Dulcinea’s Dalliance

Once upon a time, Iago (Iggy for short) falls in love with Cinnamon, who thinks she’s a vampire… but is really a mermaid.

One day their cats begin corresponding online. Starting with a Blog… (from a story by Louisa, Iggy the Suburban Visigoth):

Hey Ho, pussy cats!

Welcome to Dulcie’s Dalliance.

I’m a calico cat, cute as a cuddle. Dulcinea is my name, Dulcie for short. According to Jean Burden, “A dog is prose. A cat is a poem.” Indeed. “See the kitten on the wall, sporting with the leaves that fall.” Wordsworth wrote that. Better still, Shakespeare cited us more than 40 times in his plays. If the internet had been invented in his lifetime, would Renaissance cats have read my Blog? I’m guessing the answer is yes.

Now for some intriguing facts about me: I live with another cat, Djinn (as in Genie). My tail communicates when I’m relaxed, curious, worried, amiable, or cross. By licking Cinnamon’s hands or nose I develop family cohesion. When thrilled, I neigh like a pony or jog like a puppy, with a tinkling trot. If I slow down it’s more of a defiant march. I’m really a fairy-lioness.

Did you know a lion’s roar can be heard up to 8km (5 miles) away? Cinn thinks I sound like a squeezebox doll. Besides, not all cats roar. Or purr. The leopard is one of four roaring cats. The puma purrs, nearly as well as I do. I have other relatives, such as caracals or lynxes, servals (who leap really high), jaguars (who guarded royal families in Mayan civilization), black leopards (panthers), cheetahs (that can reach 70 mph / 112 kph in under three seconds), pumas (who have other names, like cougar, catamount, red tiger or Mexican lion), and ocelots (from the Aztec ‘Halocelot’: field tiger). A pride of lions can have as few as 5 members, or as many as 40. Cinnamon says I wear my heart on my sleeve. Sure I demand affection. Especially if I bear down on Djinn like a tank. However, if you consider the whole situation in context, it becomes clear that most mischief is Djinn’s. She sets me up. She hides behind blinds, springs out of the dark, or sits on benches I can’t reach, with snobby nonchalance that drives me crazy.

Here is a photo of my housemate (or should I say, ‘mousemate’) Djinn, alias Genie:

Still, I’m glad she lets me sleep beside her. Cinn told me that the ancient Egyptians worshipped a cat goddess called Bast. Ancient Greeks changed her from a sun cat to a moon cat, linking her to Artemis. An even older ancestor is Smilodon: a sabre toothed cat of open grassland, who lived 11,000 years ago. The Cheshire Cat, another of my forbears, has a fabulous smile. Did you know that each tiger’s stripes are unique, like human fingerprints? Guess every one of us has distinction. Maybe it depends how long we’re cuddled. Far as I’m concerned, that’s all the time in the world.

Dulcie xxx

Captain Scallywag, Iggy’s cat, quickly made himself Dulcinea’s cyber-confidante:

Dear Dulcinea (may I call you by your full name? It’s so dignified!),

Dally with me any time! I do believe you’re a fairy snow-lioness. Yes, we share a great ancestor, Smilodon, the sabre-toothed cat who looks like me: fierce, proud, wild, with brooding majesty. You mentioned a lot of relatives, across 37 species of wild cats that live in rainforest, coniferous forest, grassland, broadleaf forest, desert, mountains or tundra. Did you know that most of these cats are rare or endangered?

Our local native cat of the Wotjobaluk people, Mityan, fell in love with a star and became the moon. Wonder if that’ll happen to you or me?

Sure, I understand why Djinn annoys you. She sounds like a whining, showy, fussy fidgety-gibbet who fancies herself. If I see her around our place, I’ll chase her for you, ok?

Maybe you know that my job here is pretty important. I look after Iggy. I snuggle, wriggle and perform antics to make him smile, like jumping from the bench to the overhanging stove lid, from there to the highest bookshelf and onward to the curtain rail, where I do a trapeze act for ten minutes before pretending to suffer vertigo, so Iggy holds up a cushion to break my fall. I am always careful to miss it. It’s more effective to ‘accidentally’ land on Iggy’s head.

