In Walked the Cat

Yes, that title is accurate.

As some of you may already know, my first class on Mondays is held in my Professor’s house. She has a study that is slightly detached from the rest of the building and is chock full of sofas, footstools and other convenient places to relax and rest a notebook. Also, holding class in her home allows her to serve Darjeeling at the beginning of each session, for which I am grateful.

But enough about the tea.

Class began at noon and, at 1:45, my Professor stopped in the middle of her sentence. Her tone changed utterly and she said “Hello, what are you doing here?” to the glass door leading to the backyard.

Well, technically, to the cat standing behind the door. The cat meowed. She got to her feet and opened the door for him. The cat meowed again, pondered his situation for a moment, then stepped daintily into the room. My professor did the only sensible thing there was to do and went to get him some tuna.

He was a handsome fellow, with marmalade and white fur and a long, fluffy tail that he carried like a banner, if banners were made of orange feather boas. He seemed unsure of what to do, walking back out the door for a moment to make sure he could, before coming back in just in time for his bowl of tuna. As he ate, we wondered what he was doing there and, more importantly, if he was lost. He ate voraciously and, while that could be a sign that he had not been fed for a while, it could just as easily be a sign that he liked tuna. He was given another bowl, just in case. He looked pretty healthy, though his fur had some leaves and burrs stuck in it. He did have a collar and tag on, but we didn’t want to frighten him, so none of us grabbed him to check.

And then, despite the feline addition to the class roster, we continued. There was much to say about Chaucer after all.

While we discussed the reading, the cat set about exploring his new territory. First, he paced around and under the couches, emerging right in between the legs of the person who was mildly allergic to cats. Once the floor had been suitably patrolled, he jumped up on one of the footstools and wandered along the backs of the sofas and the arms of the chairs, stopping just long enough for those of us who liked cats to skritch his head. Graduate students are great at multitasking–we can listen and make “come here, kitty” noises at the same time.

At some point during his rounds, he remained still long enough for his name tag to be examined. His name was Seamus and he lived down the block. That meant he wasn’t getting another can of tuna since he was, as my professor put it, “a neighbor, not a runaway.”

After forty-five minutes or so of patrolling the rug, meowing at the sofa, sticking his nose into our mugs of tea, trying to figure out how he was supposed to get down off the cabinet with the wooden curios now that he’d found his way up there, and generally keeping us all quite entertained and slightly distracted, Seamus decided he was bored with the Book of the Duchess and, with a flick of his ginger tail, he sauntered out the door and out of the yard.

I wonder if he’ll be back next week. I suppose that depends on whether or not he likes Bocaccio.



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3 responses to “In Walked the Cat

  1. Ema

    Maybe he’ll come back if you do Beowulf, but only the version translated by Seamus Heaney, his namesake? Beowulf is too early for that class though. Oh well. The Cat’s Tale?

  2. Perhaps he’d prefer Chaucer’s Parliament of Fowls?

  3. Aunto Barbo

    Lizzy, I just love reading your tales or tails, as the case may be. I would love to have two cats and a dog, but the walking and the babysitting keeps my wants at bay. Yes, I am digressing, but honestly, Beowulf, Chaucer and Bocaccio are simply out of my realm.

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