Monday, 6 August 2012

What we notice in the city: The Cat

She’s grey: soft dust-coloured, but brighter, and she has tabby markings. I spot her on the other side of the railings, tilting her head to chew tall stems of grass. The traffic roars on the road behind me, exhaust fumes taint the air, and at first she doesn’t notice I’m there. She is somehow larger than the cats I’m used to seeing, as if her bones were on a different scale. She looks up, and our eyes meet. Hers are a luminous pale green. She pauses, holding my gaze. I hold hers. I greet her. She pads towards me, up to the railings, and I wonder whether she’ll mew, ask me to stroke her. Not a bit of it. She is sussing me out.

I move away, walk round the corner, though the gate and into the grounds of the church. With no railings to separate us, I approach her again, cautiously. The same challenging gaze meets my curiosity, my wish for contact. As she stalks off, away from me, unhurried and alert, her body is slung low between her shoulders. There is a wildness in her gait, and a slight awkwardness. Is she pregnant? Her neck is collarless. No one to look out for her but her own untamed self. 
Meg Kelly

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