A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Cat Classics: "The Cyprian Cat" by Dorothy L. Sayers

A Cyprian cat?
Photo by AlienCat via Adobe Stock.
Over the weekend She of Little Talent read me a Dorothy L. Sayers story called “The Cyprian Cat.” I was disappointed at first because I thought the story would be about an ancient cat from the island of Cyprus, which it is not. It turns out “Cyprian cat” is a local term for a tabby cat in parts of England.

What the story is, is a sort of mystery/horror tale that is not terribly mysterious but is terribly horrific, especially for cats. It is narrated by a frighteningly violent man who has shot a cat. “It’s funny that one should be hanged for shooting at a cat,” he says.

No, narrator, that is not so-called “funny” at all. That is perfectly reasonable.

This narrator has such an aversion to cats that he cannot stand being in the same space with one. He becomes nauseated and his flesh crawls whenever a cat is close to him. (He is a psychiatric case, if you ask me.) So you can imagine how out of sorts he becomes when he checks into an inn in this fascinating village that has some mysterious connection to cats:

“It’s a tiny hamlet quite at the other end of nowhere; lights out at ten, little thatched houses with pinched-up attic windows like furry ears—the place purred in its sleep.”

When a by all accounts beautiful tabby cat with lovely green eyes appears one night at his window, he calls her a monster and soon buys a revolver “to take a pot-shot or two at the cats.” Well, eventually he does take a shot at the beautiful, completely innocent cat, and moments later he finds he has shot not a cat but his friend’s wife. (By the way, the reason it is wrong to shoot at cats is not that they might be shape-shifters that are also people; it is wrong because cats, like all creatures, deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.)

I think someone should write a story like this from the cat’s point of view. That would be so interesting. I would ask She of Little Talent to write it, but she would make lots of mistakes and would probably write about an octopus instead of a cat. You see how I must suffer.

[“The Cyprian Cat” can be found in the collection In the Teeth of the Evidence by Dorothy L. Sayers.]

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