isclaimer: My poor little cat is in the vet’s care this weekend, attempting to recover from a kidney disorder. I’m aching in love for my cat (in particular) and all cats (in general).
With a confusing week behind me and a massive book still underway (The Man in the Iron Mask), I found myself with nothing to review. This morning when I woke up, I considered my options and reached over to Jurassic’s The End (a wonderful collection of short stories produced by a closing publishing house). Flipped open this vast leather volume to the next story beneath the bookmark ribbon and there it was, Amanda Todd: The Friend of Cats. Irony; sad and wonderful, all at once.
This story was written way back at the turn of the last century by Mary Wilkins Freeman, a sad little writer who suffered failure before success and never really found love in her life. And this is a story of what we now call “A cat lady”. For Amanda Todd is a spinster, one who only had one chance at happiness and failed to achieve it, who grew up in a village and has turned into a recluse, not going to church, not wearing her bonnet, and caring for one poor feline who replicates over and over until there is an army of cats which she cares for.
This is a cat-lover’s story, clear enough. Amanda hates dogs and small children (particularly for what they do to cats) and no canine will come within stone’s throw of her. And it’s also an odd story with points that a subtle reader will decode. Clearly there are things that she does for her cats, her likes and dislikes, that sound cruel or weird until further explanation is given (to wit: she wishes to adopt a young girl who will tend to her cats. The child will focus on those animals and like her adoptive mother shun all social interaction with other children. Cruel and heartless? Perhaps. The adoption board thinks so and denies her, which is fine, and so the child remains in their institution for who-knows-how-long because a quirky home is somehow worse than no home at all). In this way, we get several views on Amanda which change as we progress.
Like all of us, Amanda knows she is getting older, that her cats need her, but she won’t be around forever. What can she do? What will she do? No resolution – just a slice-of-life about this unique person, presented in short-story form. I have to say that it really touched me, with my own fears and situations. So, yes, four paw prints of approval for this tale of tails. I suppose finding it may prove difficult, but to those who make the effort (like those who tend and suffer for their own feline companions) the result is worth it.
Go get it.