The Tantric Tao Of Clive Bond


Should I be concerned that my cat has to think for a very long time before doing anything at all?

I don’t mean when he’s hunting. When he’s hunting he’s razor-sharp with mighty fine reaction times to a point of movement.

No: my concern refers to the time a cat takes to decide to do something everyday, or mundane.

I think I have mentioned before that our family cat, Clive Bond, has spent long hours just sitting next to the cat flap staring at it. He would just sit there staring, and I would sit there watching him, because what goes in in a cat’s head at a time like that? What?

There are many possibilities.

One is that the cat is a great spiritual force in the fabric of the universe, striving with his mighty grasp of Yin and Yang, his tantric Tao, to balance the crazy antics of the humans which threaten the gauze-thin equilibrium of the globe. Like a swan, it is possible there is more deep thought going on in that cat’s head than in that of the Dalai Lama.

The second, less extreme option is the cat is conducting risk assessment worthy of the most bureaucratic town council in the land. He weighs up the pros and cons of going out into the big wide world. He thinks about the advantages: voles,birds, leaves, outside smells, adventure; and also the disadvantages: foxes, rain, puddles.

Somewhere in his brain a form is filled in, in triplicate.

The option I do not want necessarily to think about is that actually, there is almost nothing going on between those two handsome black ears.

And I’ll tell you a little incident which leads me to believe this may be the case.

Despite my best laid plans, time ran away with us yesterday, and we ended up having fish and chips for tea.

Phil and Felix came home from an evening football practice and sat, chomping fish happily. And as always, Phil saved a small juicy piece of cod for the cat.

This is a small tradition which has remained from the last feline regime. Our old cat, Kit Kat, accepted the offering as a divine right. Tonight Phil placed the small piece on newspaper dircectly on the Β arm of the sofa.

And Clive Bond looked at it for a very long time. Whether it was not part of the Tao, or the risk assessment was a particularly complicated one, he made no move towards it. Rather, he just sat and thought fish for a while.

But a while was not his to think.

For on the floor beneath the sofa sat a figurative shark with hidden talents and floppy ears.

Remember Pele and that banana kick? Even today it floors us, that incredible swerve to avoid all adversaries and hit the goal with effortless accuracy.

The dog has clearly been working on something similar. For months now, when no-one is looking, he has been practising his moves, perfecting his technique. And as the cat stared thoughtfully at the piece of cod in his sights, Macaulay sidled up to the side on the sofa and did a banana-leap, curving in from a vertical approach to snatch the cod neatly from the between the cat’s paws.

Did that just happen? The humans roaded, and chuckled, and compared notes.

But I would venture to say that the cat had not even properly registered the cod yet. He had been right in the middle of the inventory (cod, one piece, battered, 1cm x 1cm) when it was not there any more.

Clive contemplated the codless space.

Perhaps he was thinking of Sartre: “All which I abandon, all which I give, I enjoy in a higher manner through the fact that I give it away…. ”

Or alternatively, perhaps there was not very much going on at all.


55 thoughts on “The Tantric Tao Of Clive Bond

  1. I think the key here is that he is a boy. I don’t want to sound sexist or cattist but the two village cats that visit us- Fatso and Mami- could not be more different. Fatso will sleep on his back with his legs akimbo oblivious to everything in the world. You scratch his belly and he doesn’t even move. Mami, who really is his Mum and should be like him, sleeps with her paws folded in and one eye half open. If the air moves anywhere near her she is instantly alert and ready to hunt it. Mind you Fatso never really grew up and still hangs around with Mami a lot even though he is twice her size, so there might be something a bit adolescent going on there as well. Look forward to hearing more about Clive Bond who looks like a handsome cat.

    1. Hi Jason! You may be on to something here; our old cat was a girl and she was quick as lightning right up to the day she died. Clive is so laid back he is usually horizontal.

  2. Perhaps he was debating whether to accept the cod or hold out for, say, caviar. Or perhaps he was trying to become one with the cod, to understand it before consuming it. Obviously Mac did not appreciate the significance of the moment.

  3. Clive was obviously lost in contemplation of metaphysical mysteries beyond our comprehension …
    Fragments of cod snatched by opportunist canines were of no consequence.

  4. ah Kate, the trials and tribulations of the animal kingdom. Far too much thought hence a goodie well and truly lost to a quicker adversary,… Many a time I’ve missed out myself on something offered, and whilst methinks, ‘should I go for the smaller cake/slice/piece?’ …. the option windows has well and truly closed.. with a big bang. ..Good post and hilarious read …xPenx.

  5. Mac has seniority in the household and asserts himself to maintain relevance as he deals with a much younger companion. I know the feeling. Ha! I’ll build on Penny’s statement: You snooze, you lose! I am quite sure Clive took it all in, however, and will work on his Ninja moves!

  6. I highly doubt that Clive Bond giving the appearance of being The Great Shrewsday Family Ruminator is the case considering that the size of a cat’s brain is probably 1/10th that of a Pez candy. After Mac performed his deft fish-snatching, did the cat even think to bop him on the snout?

  7. What IS it with cats? Mine do that too. My beloved Kitty Emeritus, Pickles, one stared at a piece of paper for about 10 minutes. She also stood in one position for at least 5-7 minutes, perfectly still, apparently contemplating whether she was going to walk or sit down. She ended up sitting down. I’m just glad she didn’t make that decision in haste.

  8. You are all clearly missing the obvious. The actions of cats are based on Newton’s Fourth Law of Motion:

    For every action there is a risk of being undignified.

  9. Now entering my 4th year with a black cat…you are spot on. I quote you

    “One is that the cat is a great spiritual force in the fabric of the universe, striving with his mighty grasp of Yin and Yang, his tantric Tao, to balance the crazy antics of the humans which threaten the gauze-thin equilibrium of the globe. Like a swan, it is possible there is more deep thought going on in that cat’s head than in that of the Dalai Lama.” πŸ™‚

  10. Way to gain the upper hand, Mac! As for poor Clive, I think I shall choose either the bureaucrat or the French philosopher. I can’t bear for him to be an empty beauty.

  11. I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about what cats are thinking about–if they are–thinking about anything, that is. I swear I can tell when Maggie is calculating height of something or doing some math calculation. Sometimes she will jump on a catnip mouse, sometimes she will just sit there and look at it. What is she thinking? Is she thinking? It takes up a lot of my brain power to figure it all out.

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