My next post will be soon. Purr-romise!

Your fuzzy love interest,

Captain Scallywag xxx

Hey Ho, Captain Scallywag!

Sure, you may call me Dulcinea. I’ll still call myself Dulcie. (Anyway, I don’t always come when I’m called. Unless there’s food involved.)

Now, this might seem purr-mature, but if my blog becomes spe-cat-ular, I might call it The Dulcinead. That’s what people sometimes call classic collections of stories, such as The Iliad by Homer, or The Narniad by C.S. Lewis.

Cinnamon finished reading Shirley Jackson’s gothic novel, We have always lived in the Castle. There’s a cat in it called Jonas. Not – as some assume – Merricat (the human protagonist, Mary Katherine). Both are splendidly eccentric, like me. I like writers who can live up to five magical adjectives starting with the letter ‘e’: eerie, eclectic, eloquent, ethereal and ectoplasmic, with purr-mutations of plot like my curly tail.

Sometimes Cinnamon reads aloud. Otherwise I read her mind. I prefer it when she spreads newspapers on the floor; they’re more fun to destroy. Of course, Djinn tries to outdo me! She’s nimble, chasing her toy mouse through the pages. Cinn pokes it through a sandal, so Djinn can see its nose sticking out, flickering. It drives her over the edge. In careful contrast, I rest my chin on folded front paws with a pout, so Cinn thinks I’m feeling neglected, whereas I’m liking the drama, and just don’t want Djinn to know it. Her smugness is beyond bearing.

Always remember: If I’m stubborn, nudge my nose with a catnip cushion snake. It’s almost as fine as cat-grass under our pomegranate. Coming from Calico Maine Coon stock, I trill or chirrup. I can wail too, more effectively than Djinn – I make life seem so urgent you’d think I’m on the point of death – but it scarcely comes close to my trilling chirrup. Or my happy mumble. Djinn never trills, chirrups or mumbles, and her mewing is quieter. Typical! Cinn thinks it’s subtle. I think it’s a wheedling whine. Djinn could do better, but what can we expect? She’s got this “I’m practically Burmese” thing going on.

Tonight, while I’m rolling around, Cinnamon has her face in a madly imaginative novel by Ronlyn Domingue: The Mercy of Thin Air. It’s expanding her notions about life Between. That is, before the Beyond. More impressions soon! I have to chase a bee first. Well, ok, it’s a mouse. I just thought a bee sounded more challenging. This is the only game where Djinn and I really cooperate. We sit facing each other instead of bum to bum, or me with my bottom sticking out of the rosemary bush.

Dulcie xxx

Captain Scallywag couldn’t resist an immediate reply:

Darling Dulcinea,

Princess of Snow-Lions, Lady of the Strawberry Nose and Frosty Fur!

How are your silky ears? Your tibblies? I mean your finger-toes, those sweet little snow-bud paws that pummel, push, prod and pad around the house to the tinkle of your berry bells! I hear you in my dreams… Are your whiskers in the resting position, pointing downward?

Do your humans know that when you lick their skin incessantly, it’s not because you like the salty taste or the sweetness of their buttery cream, but simply to mark them as your property, to say “you’re mine, I love you”? It’s important they understand such distinctions. They appreciate it. They might even feed you more often.

And do they realise that when you squint your eyes until they’re almost closed, it means you’re feeling content, mellow, trusting and affectionate? It’s the opposite with humans! When they squint it means they’re plotting damage. Or the sun is in their eyes. Then again, if they’re intelligent, they’ll study our body language and participate as we do. Try it sometime and see what Cinnamon does. Pretty sure I’ve got Iggy sorted. Wrapped around my tail. I really enjoy reading your posts.

Did you know that on Mount Etna in Italy, people keep cats as early warning signs of tremours and eruptions?

