Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: May 2, 2023 by Crystal Uys


Written by Musetta Simon

What is it with these creatures?

I don’t mean the birds. Those little twittering things are amusing, in their way: hopping about, oblivious to the fact that certain death – in the form of a sleek feline killer – lurks just inside this glass door. I mean my humans. My mother, in particular. Instead of writing, or whatever it is she calls it when she sits at her desk, she has taken to lingering here, by the porch doors, with me. And while I appreciate the strokes I get, especially when I begin my morning commentary on the yard activity, it’s her frankly pointless fascination that I simply do not understand.

When my person first began feeding the creatures in our yard, I thought her motivations were obvious. She was fattening them up, clearly, and then either she or I would harvest them. I had some thoughts on the matter, which I conveyed through quiet chattering as we sat and watched them peck away at that dross mother puts in the feeder. For example, I thought it might be fun to have one or two invited in for a proper hunt. Work up an appetite, you know, although in general I prefer her to do the work. She is, after all, part of my staff.

Musetta birdwatching

Those little sparrows and finches, I thought, might be fun. The mourning doves look too stupid and slow to give much sport. And the cardinals, well, frankly I find them a tad intimidating. They are large, and those beaks could prove a challenge. But a handful of finches, just for fun. A few rounds through the house, and then I would bring them to her and receive her well-earned praise.

But now we’ve been feeding them for months. They are quite stout, by my reckoning. And yet, she has made no move to bring them inside. Worse, she has begun writing about them – or, at least, commenting on them when she leaves me to go pet that inane keyboard of hers. She’s acting as if they were sensate creatures. As if they were some kind of surrogate pet.

She is acting almost as if they were cats.

Frankly, I’m getting sick of it. I’ve let her know every way I can. Sometimes, when I get too excited watching those fluttering things, I bite her feet. She brought them here. She doesn’t give me access to them. She deserves it. Besides, I enjoy when she yelps a bit and jumps, and I always stop before she gets too upset. Good help being so hard to find these days. Sometimes, I simply turn my back on them, and her. That may be cruel, but they have to learn.

I know I shouldn’t take it personally. I am, I know, still the center of her life. She exists to worship me, and she remains conscientious about attending to my needs. From what she tells me, I still star in all her books, although sometimes under different names (though why she would disguise my perfect catitude is beyond me). Sometimes, she calls me Esmé for fun. Sometimes, Wallis. And I know that Mr Grey is an homage to my predecessor, the quiet longhair who first broke my people in and taught them how to worship properly. She still talks about his antics, and I know she “takes notes,” whatever that means, whenever I do something that makes perfect sense to me, like fall asleep and slide off a pillow. Or lecture the squirrels on their manners, when they’ve chased some of those birds away.

Still, I am getting a little fed up. All these brainless twitterings. All that lovely poultry, without a can opener in sight. I may have to go sit in another window, for a while. Or maybe take a nap.

Musetta is the inspiration for the cats Esmé (in the Dulcie Schwartz feline mysteries) and Wallis (in the Pru Marlowe pet noirs). She is attended to by author Clea Simon, author, most recently of Grey Expectations: A Dulcie Schwartz Feline Mystery (Severn House) and Cats Can’t Shoot: A Pru Marlowe Pet Noir (Poisoned Pen Press). Her works – along with pictures of Musetta – may be found at

Photos of Musetta ©Clea Simon, used with permission

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