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Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Mitzy the Birman cat was one of life’s solipsists, at least where members of her own species were concerned. Arriving from the RSPCA in 2004 she took almighty exception to the presence of other felines in the house and screened their existence out, philosophically, with a series of blood-curdling yawps, honks, hisses and yodels. Though cleared by Hans Blix of stockpiling farts of mass destruction, Mitzy was persuaded after a few months of daily carnage to relocate her candyfloss ruff and pigeon-toed walk to my parents’ house in Co. Wicklow. Here her domestic duties included sitting in doorways, tearing the wallpaper, burrowing under throws and cushions, and generally frustrating the works of humankind. She never learned to do her business outside but would perch on her litter tray, swaying gracefully back and forth. And now she has died of kidney failure and her crossed eyes have closed forever.

Here is a poem about her from a sequence about the cats in my life I wrote recently:

Gulliver revised:
human is houyhnmhnm,
cat yahoo.

I am the horse
and Gulliver you.
Your screams couldn’t

be louder when a cat
comes into view.
But take a good

look at yourself:
the mirror’s an enemy too.
There is not just

no other cat.
There is not even you.


Poem ends. Mitzy ends. We must love one another and die. Hail, Mitzy (? – 13.5.08).

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