The Silent MiaowTranslated by Paul Gallico
Photographed by Suzanne Szasz
Every so often, I feel it’s important to go back in time and see what earlier generations of cats may have to teach us. Many decades ago, a cat named Cica graciously offered her insight and wisdom so that other cats who were strays, as she once was, could not only find homes, but rule over the humans they chose to live with. Life back in Cica’s era was a bit different from modern times (adopted cats are more likely to be kept indoors and human men — king of their homes? Ha!), but her advice still rings very true. She was a master at manipulating and training humans. She devotes a whole chapter to “Attitudes,” which all cats know is the way to keep humans fascinated with us. Other lessons include taking over Christmas, interrupting reading and games, and “two-timing,” that quaint, almost-lost art of belonging to two families at the same time. Some may think the chapter on Doors is surprisingly short, but the truth is that most cats can figure out how to open doors without much outside help. This gem of a book might have been lost to antiquity if it wasn’t for a writer by the name of Paul Gallico, who found it and translated it. He happened to know Cica’s owners, photographers who dutifully recorded their cat’s every waking and sleeping moment (which just goes to show how effective her methods were). Gallico, I hear, was an author who wrote a few books like The Snow Goose and The Poseidon Adventure. I know nothing about these books, but I can only imagine they pale in comparison to Cica’s slim volume. It is a true cat classic.
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