THE CAT’S SONG
Mine, says the cat, putting out his paw of darkness. My lover, my friend, my slave, my toy, says the cat making on your chest his gesture of drawing milk from his mother's forgotten breasts.
Let us walk in the woods, says the cat. I'll teach you to read the tabloid of scents, to fade into shadow, wait like a trap, to hunt. Now I lay this plump warm mouse on your mat.
You feed me, I try to feed you, we are friends, says the cat, although I am more equal than you. Can you leap twenty times the height of your body? Can you run up and down trees? Jump between roofs?
Let us rub our bodies together and talk of touch. My emotions are pure as salt crystals and as hard. My lusts glow like my eyes. I sing to you in the mornings walking round and round your bed and into your face.
Come I will teach you to dance as naturally as falling asleep and waking and stretching long, long. I speak greed with my paws and fear with my whiskers. Envy lashes my tail. Love speaks me entire, a word
of fur. I will teach you to be still as an egg and to slip like the ghost of wind through the grass.
- Marge Piercy
I didn’t expect it from a documentary about cats but Ceyda Torun’s Kedi was exactly what I needed to watch right now. Set in Istanbul, following the lives of seven cats and the humans they live amongst, the focus is feline but its essence is a profound portrait of community.
Celebrating Istanbul as a city of cats upon cats, Torun turns her lens towards those that live on the streets. Neither wild nor tame, these cats belong to no-one and everyone, and they’re everywhere.What’s evident is that far from a nuisance, Istanbul’s residents view them as essential. Pretty much the heart of their city.
Sounds a little twee? It can be. It’s also affectionate and contemplative, provoking true emotion at the beauty of the world. Not shying away from an almost cartoonish cat’s eye view, the seven featured areanthropomorphised to quite an incredible degree. It serves a purpose though: the cats are so distinct in their personalities, proclivities and needs and this is mirrored in the humans that we meet along the way.What’s obvious too is how much the human-feline relationship is so mutually beneficial. The residents of Istanbul have taken it upon themselves to care for these creatures to a heart-wrenching degree but so much is reaped. The cats ground people, while simultaneously pointing to the Divine. More than one testifies to the way they’ve changed their lives.
In a world growing ever more bewildering in its decisions, to be reminded of kindness and care, of community, of our oneness with nature – that's no small thing.