The Cat in the Stack (DOG EAR)

The Cat in the Stack (DOG EAR)

veryone who knows me knows of my book Indigo, where I spent time showing how crows see the world (and how, like us, they can recognize patters, make intelligent choices, and understand a lot more than we give them credit for). This factors into my story, a tale about a book, a bookmark, and a cat.

For Christmas, my wife gave me (amongst other things) a copy of the latest (and last) book of The Expanse. Now, as it has been a while since the last book, I decided to reread it before pushing into the series finale. And since she also gave me a bookmark (with a black tassel on it) I used it to mark my place as I poured through the tale of the crew of the beleaguered Rocinate.

Which was noticed by Ritz the cat.

Ritz is a young adult tom who gets into trouble daily in our house. And this day was no exception. With his keen cat eye, he locked onto the tassel and came up on my lap to investigate, interrogate and vivisect this tempting toy. There I am, trying to read while he’s tugging on the bookmark. When I pulled it from his fangs and draped it inside my book, he rose up to look over to top of it, seeking my tassel from atop my own literary battlements. I finally shooed him away. Then, because I had to go somewhere, I tossed the book on top of the books behind the sofa, a collection of about fifty hardbacks, all favorites (or publications) of mine.

Later, we went out for lunch and took our books. I’d just settled in at the table to read and then I found myself wondering if The Expanse had a title in braille. There were little lumps on the cover. When I looked closely, I realized they were in neat cat-jaw separations. Yes, Ritz had climbed up and gnawed my book while I’d been out of the room.

And as I sat there, running my finger along the damaged cover, noting the rather ragged tassel, it came to me that he’d climbed atop the stack and picked out The Expanse from the other books, noting it by the black cover and red distinct letters. That’s rather amazing to think about – Ritz understands where books are kept and can do pattern-recognition. I was as impressed as I was pissed.

But then again, it really doesn’t matter. The tassel now has a tale. When I’m done with book eight, it will go back in the vertical pile, likely pressing out the tooth marks. I still enjoyed the story. He enjoyed the book.

And I got a blog posting out of it.

Have a great 2022!