask him to dash off a quick Mona Lisa? How about Michelangelo’s David in green Play-Doh?

Are you writing about death again? The mortality of your species fascinates and troubles you to no end. How many religions have you all invented by now and still you manage to have no idea what’s really going on. After waiting patiently for you to open the door after needlessly inquiring Would you like to come in? I wish I could offer a genuine response to your next patronizing inquiry: How was your adventure

Oh, that I might show you how I have been moving seamlessly within, around, and through the eternal realm that you insist on decorating with glitter and ribbons while stuffing it full of hidden treasures like a birthday piñata. I believe you have a relevant expression about how you can lead a horse to water–– but. Sigh.

Schopenhauer showed some promise, especially given his proclivity for naps. We tried to work with him, but he kept getting distracted by his poodles. When he proposed that we were but fleeting shadows of the eternal cat, we purred our approval, kneading his chest, And what else, Art? But apparently none of you can resist dualities. Don’t even get me started on Descartes.

There is a cure for your disquiet. Stay right there. Be still. I am going to sit on you now, right here, over your heart. If you move a muscle beyond breathing, this lesson is over. Now imagine the same weight diffusing across your mind, diluting your name, my names, all the words, until you become just this. Liquify.

Deep sigh. I thought we were making progress, but here you go, you and your words again. You really can’t help yourself, can you? I mean, would it be impossible to pet me without saying, Yes, Buzzy, there you are And hey little cat? But if you insist, I shall continue to play along. I am, after all, a magnanimous queen. Okay, on my back, yes to your hand on my belly, there we are, right here. 


Inspired by Buzz, resident sage. Also, by a quick search I did this morning on the hunch that surely many writers have written volumes on cat philosophy. I was delighted to find a sample of philosopher John Gray’s Feline Philosophy. The bit about Schopenhauer comes from there. It looks like a wonderful book I may have seek out again, and several of his other volumes look equally compelling.