Interview with a Tiny God

Submitted into Contest #187 in response to: Write about a cat living in an ancient temple, like the Acropolis.... view prompt


Fiction Funny

The humans brought high-quality offerings this morning. They laid fresh fish and rotisserie rat at the feet of their statue meant to honor me and my siblings, and the bounty was delicious. Now, lazy with fullness (and cat-ness), I must do my part to hold the temple in place. It would be catastrophic if it were to get too light and blow away in the breeze, so I'll be right here, ensuring that my body mass will contribute to the safety of all who enter this holy space.

Thankfully, these humans don't seem to be the type to stumble around carelessly and trip on cats; I feel safe to hold my position, belly-up on the steps to the front entrance. The best part of this job is that I get to nap and am no less fulfilling my duties! In fact, by the way the humans coo at me, I would argue that napping is half the job.

At some point, I'll need to test the warmth of the sun, too. In order to do this I check the calibration of my belly-thermometer by spreading my legs and toes out as far as they go, and I compare the warmth on my belly to the warmth that kisses the skin between my paw pads. If there's a difference, well… There's really not anything I can do about it, but I know it's important that I do it anyway.

 When I've completed my aforementioned daily duties, I'll finally be able to retire into the temple to rest after such hard work. One of my many, many siblings will take over for me.

Some of my favorite places to rest will garner me copious scratches and pats from little humans who escape their parents and others help me to hide and enjoy peace and quiet. There's also my favorite spot, which feels like the middle point between the other two: If I lounge on one of the statues, only very brave children will approach me, and all else will just worship me quietly and without disturbance.

I quite like brave children. Brave children aren't afraid of being curious; curiosity is my most treasured virtue.

Children are almost always the dirtiest humans, though, and cleanliness is my second-most-treasured virtue. No matter how diligently the humans try to sweep, the floors of this temple will never be perfectly clean. I will always find that my paws are dusted with fine dirt and that I've left tracks behind me, clearly detailing to any predators or nuisances exactly where I've been and where I'm going. Most of my siblings don't mind this, but my night-colored fur shows dirt much easier than any of theirs. It also serves as a deep disadvantage when I'm outside during the day, all bright colors and sunshine–if it weren't for the offerings of the humans I would starve because I can't hunt when I'm exposed like that! For the same reason–my miserable excuse of common camouflage–I'm a bit hypervigilant of potential predators. The thought of leaving a trail behind me is certainly a discomforting one. Perhaps I'm being melodramatic–after all, the humans are severely protective and I've only seen a dog get into the temple twice within the last three season-cycles. Both times, the humans were yelling and chasing it, so we cats had plenty of warning to hide.

 Sometimes I wish I had the option of strapping a cover to my paws like the humans do. Their hind paws seem to be so much more protected than a cat's; however, their toes barely touch the major pad, so I suppose we just can't be the same there. After all, their attempts at climbing are… lackluster. At best.

Speaking of skills the humans aren't exactly adept with, their communication skills are abysmal, to put it gently. I can very clearly say, "I require a bit of fish for sustenance and contentment," and the response might be some gibberish that sounds like, "Oo wa witty ssso coooot! A pep uh bebby," before reaching down to run a hand across my back.

While this isn't the intended outcome, it is often pleasant anyway.

Ah! All this thinking made time fly much faster than I was expecting. It's well past time for my sun-stretch test. Technically I can still make sure that the temperature of the universe is consistent across belly and paws, but it's not as warm now that the sun is lower in the sky, so I don't want to. Instead, I think it's time to wiggle a bit to let the humans know that I am open to (and expecting) pets and scratches.

I only need to wait a moment before a squealing child darts toward me against its mother's command. 


"Nait, nait! Ool tare im abay. Off epffs."

"Nut itty! A dus ant uh pep im."

"Cats ah ammals at we-quiah at ee awoatch em wit off epffs. Ee waff uh bi dehntul an eet em wit weshpet. Cats ah ilden uh da tods."

The human child clearly has nothing but sweet intentions, but its mother is right–I think–that we are children of the gods. As much as I would enjoy a good chin scratch right about now, I can't risk the child getting the wrong idea and learning that cats are welcoming of such abrupt behavior. If it calms down, I will bless it with my touch; however, its face and forepaws look rather wet and more grimy than the rest of it, so I don't imagine whatever made those areas particularly sticky will be contributing to a calm demeanor any time soon. Besides–sticky, dirty pets? Even the most desperately attention-starved of cats would cringe at that, I imagine.

Then again, I can't fairly assume the decisions of an attention-starved cat, as my lifestyle could never afford me that particular identity. There are easily ten million humans waiting to be brushed by my face, to be marked as mine, and the only reason they aren't lined up to attain that gift is because they must busy themselves with the work required to maintain my happiness.

For example, I can see the tom-human with thick, long whiskers down the road. Every day, that tom cuts meat into chunks–some large, some small–and I know that the people he calls to his den are eager to exchange shiny things for the meat so that they can bring it to me and my siblings. There's a short, stout molly a little closer to the temple that spends her time on the magic of turning sheep into the soft fabric that makes up our temple's decorations, which also serve as wonderful claw-sharpening material and are quite pleasant to curl up in once pulled down off the wall. Children older than the one that tried to approach me earlier can be seen darting from building to building, exiting with bundles of goods that I know are surely going home to be prepared as an offering. Sometimes the children wave goodbye to the tom or molly they've visited, and other times they dash out into the street, chased by an angry adult. There are humans of all ages and sexes that sit in the same spot at the side of the road all day, every day, begging their siblings to share their goods with them so that they can bring them here and be blessed; the most devout of these come here quickly, but some others hide out of sight of the temple for a short time before approaching with a small-but-still-acceptable offering.

 Those devout humans are my favorite ones to visit in secret at night, when I am well camouflaged. Their dedication earns them occasional gifts of their own, which is an opinion that I share with many of my siblings, so we bring them fresh game and curl up next to their sleeping bodies, as is any cat's prerogative to do. I think a lot of us do the same for the humans that take their time and bring smaller offerings, though, as something about them feels like they could be kindred spirits to many of us.

I know, as do my siblings, that if these humans had the ability to accomplish all of the tasks necessary to run a successful and devout colony and visit us every day, they would. We also know that this would be kind of awful because we'd be overrun! There would be nothing but human attention, all of the time. Most of us are happy to accept quite a bit of love and praise, even expect to receive it, but all of us need some alone time.

As such, all of this recitation of my life has been an exercise of my social energy. I'm not shocked that I've been able to give such an in-depth report of my daily activities–because I am a child of the gods and therefore possess superior strength, endurance, and constitution–but I must admit that I am quite tired of this. Thus, I leave you with a particularly rare and special blessing for your acute attention in addition to the perfunctory look at my butthole: a peek at the tip of my tongue, which I will leave visible from between my lips for some time. You are welcome for all that I have bestowed upon you. Go away.

March 04, 2023 00:58

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.