“Be quiet! Now it’s the cat’s turn to ask us questions!”
“The cat had not come of its own free will, so it couldn’t be blamed now; it had been grabbed by neck to be made unable to scratch.
Then it was thrown into a bag so that it couldn’t see anywhere and wouldn’t learn the way back to the village. When it was let out of the bag, and got caught in a bunch of knickknack in a house, its little self was consumed with rage. At first it had scratched the ceramic floors of the house, but they were so firmly and immovably clinging to the ground and earth. It had squeezed through the half-open window to reach outside the house on the rooftop. Of course, it had no idea it was on the rooftop. Later when it told me about it, I could guess it from the flow of air blowing and surrounding it everywhere. “I would simply draw my legs underneath my belly and keep yawning and inhaling the air. Then I would hide my head in my arms and nod off,” it would have said if it had not had to do something so urgent. “Weren’t you scared in that open area?!” I told it. A meow came, and as it turned the tip of its ears in every direction, it held out one of its nails, plunged it into ink, and struggled to write something on paper: “Where”. I was going to pull out the piece of paper from it when it raised its head and hissed. I retreated involuntarily. I sat behind my desk where I could keep the distance it desired.
When it licked its ink-stained nail, its light brown tongue turned navy blue. Cats are truly clean. It slowly rubbed its paw on its round head. A copper ring had been pierced to the poor animal’s left ear tip. When its paw caught the ring, it tried to take it off absent-mindedly, but the ring was too small to come off that easily. It eventually stopped playing with itself. First it glanced at the door, and then stretched out as it dug its paws into my hapless leather couch. It sat straight and stiff on two legs and gazed into my eyes. Just like the rest of them. I wonder whether I feel like this because I am a man, but if a dog had done such a thing to my couch, and even urinated on it as well, I wouldn’t have been so exasperated.
As much as they insist so much on being smart, dogs always have a stupid look hardened on their face. This gives them a particular simplicity. Just like those stupid and simple TV characters that you would, instead of getting angry with, fall in love with head over heels. To the contrary, cats, whether male or female, put on so many acts that they would go on your nerves even if they have big arms and whiskers so long to cover a meter outside their faces like this cat’s.
It’s the immense amount of pride and demure manner that has even had pharaohs kneel before them. Poor pharaohs were unable to abandon these noble creatures even in their tombs. From their hairless races to their favorite types, they are all cut from the same cloth. Now imagine a cat as proud as the Himalayas grabbed by neck and thrown into a bag. When it opens its eyes, it finds a ridiculous ring pierced into an ear and a bell ready to be tied around its neck like a goat’s. Although they gave that up when the cat scratched them up and took good care of them. Worse, they abandoned it in a spaciously large house like that where it could not find even a handful of earth. They had not even thought of its need to answer the call of nature in the most natural way possible. No wonder it all came to attorneys and laws. Even a thug or a murderer would get his toilet to pee or poop in his most natural way, let alone an innocent cat as bully-like as this one. It is of course innocent. When it looked into my eyes, it was impossible for me to move my eyes away. These cats really mesmerize you. You would feel like there is a mastermind or a great thinker hiding behind that shaggy head. It looks like someone who is going to save the universe. Whenever I see one of them, so quiet unlike dogs, I see hailstones of questions raining on my head through their eyes. Maybe it is the insufficiency I feel before them that makes me exasperated, not those little holes they make on my couch with their little paws. After it had stared at me to the fullest, deeply crashing me with its evil and reproachful look at least to have taken a short revenge on my kind, once again it plunged its sharp nail into ink.
I fancied telling it that I myself would write its complaint, which is only one question, but I was afraid. I was truly horrified that it would not be contend with just a hiss this time. It had every right. When it reaches the rooftop, it finds a silver sea in front of it. It pushes its paw into the silver surface, but the roof coatings are too solid to give way to any earth underneath. Worse, there is no earth found beneath the roof coating even for a handful.
