the Cat's Den

Visiting my grandparents as a little girl would entail perusing the numerous volumes of old books in their cozy den. How my younger brother and I loved the den. Half of it was shelves of books, and the other wall hung with fine art prints from the likes of Dutch masters and Impressionists. I would gaze upon those art prints frequently. Grandpa would merrily hum a tune, while "two-finger" typing on his manual typewriter atop an industrial office desk. Grandma would sing along softly to the portable radio in the kitchen, always making something yummy. My brother and I were very content browsing the books, asking tons of questions, and I would also busy myself by drawing. Looking back, I am grateful for the enrichment my grandparents provided us~ for the Arts, and life. It helped shape who I am today.

On the den shelf, one book in particular always drew my curiosity and attention: "The Life, History and Magic of The Cat" (1966) by Fernand Mery, a French veterinarian. It is a large hardback coffee table book, lavishly illustrated and well edited. It is the the only book from my grandparents collection in my possession. Coincidentally, this title is also in my vet's waiting room!

As a young girl, I was attracted and yet a little frightened of this book, for it has many bizarre and mildly creepy images of cats through the ages and folklore. This is one of them:

Kinda the same effect of Cocteau's "Beauty and the Beast", I saw it as a child and the imagery haunted me. As an adult, I now appreciate this beautiful film.

Here's another image I always remembered from the book, the "love bite" and the expression on that woman:

Motion photography demonstrating how the cat uprights itself from a fall:

Paw note: Growing up, I had always been severely allergic to cats and avoided them. But that changed when I was in my 20's. My roommate then had brought home a tiny black kitten, tucked inside his jacket, and made no provisions for caring for it. I was not going to allow this kitten to be raised irresponsibly, so I took it upon myself to raise him... the Cat I speak of is my beloved departed Koko (lived to age 14), he will always be my First Cat (see previous post). Oh, about the allergy thing~ after one month of nasal hell and resisting the urge to itch my eyes, I seemed to develop a tolerance for cats! Perhaps it was will power, or just *the Magic of the Cat* ;o)


Mare said...

What a beautiful post. I can feel the love you had/have for your Grandparents. My Grandmother Mary was (and still is 30 years after she passed)very special to me too, as was her home. There was something beautiful or interesting in every nook and cranny and i credit her for my love of gardens, houseplants, farm life, baking and Christmas. Now that i am a Grandmother, i can only hope i have a similar effect on my grandchildren and teach them so many good things about life and love.

Melissa and Emmitt said...

hi pp
what a beautiful post. i love the description of your grandparents' house and love. It was meant for you to have kitties in your life.
ps your blog looks great! did you change the colors?
m & e

amy rue said...


Thank you so much for sharing your kitty book! I just went and found a copy of the book on ebay so that I can look closely at all of the pictures.

The 'love bite' picture looks just like pictures that I have of my Granny and her pet ocelot from the 60's! Granny was a model and always had exotic pets like her ocelot, foxes, a spider monkey named Joe, raccoons, etc!

I'm a new reader/lurker of your blog and I really enjoy it. Thank you for sharing! I'm so sorry for the loss of your Kitty. My first born kitty, Tiggy Foxtrot, is 16 years old and I worry every day about losing her.

take care,
amy rue

Kingfisher Farm said...

I too find myself wanting to reconnect with the books from childhood. I think its a way of slowing down the aging process, the book is always older than we are, ;) Pam

Peng Peng said...

Hey all~ glad you enjoyed this post! I think the Cat book is out of print, but super cheap used copies avail on Amazon or ebay (amy,glad u found a copy!). Yes, i reckon cats were destined to be in my life!

oh, and yes i did spruce up my blog with some new colors for fall :O)