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I Am a Cat : After two portfolios focused on the gloriousness of human folly, it seems only natural to follow up with a study of those quiet anthropologists: cats.

I am a cat. As yet I have no name.

Thus begins Soseki Natsume’s novel, Wagahai wa Neko de Aru (I Am a Cat). What the english translation fails to convey is the lordly, ultra formal, connotation behind ‘wagahai’ and the ‘de aru’ form. ‘Neko,’ can be translated as cat, but much more than simply saying ‘I’, the cat is in fact stating his eminence as a superior being. Think the royal ‘we’ taken to extremes and used by, well, a cat.

With these regal airs in full command, cats seem to enjoy watching us as we go about our quaint ways. Occasionally you will find yourself under a keen gaze, held a bit too long to not be calculated to bring maximum eeriness. Yet, just as quickly, the gaze will break and the cat will go back about its business.

Of course, by then the hair on the back of your neck has already gotten some exercise. Thus an accute gaze can rapidly bring you to your senses, and you may even quicken your pace as you head indoors to safety.

- Colin Ptak

© Colin Ptak, 2004-2010