Guest post by Musetta Simon, feline muse to Clea Simon
Let me make one thing clear: I am Musetta, a cat. I am the cat, and I am not ungenerous.
Recently, it has been brought to my attention, however, that I share my person with several other felines. Well, if you can call them that, pale, thin imitations that they are. You see, my person, the writer Clea Simon, has been quite caught up recently with several feline characters, spending unconscionable hours devising escapades for them that she would never dream of allowing me – entrusting them with the health and safety of humans much more foolhardy than mine.
One of these, the so-called “feline specter,” Mr. Grey, does not bother me that much. Although he plays a key role in Clea’s latest mystery, Grey Dawn, as does a – dare I say it? – a werekitty, he is not a real threat to one such as myself. For one thing, Mr Grey – the companion of one Dulcie Schwartz, is a ghost. He does not demand pets or chin rubs, or any of those niceties that I have trained Clea to deliver. Besides, he is modeled on my predecessor as Best Cat in the World, Cyrus T. Cat. I have heard many stories of Cyrus, and although I think he must have been a bit of a wimp (he never bit anyone? Not even for fun?), I respect him, as all cats must respect their elders. We were once worshipped as divine for a reason.
It’s the other two whom I find troublesome. Wallis, for example. Wallis is a tabby of a certain age who cohabits with Pru Marlowe. And like Mr. Grey, she cannot demand chin scratches or belly rubs, but there are other issues. Issues that need to be addressed. As I read their latest outing, Parrots Prove Deadly (and, yes, we do read. Why do you think we like to spread ourselves over your papers? We read by absorption), a troublesome thought occurred to me. It was that, perhaps, Wallis’s sharp tongue, her absolute sense of her own rightness, was not to be taken seriously. That, perhaps, my person was mocking Wallis. And that thought was quickly followed by the idea that perhaps Clea was also mocking me. I had a hairball and a nap, and the feeling went away. But it is worth mentioning here, as I like to list all my grievances in true feline fashion.
Finally, there’s Esmé. She’s Dulcie’s living cat in the Mr. Grey books, and even though Dulcie refers to her as “kitten,” she’s clearly become an adult. A slightly portly tuxedo’d adult. Again, I sense that perhaps I am being belittled. Made a figure of fun in the pages of yet another scurrilous fiction. Mocked.
I brought this to the attention of my person just now. It’s late in the day, and she’s getting ready to sleep, which is the perfect time for me to alert her to my needs and start racing around. Her answer, albeit sleepily given, is simple.
“I love you best of all, Musetta,” she said. “All these other cats – these fictional cats – pay homage to you. You are, after all, the Best Cat in the World.”
For now, I am willing to accept this simple response. After all, having done my laps, I am ready to curl up on the foot of the bed and guard my person in her dreams. It’s what I do. It’s what we do.
I am not ungenerous. I am simply a cat.
Clea Simon is the author of 12 mysteries and three non-fiction books, including The Feline Mystique: On the Mysterious Connection Between Cats and Their Women as well as several other nonfiction books. For more information about Clea, please visit her website or her blog.
Photo of Musetta by Clea Simon, used with permission