It’s purrr-ific that you and Djinn found some common ground, even if it is over a mouse. I agree with you that humans don’t know much when it comes to the afterlife, nor any worlds Between or Beyond, let alone Dreaming. Let’s hope they cat-ch on! The Visigoths are certainly leading the pack. Yours for all Eternity and Beyond,

Captain Scallywag xxx

P.S. Emily Dickinson wrote, “Grand go the years, and the crescent above them”. I wonder if that crescent is the moon?

Hey Ho, Captain Scallywag!

This is my last posting of Dulcie’s Dalliance before Cinnamon’s sixteenth birthday. Summer is here. I’ve started malting and found a great place to sun myself in the front room, where Cinnamon’s brother cleared the honeysuckle, hibiscus, jasmine and banana-passionfruit, so I can enjoy the morning sunshine.

I’ve discovered it’s possible for a cat to be a mermaid. Maybe I’m really a mer-cat? We can make the transformation by travelling through the magical Ball of Zshom, which floats out of a full moon. You activate it by sharpening your claws on a fruit tree, sending bats flurrying above you, so that they fly past the moon. Now, once we have gone through the Ball of Zshom, our tail becomes one with our back legs, so we can swim, paddling with our front paws. Forget dog-paddle! Cat-paddle is far more graceful.

Sometimes when I sharpen my claws on a fruit tree, horrible things fall off it, that humans eat. I don’t know what’s wrong with them. I once took a sniff of the stuff and crinkled my nose in disgust. Chicken and fish are far tastier, don’t you think?

This is what I’ve heard the morning star proclaim. It was first seen by mortals in an Inscription on the Royal Tombs of Thebes:

Thou art the Great Cat, avenger of the Gods, judge 

of words, president of sovereign chiefs and governor 

of the holy Circle; thou art indeed…the Great Cat.’

So dally with me, my darling,

Dulcie xxx

My dearest Dulcinea,

Sweet Snow-Lion of Sardathrion, Queen of my heart!

So, no more complaints about your housemate, that pantherlina Djinn? After all, she is a creature of our mighty clan, the kingdom of cats, the Kindle Kindred Kin. Let us all meet one day in the bright halls of Sardathrion, where marble floors shine by your throne! Where spires reach so high, they pierce the floors and roofs of other galaxies; where the River Elderbrook charges toward an estuary by a jetty of jellyfish; where you preen your tail lavishly and languidly! Sure, the Ball of Zshom is a fabulous way to travel by the moon’s magic from one form into another. After all, we are shape-shifters.

Have you ever considered using a different word for ‘paws’, my dear? I call them ‘finger-toes’, or perhaps ‘tibblies’. I think ‘paw’ is an unfortunate homonym for ‘poor’.

I found this passage on a tombstone, after following Iggy to a cemetery:

Once upon a time, Norse ribbon Gleipnir was crafted by dwarfs from the sound of a walking cat. When Mohammed saw his cat  Muezza asleep on his robe, he cut a sleeve in respect. As 17th century Seine flooded in Spring, one cat became so popular scooping fish, Parisians named a street after him:  the Rue du Chat-qui- Pêche. From Egyptian Sekhmet &  Bastet, to Royal Cats of Siam; Welsh King Hywel Dda, to Japanese elopers Koma & Gon; Mityan of the Wotjobaluk, to jaguar guards of the Mayans; Puss n Boots to Bagheera,  Aslan & the Cheshire Cat… these are the emirs of dreams.

Through our dreams, Dulcinea, we find each other. No matter how much we change, I shall recall gazing through the ball of Zshom at your royal Sleekness. Let us take heart in freedom from so much that afflicts humans. We never have to put up with the Smidge train, or the nibbles of Lady Vowel Squash (since we are in fine command of our vowels, meeaaoow being a fine example). We have night vision, and Dream Sight. As they say in Irish legend: “A cat’s eyes are windows into another world.” My eyes linger upon you.

Captain Scallywag xxx

P.S. Captain Scallywag prefers not to make photos of himself public. The only feline pics on this Blog are of Dulcinea and her housemate, Djinn.