A stray that stole a heart

Napier Courier - - News - BY PE­TER WELLS

Mutzig the Clown Cat is about a stray that wan­dered into my life and took over my heart.

She got her name from a Czechoslo­vak clown who was vis­it­ing New Zealand. He left the cat be­hind and it lived with other, hun­grier cats in a house I flat­ted in. This would be in the early 1980s. Grad­u­ally I adopted Mutzig and she be­came my cat. She re­paid this by end­less af­fec­tion. An­i­mals sense moods in peo­ple and at times re­cently, when I have been sick with can­cer, my cats have been very sen­si­tive, some­times ap­proach­ing me cau­tiously, some­times just curl­ing up by my legs and tak­ing a sin­gle look at you, be­fore fall­ing asleep. Cats sense sad­ness as well as hap­pi­ness and love. That’s what I like about them.

I de­cided to write a small book to cel­e­brate chance and how we brush up against peo­ple and an­i­mals and some­times a rare elec­tric­ity oc­curs. So I set out to make the book with draw­ings done with a 2B pen­cil, typ­ing it out on my typewriter and then Xerox­ing them — very home-made low tech. It be­came my first book. At the time I was not re­ally a pub­lished writer and it meant a lot to me. I ‘printed’ 30 copies and sold them. (That so many peo­ple still have their copies and trea­sure them says some­thing about the wee book.) So this year I de­cided to get it printed on qual­ity pa­per and gen­er­ally im­prove the book’s pro­duc­tion val­ues. It’s still wee, but it’s a gor­geous wee book.

I grew up with cats and I think that pre­dis­poses you to lov­ing them. I like their si­lence, their com­pan­ion­ship. My Napier cat, Peg, is sit­ting right be­side me on a ta­ble as I write. . She likes the com­pany and I like her com­pany. She was found aban­doned in a back shed of a friend in Ahuriri. We adopted her and her sis­ter Parky. Peg is a tor­toise­shell, slow and af­fec­tion­ate. Parky was jet black and ad­ven­tur­ous and was even­tu­ally killed when some­one ran her over in the street.

We got an SPCA cat. He was a tall and thin male. He had been at the SPCA for a long time but no­body chose him be­cause he had one leaky eye. But he put on a bril­liant au­di­tion — ‘choose me’, ‘choose me’! So we did and he turned out to be the loveli­est cat, ex­tremely af­fec­tion­ate as if grate­ful for us choos­ing him.

■ This is a chance for some­one to own a col­lec­tor’s item of a book about a cat, in a small edi­tion, by an ac­claimed NZ author. Pe­ter will be sign­ing copies of Mutzig the Clown Cat at War­dini Books Napier, Thurs­day, De­cem­ber 20 at 5.30pm — $1 from each book sold goes to Napier SPCA. It’s also Napier’s late night shop­ping.

Peg is su­per­vis­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.