The gratitude of the Visiting Kitten: a thank you

All you cat lovers, remember all the millions of cats mewling through the world’s rooms lay all their hopes and trust in you, as the little mother cat at the Stone House laid her head in my hand, as Calico Jane put her babies in my suitcase, as Fletch jumped into James’s arms and Ruski rushed towards me chittering with joy.
William S. Burroughs, The Cat Inside (1986)

A little over a year ago, my friend Andrew Paine (of Sonic Oyster Records fame et al) and I jointly released a limited edition compilation album, The Continuing Saga of the Visiting Kitten. It came out on our conjunct of a label, Sonic Dust Recordings.
The Continuing Saga of the Visiting Kitten
We promised at the time that all proceeds from this release would be donated to Cats Protection in the UK and I’m so pleased to be able to report that all copies of the album have been sold. After the deduction of manufacturing costs and postage charges, the net amount of £232 has been raised from sales of the album, a very pleasing figure given that there were only 100 copies of the album available and they were sold relatively inexpensively. With the use of Gift Aid for the charity donation, which adds an additional 25% to the amount, we’ve been able to donate a total of £290: wonderful!

Here’s a scan of the thank you letter from Cats Protection (click the image to open a bigger, more easily readable version in a separate window):

Andrew and I would like to thank all the cat-friendly artists who, in addition to the two of us, gave exclusive material for the album (texlahoma/Matthew Shaw, Richard Youngs, Space Weather, Alistair Crosbie and ILK); and can we also thank all those who were kind enough to buy it in the first place: we hope that, as well as the satisfaction of making a financial contribution towards the great work that Cats Protection does, you also found something of value in the compilation itself. You’ve made us very happy that we could make this donation! Thank you thank you thank you! My own cats, Hamish & Bob, two beautiful brothers who were rescue cats from Cats Protection, thank you, too, from the bottom of their kittyhearts.
Hamish & Bob, watchful, but grateful
And we’re talking seriously about curating a second volume to be released later this year, in a different format and with more exclusive material; felinophiles, stay tuned for more!
Donate to Cats Protection
The final plug: if you’re in the UK, you can also make separate one-off or regular donations to Cats Protection here.

“I Am a Cat”

Well, I’m not, as a matter of fact, a cat but I have recently been reading a book with that title by the Japanese author, Natsume S?seki, written at the turn of the Twentieth Century.

Originally published in ten instalments in the literary magazine Hototogisu between 1905 and 1906, I Am a Cat is a satire on upper-middle-class Japanese society during the Meiji era, portrayed through the eyes of an “unloved, unwanted, wandering kitten”. And it’s very amusing in a wry, philosophical sort of way; easy to dip into and with a storyline that’s more a string of anecdotes and observations than a rigid narrative structure.

I’m enjoying it; the observations on the superiority of cats over humans are really quite droll, especially if you know even a little of how cats behave; and with it tonight I’m also enjoying some 2000 Long Yuan Hao Yi Wu Mountain raw puerh that I got as a sample from Yunnan Sourcing. Very nice indeed, and my first ever puerh: the smokiness, dried fruit aromas and lasting flavour are quite intense, and not what I was expecting at all.

Okay, so that’s Chinese tea, with a Japanese novel, itself translated into English: but it’s Thursday night and it’s been one of those weeks…

The city of cats and the city of men exist one inside the other, but they are not the same city

The text in the subject of this post is by Italo Calvino, one of my favourite writers.

Why that as the subject? Well, as some of you will know, we have two cats, Bob & Hamish, who’ve lived here since last Summer. These two brothers are by turns acrobatic, majestic, proud, frustrating, adorable, confusing, confused, unreasonably clever, unfeasibly stupid and constantly surprising. And I’ve grown very, very fond of them and their quite different little personalities.

This is Bob…

He is the black one.

…and this is Hamish…

He is the black and white one.

I don’t have too many photographs of them as they tend not to pose well for the camera! But I’ll keep trying.

It now seems strange to me to think I’ll be 36 this year and yet I’ve never had cats before nor any other pets. The last eight months have seen me climb a hugely entertaining if rather steep learning curve, but with Jill’s help I’ve been getting there and now I can’t really imagine Bob & Hamish not being around.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure Calvino was right. I can see the gates of that other city; I just don’t think I’ll ever see inside.