When I was a kid, there was old Mrs McKenzie, and her big jungle garden where cats would roam, crouched in devout sparrow prayers, or trolling for mice with panga minds. They might even have been movie stars; whiskers were in fashion.
It was the sixties then, after and before mania had pressed them in with gods. When they were cursed by us, as defilers of backyard sandboxes, cowards of down when caught in trees, and floozies with their vortex spines, impossibly twisting round gullible ankles.
There were dogs, too. Needy and competing for garbage can swag, with hair-triggers and barks like bullets. But a cat on a fence was dog bulletproof, even if a rock thrown by a child could knock him for a loop.
Tony Andrioni could hit a cat from twenty paces, and hunted Saturdays and summer vacations, with pockets of stones, and his Drysdale arm. Sending his victims under cars, ill-eyed and with murder in their claws.
I will say nothing of the moon, orbiting like the damned, causing tides of cats, betrayed by tattling eyes, glaring out from asylum, ready for their moment of swollen rowdy alley cat kink, though many were pretenders, out for a flash from their warm human homes, returning without shame at the first here kitty call.
These were cats, and I swore when I was young that they thought without thinking, moved without motion and manipulated man without affect. In my childish bloom, I could only say, aw, nice pussy, and pet them like anyone else. It was before I knew the truth about cats: that the apocalypse would be theirs.