The Duplicitous Cat

from The Magic Pond and other fables

There was once a tumbledown metropolis which had quite literally gone to the dogs: for it was populated, owned and run by vicious hounds. They stalked the streets. They filled the parks. They had a paw in every venture. Yet amongst these dogs there dwelt a solitary cat.

“Woof,” said the cat. “Woof woof woof.” And so saying, was allowed upon its way.

Chief amongst the dogs was the chief dog – who had shoulders like an ox and huge teeth; and one day it spotted the cat standing on a wall.

“Are you a cat?” it asked the cat.

“Woof,” said the cat.

“Are you sure?” it asked.

“Quite sure,” said the cat. “Bow wow.”

The chief dog accepted this – for it was very stupid – and the cat scraped by.

Now another of the dogs was wiser than this. “Hey, look.” it said to the cat one day, “there’s a mouse over there.”

“A mouse?” said the cat – who had practised for this. “So what if there is? Who cares about mice? Not me. I’m a dog. Woof woof.”

But another of the dogs was wiser than that. “Wanna go fishing?” it asked the cat.

“Fishing?” said the cat – struggling a bit. “Not much . . . I mean, not at all. Can’t stand fish. Smelly things. Got any bones?”

Now of course the other cats – in this city of dogs – lived in continual fear, crawling about the rooftops and fire escapes; and they looked down on the duplicitous cat with bitter expressions.

“You ought to be ashamed of yourself!” they screeched at the cat. “You’re not fit to call yourself a cat!”

“But I don’t call myself a cat,” it mewed. “Now scram – this is my moment.”

The chief dog was awoken by the screeching. “Hey! Let’s get the cats!” it bellowed.

“Yes, let’s,” said the duplicitous cat – climbing up a tree and barking at them.

And then one day the people returned to the city – and with them they brought a team of dog catchers. As they rounded up the strays, the streets rang with whines and yelps and howling.

“Miaow, miaow,” said the duplicitous cat.

“Oh very funny,” said the dog catcher.

And it did look a bit like a dog by then; so they took it away and drowned it.

Moral: No animals were harmed or killed during the writing of this fable. (Except for the cat, obviously.)

© Adam Acidophilus 2010 (Yeah, right, 2010, think about it … )