A couple of nights ago I did something I haven’t done for a long, long time.
I got stuck in a book.
It was The Magicians of Caprona by Diana Wynne Jones. This book has been sitting in a pile for months. I skipped lightly through a couple of pages while waiting for something, and suddenly it got its hook inside me.
I was like an unsuspecting fish being reeled in furiously. Next thing I know it’s 3AM, and all the stuff I planned to do was certainly not done.
You see, this book had a cat in it.
And this cat was Awesome.
In fact, he may be the best book-cat I have ever known (and I’ve met a few - Pangur Ban, for example).
There he stood, politely waving the one beautiful thing about him - his bushy black tail. The rest of his coat had worn to a ragged brown. Apart from the tail, the only thing which showed Benvenuto had once been a magnificent black Persian was the fluffy fur on his hind legs. And, as every other cat in Caprona knew to its cost, those fluffy breeches concealed muscles like a bulldog’s.
I couldn’t help but think of Lord Nelson, recently deceased.
Lord Nelson wasn’t the tough old piece Benvenuto is, but he would no doubt have aged into a cat like that, like a fine wine, if he hadn’t been murdered by the dogs in the school.
No doubt, no doubt.
Benvenuto stated that anyone trying to comb him would get raked with every claw he possessed.
"A brush then?"
Benvenuto said he would consider that.
How I miss the little carpet sausage. (That was the last nickname we had for Lord Nelson before he died. Because he was like a plush carpet stuffed with meat.)
From that time forward, Benvenuto regarded himself as Tonino’s special cat. It made a difference to both of them. Benvenuto, what with constant brushing - for Rosa bought Tonino a special hairbrush for him - soon began to look younger and sleeker. Tonino forgot he had ever been unhappy. He was now a proud and special person.
A sketch of Lord Nelson I did while thinking of the logo for this blog. In the last few months, he would spend all day in my studio sleeping. He never bothered me or made a mess. He was just… there. I think that was when I started to love him. Those hours of silent companionship.
It would be nice to have another cat, one day.