Cat under a cold tin roof

An antidote for covid isolation

A cat is the perfect companion in this age of covid anxiety.

My cat is contemplative, like me. She looks out the window, lost in her own thoughts. I try to imagine what they are. Cleopatra? Catnip treats? Certainly not Covid.

She eats sparingly, like me. She is a spartan. She naps frequently, on the bed and on the sofa and in various chairs, like me.

She doesn’t read but she listens to me when I read to her, blinking her eyes from time to time which I’m told is a sign of contentment. I tell her there will no questions at the end so she doesn’t need to make notes. She keeps it all in her head. She keeps her own counsel.

Yet we communicate. I say good morning Bella Donna, and she replies succinctly in her own language. I ask her if she wants some special treats from the cupboard and her reply is more vocal.

If I stay up after ten o’clock watching a movie she jumps up on the arm of the armchair and puts her paw on my shoulder. Her message is clear: It’s time for bed.

So to bed we go and she curls up on the bottom of the bed, her body pressed against my legs. Ah, security. Warmth. Safety. Peace in the valley.

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Cat House

“What the hell’s the matter with this printer!”


Babe is writing her autobiography. The working title is ‘From Window to Window.’

The house in which she lives, which is also where I live, has twelve windows. During the course of a day, Babe, an indoor cat, looks at the outside world from each of them, getting a different perspective, a new POV each time. This is good for an observer, a philosopher, a thinker, a writer.

In terms of writing the book, her penmanship is scratchy at best so she elected me to be her scribe. She wanted it transcribed on parchment paper. When I told her parchment paper may have worked in the days of her ancestors during the glory days of Rome and Egypt, it is not a modern-day practice and would be unacceptable to a publisher.


“Two things,” she informs me, “first, modern-day practices are of zero interest to me, and second, I don’t give a rat’s ass about publishers. Mainstream publishers are responsible, I should say irresponsible [such a wordsmith, ole Babe] for all the so-called ‘popular’ garbage that’s out there — and that has less than zero appeal to me — and to you, too, I know for sure.”

“This is true,” I agree with her, “but if you want to get your book out to the people—” 

“Yo, Billy,” she cuts in, “that’s what WordPress is for!”

Bada bing, bada boom.

Babe is one smart cat.

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No venomous snakes in the bungalow

Bella Donna Michelini (aka Babe) has such stories to tell

Companionship of a cat

A cat, an indoor cat, is excellent company for an aging widower in Covid solitude.

Since being sentenced to an indefinite term of house arrest in a bungalow bereft of human companionship, I sleep a lot — or rather I stay in bed a lot, not so much sleeping as just lying in bed, and when not in bed, on the bed, reading and perusing the electronic ether. And thinking. Remembering. My wife most of all but also my son and my two brothers and my mother.

And the whole time Babe is curled up against my legs, secure in the warmth and safety of my presence.

Babe, I guess like most cats, is a philosopher not a do-er. She thinks a lot. When she’s not sleeping, she’s thinking. And also remembering.

It’s amazing to think that I was once a reporter dashing all over the place, all over the world in fact, with tremendous energy, and garrulous and gregarious to boot.

When I tell Babe this she stares at me with interest with a look that says, Hmmm, that is interesting — I’ve got a few stories myself.

I’m sure she has. Recently, over several nights, I read Shakespeare’s ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ aloud to her. She listened intently every night, nodding her head every now and then, her eyes bright with recollection. Her lips parted more than once as she appeared to mouth the name Tivali.*

When I got to the final scene of Act 5, where Cleopatra dies from the bite of the poisonous asp, Babe’s look turned almost painfully reflective. I closed the book and she jumped off the bed. Methinks she needed some time alone. 

Memories from one of her nine lives, I reckoned.

Companionship of a cat

* The name of Cleopatra’s favorite cat.

Cats in ancient Egypt were believed to be magical creatures that brought good luck to their owners. Cats killed venomous snakes and protected the Pharoah. Deities were depicted and sculptured with cat-like heads. Many cats were mummified.