Thursday, October 21, 2010

Unlocking the Kitty Code

Hedge Revealed

I received a book recommendation a short time ago from, Rachel, an on-line friend and reader of this blog. She said that she was surprised that I hadn’t read “The Silent Miaow” by Paul Gallico. Not only hadn’t I read it, I’d never even heard of it. I love a good internet research project, so I began my search for information about this book. I quickly found it on and, after reading a summary, knew I had to have it. There are two versions of this book available; the original, which features black and white photography by Suzanne Szasz and her husband; and a more recent version with color photographs. I chose the original version and when it arrived I knew I had made the right choice.

“The Silent Miaow” is an instruction manual for cats written from a cat’s point of view. The author claims to have translated it from a manuscript written by a cat who he suspects is most likely Cica, the cat who owns Suzanne Szasz and her husband. After reading the book, I suspect that it was indeed authored by a cat. It has the ring of authority and authenticity that only one who is experienced in the field can lend to this sort of manual. Those of us who live with cats should be grateful that this information has been made available; those who haven’t read it, ought to waste no time in finding a copy of this book and absorbing this vital information.

Not only is “The Silent Miaow” as wonderful source of insight into how cats think, it is also a lovely collection of candid photos of the everyday life of a cat. So lovely, in fact, that, upon finishing the book, I immediately set my camera to “monochrome” and have been following Hedge and Quint around for the last couple of days snapping endless shots of them as they perform their daily routines. I’m finding that the black and white photos show more of the form and feeling of the cats without the distractions that come with all the pretty colors. It is also proving to be a superior way of capturing images of Hedge. It seems that the black and white setting works better for photos of a black cat.

Thanks to Rachel for the recommendation and thanks to Mr. Gallico and Ms. Szasz for the book. I’ve not only gained useful knowledge of my cats, but I’ve gotten a bit of artistic inspiration as well. This may well be the best $4.00 I’ve spent in a very, very long time.

1 comment:

  1. Coincidentally, as you were writing this, I was preparing this tribute to Suzanne Szasz.
    I knew her personally, as a child and teen, as she was a member of my extended family. I even knew the cat that was the subject of the book!