Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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The Cat That Didn't Like to Be Held

Miss Squeak grew up in a house of many cats, and all of them picked on her. When she first came to live with me, you could see the incredulity on her face: You mean I can just lay down anywhere, and nobody will try to jump me?

With such a background, Squeak didn't like to be held. That was OK with me; she was plenty affectionate in other ways.

Then, about a year and a half ago, as I was laying on my bed one day, reading—the sleep hygienists all say you shouldn't, I know—she hopped up on the bed and stretched out on my chest.

Here I am, she said, looking me in the eye.

And that was that. Since then, she's even taken to climbing up on my lap, the ultimate act of feline trust: Squeak, the cat that didn't like to be held.

On her last night, when I got home from work I found that she'd curled up on the pillow on my bed. Well, everyone has the right to die where they want to.

Although by that point moving was difficult for her, when I woke in the middle of the night I found that she had crawled under the covers and snugged up to me: the primal mammalian comfort of skin-to-skin contact that, in the end, is maybe the best giving that we have to offer one another.

So the cat that everyone picked on managed to find a territory of her own, and someone to snug up to. There are worse lives to be had.

Hail and farewell, Squeak.

Earth hold you warm.




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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Saturday, 19 September 2020

    awwww kitttyyyyyy

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