Content warning on this one: It made me cry a couple times. Kitties, real kitties who lived with us once upon a time.
This is sort of in a way after Cats Have Nine Lives.
His name had been The Grey Gatsby when he was a kitten, and he had held it with the sort of dignity that all cats posses (although he was fairly certain that he possessed it in greater measure than most cats. Most cats were relatively silly when they thought nobody was looking. He, of course, was never silly. He had taken on many other names throughout the years, in the way that people and other animals tended to gift them – Gatters, Gatamon (he liked that one), The Terrifying One (from the co-pets, or at least the creatures he was told were also pets, although he thought they looked far too much like food), the Bigger Cat (from the cat he grudgingly allowed to be his clowder, a name that pleased him also as much as The Terrifying One, as that cat – Drake – became rather larger than him but never stopped thinking of him as The Bigger Cat). Sweetie might’ve been his favorite, although he would never admit it.
It wasn’t until he was much older than he managed to read the book which had given him his name.
It took some careful key-pushing when the humans were all out of the house, and even then, Drake wanted to look over his shoulder, and that having been done, Drake wanted him to read to him, of course.
Drake was a useful cat in some ways. He scared off the Annoying Ones. He got the human’s attention when the food was empty. He took the blame for things without minding in the least.
But he was not all that clever, and although Gatsby had taken a little time trying to teach him to read… well, perhaps he had not taken enough time.
He read The Great Gatsby to Drake, from page one to the very end.
“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.”
he read, and then he explained to Drake that it was good to think on advice later. “Think about things I told you,” he told the younger, bigger cat, and groomed his forehead again. “Think about it later, because sometimes things only come to light when you’ve had time to think on them.”
Drake made a face, because he did not like to think all that much.
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
he ended finally, and Drake looked at him for a long minute.
“You are not that Gatsby. That one is wrong,” Drake told him.
Gatsby, of course, had to agree. “There is a way to think about names,” he told the very large kitten. “They are a thing given to us before we hardly know who we are ourselves, yes? You’re a dragon. I’m Great. Or Grey, as the case may be. We have to learn what we want to do with the names.”
“And the past?”
“…well, there is only so much thinking about advice you want to do,” Gatsby admitted slowly. “And only so much thinking about the past. And our job, as cats, we’re to remind humans of that.”
“I thought we were catch mice. And moths.”
“Well, that too. And to keep them warm and remind them of the world outside themselves and to purr. Always to purr.”
Sometimes, in the shadowed time between lives, Gatsby thought about that. Remind them not to think too much about the past.
Drake had done a good job of that, a surprisingly good job, for all that he was a very silly cat and not all that wise.
But perhaps what Gatsby might need, on shadowed occasions, was someone to remind him of that.
He was hardly surprised at all when the tiger-striped kitten ran up to him, as incorporeal as he was, and started to purrrrrrr.
(Drake, left, Gatsby, right)
(Gatsby top, Drake bottom)Want more?