Two Orange Cats at Play

It’s high time for a new post from me. I don’t know how it will come out: I haven’t been at my best lately, to be frank. My spirit feels like it is as thin as gossamer. But, the good news is that this is a piece of writing which I have been wanting to get out for a long time now. It is about two felines, but the themes carry over into humankind, too. You will see what I mean, I believe.

There were two young, orange cats I witnessed this one night, under the big tree in the back yard – the one with the flood light high in its branches. I sat in the front seat of my mom’s Jeep; I think I had just come back from somewhere and was collecting my thoughts, or I had seen these two spry, sleek young orange cats – I believe they were brothers or sisters; they were having such a wildly blissful time there on that lawn, on an early summer/late spring, pleasantly-cool night. There was just something about them (that “something” is what I want to capture and describe – and in this moment, that “something” was more palpable than usual, more so than most of my observations/memories I have ever wanted to write down. There was such a freedom and wildness, yet also such innocence (if such a thing can be said for a cat). They were almost childlike … and I remember it was something about the prolongment of their play which impressed me: they just kept going, and going: a quick tussle or romp on the lawn under the lights wasn’t enough, they had to prolong it as long as possible, defying any worldly rule that sequesters joy. There was no victor overall; no bitterness or revenge from one to the other when the one was bested physically, with an especially limber,  quick and ferocious takedown. If I remember correctly there was a palpable sense of grace and sympathy in the jubilant wrestling match.

They were evenly matched, however; but of course there was one which was more fit for fighting, and it struck me that this one was the purveyor of grace – it must have been – for the play-fight went on seamlessly for so long! All under that flood lamp, with no one watching but the under-lit boughs of the great tree, sloping down from the trunk out of inky blackness; and myself, sitting silently in the front seat of the Jeep, my mind joyfully tossing and tumbling and leaping with the thin, sleek, twisting bodies. … What is key about this scene was that I am pretty sure these were stray cats, born in the wild. I saw one of them later, and it was clearly almost surely feral. I saw it a month or two later, and the feralness seemed to be taking over him. He was laying on his side on the lawn, exposing his belly unwisely (for the wild). I was able to pet him a bit, but just barely. It wasn’t comfortable with that, exactly. It’s so sad to think how naive and innocent it was just a month ago; how completely lost in the wonderment of living he was. Then he may have been alone, no brother in arms, and the knowledge of the cruelness of reality beginning to weigh down on him. No more unbridled frolicking of joy and jubilee with its brother: no more free, pure streaming of life, when its spirit and body were completely in unison, and completely alive.

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