A week and one day ago, it was a rainy and miserable Sunday. We ate butter cookies, lasagna, and crackers with cheese, grimly contemplating the heavy grey clouds, and the rain spattering the windows. The yellow snap-dragons I’d arranged in a vase on the table did nothing to cheer anyone up.
The day before, the Second-hand Persian cat had been put to sleep. Yes – in my previous post, I wrote that I hoped to avoid this. A couple more years, I said. Sitting in the sunshine, front porch, etc, etc. That’s what I wanted. I don’t know if that was what he wanted (if cats can even want things in that way) but it was what I wanted.
However, malfunctioning kidneys and consistent rapid weight loss kind of got in the way of all my grand plans for his future. Towards the end he was at the vet’s being fed mushy AD cat-food with a syringe, on a drip, dehydrated, and still losing weight.
Over the week, he went from 2.4 kilos to 2.1 kilos, to 2.0…. He got smaller, and smaller, and lighter, and lighter, and then he was gone.
His body lay wrapped in a blue silk shroud in his basket in the living room. Around him, I’d placed photos taken when he was younger, fluffier, fatter, and a good deal healthier.
At a certain point I picked up his tiny, skinny, cat-body, went outside into the rain and tearfully put him into the hole a friend had dug in the ground. Then I covered him over, my friend and my sister put some rocks on top, replanted the plants we’d dug up, and put in a new one. Then we went back inside. Such is the death of a cat.
This week I’ve been looking in op-shops for a small cat statue to put on the Second-hand Persian Cat’s grave. These places are usually veritable gold-mines for the kind of Persian-cat themed kitschery I desire, but for some reason, recent searches have yielded not a whisker.
I can only speculate on why this is. For example, a bus from the local nursing home may have recently discharged a group of little old ladies who subsequently stormed Dulwich Hill and Marrickville op-shops for Persian Cat paraphenalia, carting their loot back onto the bus with chirrups of exultant, old-lady, glee.
Or perhaps the Worldwide Society for the Breeding and Husbandry of Persian Cats had their annual conference at the local RSL club, and in the thirty minute break between the award winning talk: ‘A Flat Face is A Well-Bred face’ and the Cat Fancier Association’s groundbreaking powerpoint presentation ‘Vets Lie: Cats Don’t Really Need to Breathe’ went on a souvenir shopping spree.
In any case, I didn’t find anything. And Ebay yielded a similar lack of results.
Etsy, however, was a different story. Etsy.com: the wonderful online world of Craft meets Art meets small-scale Entrepreneurialism. A warning: It’s weird there.
Typing the search terms ‘Persian Cat’ into Etsy produces some kind of cataclysmic, sonic, hyper-tronic, telekinetic, boom in the cosmic kitch-palace interspaces of the universe. It’s like the Big Bang with cameo brooches, needlepoint, modelling clay and lots of ‘expressive’ acrylic brushstrokes.
Mind-blowing stuff, really. Crazy. And ultimately, gloriously twee.
So, dear readers, without further ado, I present the Second-hand Persian Cat Memorial Etsy Exhibition. Some works are chosen because they actually remind me of The Second-hand Persian Cat, some are chosen because they represent everything that is catastrophic (bad pun intended) about typing ‘Persian Cat’ into Etsy, and others are chosen for a little bit of both reasons.
1. Cat Fairy
A work of startling emotional depth, embracing themes of hope, love, inspiration, and fairy princess crowns. Oh, and indecipherable brown-coloured script and some dots. Puzzling, but very, very, pretty.
2. Cannibalistic Butterfly Cat
This next work continues our theme of ‘cats with wings’. Alarmingly, this cat/butterfly/genetic mutant may be about to catch and eat a member of (one of) its own species! Cat Fairy Princess surely would not be amused.
This one gets points for pure cuteness factor. And also, for resembling Sir Butterball in the days when he was a young, ferocious, hunter of caterpillars:
4. The Perfect Painting for the Dining Room Wall
I’m a bit shocked at this one actually. Persian cats are supposed to be silken-haired, regal, dignified, souls who would never dream that anything so crass as a toilet even exists. A bit like the Queen of England, they simply don’t do that sort of thing.
