The Lore of Cats #flashfiction #shortstory

We were a dog family. Definitely. Never was a cat mentioned; indeed we didn’t really know anyone who gave a home to a cat. Then I went to University, following the Archaeologist and blow me if, when I returned after a couple of terms, there was this new resident. Misty. A jellicle cat if ever there was one.

She was small, affectionate on her terms and a huntress of no little skill. Variously she deposited inside the cat flap: pigeons, mice, shrews, one large brown field rat, a couple of rabbits and, much to Dad’s amazement, on one occasion, a stoat. She would often follow Dad down the garden, sit opposite where he was working and thoroughly clean and groom herself, as if the first date was about to arrive and squire her to a party. Then, silent, sleek she would disappear into the hedge for a couple of hours, touring the fields and hedgerows, before returning to the clickety-clack of our arthritic cat-flap and take her place on Dad’s lap.

Once, she left Dad a present of some choice rodent. Unfortunately for him it was in his wellington boot which he only discovered ten days later when the smell emanating from his footwear moved beyond the ripe and entered the realm of the rotten.

2015-02-25 16.50.04-2

our first cat, Sissy

You had to love her, you really did. So when, aged thirty to the day I was handed a cardboard box with air holes in it and found the tiniest cutest kitten I was smitten. It’s nearly 30 years ago but since then at no stage have we been a cat free household and, well, I can’t image we will be again.

This week Charli Mills’ prompt from the Carrot Ranch is

July 6, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a cat. It can be a cute and adorable kitten or it can be mean old tom that swipes a claw at unsuspecting humans. Cats are prevalent in the mining country – mousers and companions. Some survive in luxury with cushions in a sunny window, while others fend off coyotes. What cat comes to mind and how does it spark a story?

Mary and Penny, like a lot of Brits, have been suffering for their devotion to Andy Murray’s attack on Wimbledon. But maybe Mabel, the cat, can help.

C’mon Andy

 Mary stood by the door. ‘How’s he doing?’

‘Shh mum. He’s a set and a break down.’

‘Shall I go? Maybe I’m bad luck.’

‘That’s silly.’ Penny looked forlorn.

As Mary turned Mabel slunk into the room. She purred as she rubbed against Penny’s feet; then she jumped onto Penny’s lap. ‘Mabel. Go away… HE’S BROKEN BACK!’

Mary smiled; the cat settled while Penny absently stroked him.

Two hours later a scream brought Mary back. Penny, smiling, punched the air in delight as Mabel hopped down and left the room, her job done. As she passed Mary she winked.

If you want to follow Mary’s story please click here.

And to finish with one of Dad’s poems, this one about Misty


Our Misty is an English cat

Whose natural feline grace

Conceals inside a haughty pride

In her native English race.


Her sire sprang from New Forest Stock.

And her dam from a Midland shire,

And she was born on St. George’s morn

In the warmth of a Hampshire byre.


On her mother’s side, generations gone,

Cats more wild than tame

Saw Royalists yield on Naseby Field,

Cursing the Roundhead name.


And earlier yet her father’s kin,

Of the Wessex woodland race,

Watched an arrow fly, saw the Red King die,

And Tyrell fall from grace.


The law of the countryside she knows,

As a kitten the lesson was learned,

That to live and thrive, to stay alive,

Is a privilege hard earned.


She knows this land on warm summer nights,

She has hunted through the snow,

She has heard the trees, sing their symphonies

When the great south-westers blow.


And now, on this black November night,

I doze by my fireside warm,

While the windowpane is lashed by the rain

Of our first real Winter storm.


Down at my feet our Misty lies

Silent, she slumbers on,

What dreams are hers? Ears twitch, she stirs,

Stands, stretches – and is gone.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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24 Responses to The Lore of Cats #flashfiction #shortstory

  1. Pingback: #ShortStory #Flashfiction | donnahepburn

  2. Autism Mom says:

    Ah love this! Sweet Misty, great poem. I will read it to my son 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mick Canning says:

    Very impressed how a flash fiction prompt can be turned into a short story, a reminiscence, and yet another of your Dad’s super poems.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anabel Marsh says:

    One of ours chased a mouse into the innards of the sofa. Took a fair while to identify the source of that smell……

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Erika Kind says:

    So many takes on one prompt and all wonderful in their own way, Geoffle!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. gordon759 says:

    I must say that was on of my favourite of Dad’s poems.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. trifflepudling says:

    Lovely post and poem!
    The number of times I have left the room during live sport to find that England or whoever have scored in my absence, and then had to miss the entire match in case I jinx it by being in the room!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jan says:

    One of our cats once brought back the head of a baby rabbit. That was most unpleasant! Love the poem – your Dad must have been a real sweetie.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Here Kitty, Kitty! « Carrot Ranch Communications

  10. Charli Mills says:

    What a cat! But what is a stoat? Todd grew up with Clyde the barn cat and he caught all kinds of birds and rodents. He once caught a pheasant. Your Dad’s poem is touching and somehow I feel its poignant with all the Brexit news we’ve been hearing in the states. Mary’s flash this week is terrific — relatable t baseball, though that might make you shudder.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      I’ll pass on the baseball. Three strikes always sounds like my journey to work will be a disaster. A stoat is like a ferret or weasel. It’s weaselily distinguished because it is stoatally different… Sorry another of dad’s jokes.


  11. noelleg44 says:

    Just wonderful, Geoff! I love that your Dad memorialized his cat in such a wonderful poem. We are cat people but have had dog(s) as well and have loved them greatly. Hard to choose so we don’t!

    Liked by 1 person

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