Its stomachache pressures it so much. Jumping from one silver sea to another, from one balcony to another, it finally notices a few vases. They looked like the sunflowers in their village. They nod from their distance meaning “Come here.” It runs till it reaches their foot where its sense of smell comes to the rescue. There is no scent or smell coming from the flowers. Nonetheless, it takes a risk, for nature had called and commanded it to do something for its urgent need. It digs at the foot of the sunflowers to make a little hole to poop. Instead of earth, a handful of things like threads wrap around its nails. Double trouble. It appraises the sunflowers top to bottom. They did not even look like a dry stick with colored heads, because even a dry stick could have a particular smell. It did not even stink. No smell. It bites at them and scratches their unnatural brown stems. It leaves no scratches whatsoever. It did not ask me anything about them, just like the other things. Nor did I tell it they were artificial. I thought the truth would be too painful for him to hear. Maybe it knew it, too. Unlike dogs, cats are very patient. Poor thing said it itself, “When they put me in a bag, they promised to take me somewhere better.” To it, somewhere better meant a more natural place. It is now going through something most of us humans experience as well. Imagine being buried under 7 meters of earth instead of a bag, and when we opened our eyes, we would find instead of the paradise or hell, which we expect to be more natural and real than this world, a handful of artificial stuff. How would we feel? One goes out of his or her way to reach things more real than what surrounds him or her.
I was looking at its round and cute head. Let’s face it. They are really cute. They could be shrewish like women, yet they are damn charming. At times they even reach childish innocence. Children give one a hard time with all their mischief, yet when they are drawing a picture, particularly of their daddy who would look more like a scarecrow in a farm, with hands and legs sticking out like dry sticks. Even these dry sticks as hands would meet their own sticks/hands in the picture. While the giant shadow of their father falls on the piece of drawing, but they are deeply drowned in themselves – this part is very beautiful – drowned in themselves that is drowned in their relationship with daddy. This drawing cries, “Daddy, I give you a pretty hard time all day, but I love you!”
Such a beautiful message coats one’s heart like a thin silk and makes one forget all the torment. That maybe the reason why these creatures have penetrated our lives to this extent and replaced the kids we don’t have, or even sleep next to us instead of a wife or husband. And now a question. Now that we are so much in need of cats, why have we not provided a handful of earth for them to answer the call of nature in the most natural way possible?! We are selfishly turning everything into artificial stuff every day. We could at least leave a tiny little piece of nature for the creatures so lovingly touching our souls. They have not forgotten their nature. Thanks to a lack of reasoning, they do not learn a thing from us. Even if they do, the moment their next generation begins, it all begins all over again.
My client has refrained from coming to this court on its own will, and is now grazing in a faraway village in an unknown place where no one has the energy to go to, while there is still a ridiculous ring pierced into its ear.
In this court, which is about to explode by the pressure of the present crowd, I wonder why all these out-of-the-socket eyes only look forward to seeing my client’s writing. My client has posed only one question to you, dear judge, the jury, and all these out-of-the-socket eyes.” I raise the piece of paper and show it to those present. “Your eyes are out of their sockets for this!” looking daggers at the judge and the jury, I continue, “You too?! Yes! That’s the truth. It’s the cat’s handwriting: Where do I answer the call of nature?” There are Oh and Ah’s coming from every corner of the court. I sigh deeply. I can never sigh enough.
I yell at the judge, who has been staring at the piece of paper, “Do you understand my client’s question, or better to say my question?! Where do I answer the call of nature?!” The piece of paper is shaking in the air. The judge pulls himself together. He pulls his head back and retorts with a sneer, “For you! Out of the courtroom, on the left, down the first corridor, you can answer the call of nature in the men’s room.” The room explodes with laughter of the crowd. I gnash my teeth and the piece of paper gets crumpled in my fist. The judge pounds his hammer hard on the desk a few times inattentively. “Due to a lack of necessary evidence presented here, the case is dismissed. End of the session.” Everyone gets up. I can still hear them giggling and tittering. I knew from the very beginning this would end like this. “Necessary evidence” was never there to begin with.
I sit behind one of the desks until the courtroom is empty. A little boy pulls at my coat’s sleeve in a stealthy way. I am still furious. I don’t notice him at first. Then he pulls harder. He says something in a very low voice. I have to lean closer to his mouth and almost stick my ear to it to be able to comprehend what he is saying. “Did your client finally answer the call of nature?!” I nod. Then my head remains down on my hands. He is still holding tight to my sleeve. “How?! In the most natural way possible?!” He asks. I raise my head and look at him like my client. The child is frightened and let go of my sleeve. As I straighten up my collar, I get up and walk towards the exit. I shout in response to his question, “In the most unnatural way possible!”
Fatemeh Jafari – artist’s statement: I am a creative text writer and novelist. I wrote an interesting short story about cats and I would like to publish it on World Cat Day. My first book is a science fiction novel called “MC Two” for teens that was Published in 2014. My second book is a romantic and psychological novel called “Forbidden SMS” (This book is not allowed to be published in Iran, but it is the first novel written in the world with this new form. It is registered in the Art Registration Organization with this number 1482-97 in Iran). I am an environmental activist and interested in writing stories about it.