5. Stoned Kitty on a Playing Card
I’m actually thinking of purchasing this one. The fact that Mister Persian Cat looks a little, er, ‘under the influence’, merely confirms its vintage. It’s what everyone was doing in the Seventies, right?
6. Persian in Profile
So soulful… So enigmatic…
7. Persian Felted Sculpture
I actually think this one is kind of awesome. Its huge, ochre-coloured eyes are very arresting, and felt seems to be a perfect medium to depict Persian cat fur. It’s a large, oddly-shaped, ball of pure fluff, staring at you like you owe it something. Brilliantly accurate.
8. The Babushka Persian
Is this sad, scary, or both? I can’t decide. It reminds me a bit of the Second-hand Persian Cat in his last week. So it makes me sad. But mostly, it’s kind of cute. It also slightly resembles E.T. dressed in drag.
Is it the open gates of hell, perhaps? Or a portal to another universe? Actually, this is the scary alien-like interior of a typical Persian cat’s mouth – usually glimpsed only when yawning. Mr Second-Hand Cat used to frighten the bejesus out of me on a regular basis.
Here is another work in this series which is reassuringly pretty and whimsical. It reminds me of how The Second-hand Persian Cat used to love sunning himself. Although, come to think of it, this cat looks a little freaked out. As if someone just put him in a strange noisy thing called a car and drove hundreds of kilometers to a weird drippy tree-filled forest thing, and then plonked him down in a sunny spot to get some quick shots in before he scarpered and became the Godfather of the Forest Feral Cat population. But at least there’s not a multiverse portal in sight.
10. Cat Contemplates Universe
This one is just divine. Golly. That huge, wondrous, boundless, mysterious Universe. That cute fuzzy little fella looking up at it all. Makes me get all teary. Honest.
10. The Sailing Vessel You Can Eat
This one is unfortunately not Persian cat themed, but it’s okay, because it has DOLPHINS. Those deliriously happy, tuna-chasing, cancer-curing, new-age-movement-inspiring sea-mammals just make everyone’s day. And best of all, after our kitties finish their sailing fun, they can have a nice chewy snack.
11. ‘Charming’ Fluffy White Cats and Butterfly.
Once again, a depiction of these sadistic killer cats in action – hunting that beautiful and fragile symbol of peace and love – the butterfly. ‘Charming’? These cats would rip the head off a white dove given half a chance.
12. Another “Aaawwwwww…” Moment
Cuteness times ten, expressive brushstrokes, and it’s on a mouse-pad. Hmmmm, yes it does seem to be depicted bobbing up and down in a sea of green and blue, and therefore possibly drowning – but you can’t have everything, can you? And it’s got cute widdle whiskers. Aaawwwwww…
13. Persians with Power
This feisty lady-cat is hell-bent on vengeance. Unfortunately, whoever designed her dress, didn’t take into account the fact that she might want to walk through a door-way at some point, not to mention the fact that she really functions better when using four feet. Luckily, her portrait makes a stunning feature for this drawstring bag which according to the seller is perfect for tarot cards, oracle cards or even cosmetics. Lovely!
14. Pretty in Bubble-gum Pink
This little piece (sculpture? Ornament? Trinket?) really does seem to express something quintessentially Persian-catish. It’s just so darn cutesy, pink, and plasticky, and the way its little head is tilted on a slight angle is exactly how Mr Cat used to look up at me from the kitchen floor when ‘politely’ (ahem) inquiring after his dining arrangements. Anyway, I quite like it. And there are lollipops in the background. Take me to Persian Cat-land, Mr Second-hand. We will be dazzled by the many colours and eat sugar until our heads spin.
15. Last Drinks.
This is the end of the list folks. I quite like the cats depicted in this set of note-cards, actually. They look a little bit like bulldogs, and possibly owls, but only if you think about it too much. The blue cat looks rather down-hearted. Has he just heard some bad news? Perhaps bars with stripey orange wallpaper spotted with green, and rad eighties-looking table-cloths aren’t very cool any more. The tabby cat seems a bit perkier; bearing up the inevitable trials of life by sharing a glass of red with an old chum.
So, in the spirit of friendship, and alcohol: this last one’s to my old chum, the Second-hand Persian Cat. To the cat who was, magnificently and consistently, the Bestest Darn Cattest in the whole Wide Worldest. *drinks wine*. Aaaaah.