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Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Cat Telephone


I have made the surprising discovery that cats are telephones that come and go as they please and have an appetite for milk and fish. It takes a while to understand that these are special beings, wireless phones like walkie-talkies; and that we too are special, in our imperceptiveness, because it took us so long to understand this.

Given that this state of misunderstanding goes back beyond antiquity, it's apparent that humans lack the code that would allow us to comprehend these messages, their origin, and the nature of those who are sending them to us. We don't know whose number is being called, or what the caller is trying to say...

Text freely adapted & English'd from Julio Cortázar: Cómo pasar al lado

Cats: photo by arudhio, 2009


leigh tuplin said...

How true! And that first line is a pure joy :)

TC said...


I have extracted and had my bumbling anglo way with a short bit of a wonderful Cortázar tale here. He is the most poetic of writers, and of course in his own language his evocative power is beyond my humble reach. One of the masters, I could not touch the hem of his garment.

And are not those cats beautiful as well?

They are from Japan I believe -- Hokkaido. A long way from Argentina. But then Cortázar lived and wrote in Paris.

And you are there... and I am here.

Zephirine said...

Indeed, how perfectly true, cats are wireless telephones, and we are ... static? interference?

TC said...


We do tend to get in the way a bit, don't we? Perhaps to cats we may represent what in ancient dial-up days was known as line noise. A slight necessary inconvenience that comes with the medium.

Anonymous said...

I am constantly trying to translate from a secret Siamese code. I believe he's been trying to tell me he's a weatherman. He scans the horizon every morning looking for trouble. I believe he can see the cargo ships and worries about their safe passage.

TC said...


The secret Siamese code would not be the secret Siamese code if we could decipher it, of course.

Our Siamese acts as though we should understand the code RIGHT NOW.

Suzane said...

I have always thought that cats are in charge of computers. They are whimsical in how they run and when they do what you want, just as my cats are whimsical in what they want to eat today and where they want to sleep.

TC said...


Absolutely, and this is why we will never understand the behaviour of our computers.

Julia said...

¡Me encantó!
You know, Borges and Cortazar both loved cats. And I'm sure that is what made them son brilliantly clever... :-)
And what a lovely feline assembly in that picture!!

TC said...

Thank you, Julia.

It's being suggested here that the reason the feline assembly appears so peaceful and communal is that the cats are attempting to keep themselves (and thus each other) warm, there in winter.

And that would be a very good reason, of course.