Dr. Urbino was reluctant to confess his hatred of animals, which he disguised with all kinds of scientific inventions and philosophical pretexts that convinced many, but not his wife. He said that people who loved them to excess were capable of the worst cruelties toward human beings. He said that dogs were not loyal but servile, that cats were opportunists and traitors, that peacocks were heralds of death, that macaws were simply decorative annoyances, that rabbits fomented greed, that monkeys carried the fever of lust, and that roosters were damned because they had been complicit in the three denials of Christ.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
The good doctor comes to an unfortunate end rather early in the book – toppling from a ladder while reaching to extricate his disobedient parrot from the limb of a tree in his garden. He has a point about cats and dogs, though.
The neighbour’s opportunist, traitorous cat Yogi comes by most days, meows at the study window if the kitchen door isn’t open, rubs her pheromones against me in the collegial way that cats do with blood family when they have to share territory (she assumes the side of my gently curled, cat’s-head-sized fist is doing the same to her – reducing our collective stress by forming a common scent-ID according to that cat programme on TV this week), declines the occasional offer of a flap of fish skin, invites a scratch and a stroke and then saunters off. A rustle of foliage at the end of the yard, a wobble of wooden fence and she’s gone. No affection whatsoever in her reptile eyes, but I suspect that’s not how cats’ eyes or minds work. The emotion is there in the physical presence. She comes by because she enjoys a few moments of civilized company, just as I get a kick from the transitory attention of a wild and lissome stone-cold killer.
Oh yes. There is magic in a cat.