CATS GALORE Catalogic 2


Early morning, two days after the longest one, there is total crisis in La Roche. Only a fortnight ago, on that other Longest Day, we celebrated the Allied Invasion of France which rid us of the Krauts, les Boches or what have you. Great day.

Now there is another kind of invasion, if not a tsunami. This time: cats! Instead of one Shandy Grisaille, there were suddenly three cats in my yard. Shandy turns out to be one hell of a proud mother with two kittens. So that’s why, when cuddling her, I had felt these little pinpoints. Tits! Yet, so dry that only looking back could I define them as such. Besides, I am a decent man. So dried out this mother must have been…

And so right had been my British friend who had indeed spotted one of these two cat children some days ago. Catalogical all this.

I instantly collapsed, went straight to bed and put the covers over my head. After two hours in this position my first decision was to pack up, leave a note for the British friend and race back to Haarlem in The Netherlands. Too many troubles on my mind, and now this…

Of course this felt like a coward, not so much trooping my colours as fleeing from them. Thus, in a fit of downright despondency, still in bed and feeling wasted, I phoned my wife in The North. I never use my cell phone, which is only there to check on whether me mum has died, in which case I have to return to The North. Now I was even using the damned machine in bed. My wife is cat wise and I was also in need of some serious support. She gave me unpleasant guidance, counsel I did not expect from her. Perhaps, though, also encouraging this coward.

“Have the mother sterilised; wait a while, then have the two little ones ‘helped’; feed the set and put them out in nature where they will have to fend for themselves; after all, there are millions of wild cats doing the same thing…” So: Buzzard’s fodder…



One of Siné’s cats


After this sermon I turned into jelly. My physical as well as mental condition was not fit to cope with both cats and the wife’s suggestions. So I stayed in bed some more, miserably pondering existence in general as well as mine in particular. I had nightmares while awake, telling myself the story of the Cheshire Cat over and over again, the animal now disappearing in the buzzard’s beak. Then I began to shiver with an outside temperature of 34 degrees Celsius.

Then I began to feed the whole menagerie, having turned into a triple bigamist because Love did befall me. The mother and her two kittens became the centre of my universe. Not, however, without now and then cursing the bastard who must have dropped these three into my hameau because he wanted to go on holiday with his family… I was split in two, not fit for the enormous responsibility, also feeling a victim while at the same time considering myself blessed with these three.

Then, for a full 24 hours, they were gone, not however after leaving my beautiful gravel paths as their cat’s box: shit galore, mixed with those little stones, it won’t take long before I have to order new ones…

Then, still not having seen them, suddenly their food was gone. Somewhat later I hear them eating inside the barn. The mother, however, seems to be lost. That famous mother love appears to be no longer than a finger. Again they have chosen my left shed as their new house. A mystery, those cats – is what they say. I think they’re stupid.

Still, I have to continue with my noisy little jobs, cutting the grass, repairing the mower – and that sort of things. At such moments no cats are to be seen.




The next day I see them peep at me from out of the shed. Four little eyes out of two small furry balls, observing me like I was the Martian. I behave quietly, sit myself in the court yard and have them get accustomed to this customer. Ethology – the study of animal behaviour – is what I wanted to read in university before I finally became a would-be social philosopher.

If they do not come to consider me as their companion, how will I ever ‘catch them’, let only cuddle these awfully nice furry friends?

I feel more and more an animal myself, all is turning into a beastly carnival. Last night, suddenly aware that I did not refresh their water and milk, I went out of bed into the dark night and did so. Back in bed I found that, unwittingly, I had brought back with me a bunch of ants into my bed. Damn them – and the kittens!

That very moment of cursing my new addition to the menagerie I also thought about the fact that since I have become the guardian of my new cats I did not put out new rat poison, this being to dangerous for the little ones. Would I also have visits again from specimens of that species?

What needs to be done is teasing them out of that shed into the garden shed. However, I have now found out that there is a rather large space between the wall and the high cupboard which I installed in there to put away paint, brushes and other stuff. That is where they sneak away when I arrive. I am not able to get behind that cupboard any longer. They have their hide out inside their hide out…

So one day, I shall have to seduce them with food placed further away in the court yard to then, suddenly, make my move, close the shed’s door and barricade it. Christ – my daily existence is now completely determined by either cat activities or cat pondering. I am not myself, have started to think like a cat and thus run the danger of becoming one.

Although, danger? I once wrote that, in my next life, I would not mind returning as a cat. But of such things one thinks while writing, romancing that is.

Their mum, Shandy Grisaille, seems to have gone for good. One fears the worst.

Sierksma 6/30 June 2016


Author: rjsiersk

Sierksma was born in Friesland, a 'county' in the northern part of the Netherlands with its own language which he does not speak and with an obstinate population to which he both belongs and does not belong. A retired Professor of Social Philosophy and Aesthetics, as a Harkness fellow he taught at Rutgers and Berkeley Universities in the USA, and at GUAmsterdam and TUDelft in the Netherlands. In 1991 he was awarded his PhD from Leiden University on the subject of 'Surveillance and Task: Labour Discipline between Utilitarianism and Pragmatism'. His books include Minima Memoria (1993), Lost View (2002 with Jan van Geest), and Litter Scent (2013). He has published poems and articles in Te Elfder Ure, Nynade, Oasis and the Architectural Annual. Half the year he lives in Haarlem, the other half he spends in la France Profonde, living ‘in his own words’ as the house out there was bought with the winnings from his essay Eternal Sin, written for the ECI Essay Prize (1993). In this blog, Sierksma's Sequences, written in English, he is peeping round his own and other people’s perspectives. Not easily satisfied with answers nor with questions, he turns his wry wit to a number of philosophical and historical issues. His aim in writing: to make parts of the world light up in his perspective - not my will, thine! Not being a thief, he has no cook, one wife, some children, one lover and three cats.

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