August 22, 2014
Last week I was visiting the family home in England and thought I would send Kim and Kelley a photo in case they were missing me.
So I took a photo with Timmy, who has been sitting on the mantelpiece in the living room there for the last sixteen years. Prior to that he spent several decades wrapped in a brown-paper parcel which his owner, Miss Klemm, had deposited at the back of a cupboard at her home in Pixmore Way, Letchworth, upon taking receipt of it from the taxidermist. Upon Miss Klemm’s death in 1998 at the age of 101 we inherited Timmy, amongst other things.
I sent the photo and next morning I got a text from a friend who had just logged onto the Breeders Facebook page. She wrote: “They shouldn’t have posted that photo on Facebook.” I replied, “Why? Too gruesome?” She said “Read the comments.” I said I certainly had no intention of doing so, and wrote back dismissively: people are far too sensitive if they are squeamish about a photo of a stuffed cat, who died of natural causes, in 1947.
“People are far too sensitive if they are squeamish about a photo of a stuffed cat, who died of natural causes, in 1947.”
In truth, I was glad I hadn’t sent the follow-up photo I had planned—a portrait with my sister Sarah’s tabby cat PeeWee, who disappeared one day in 1996, and who was discovered the following summer curled up, fur-less and mummified, under an upturned boat in the garden. He is now in the music room, along with several mice, also found spontaneously desiccated, to keep him company.
Several hours later, someone forwarded me a screenshot of the photo actually posted on Facebook which had caused offense—KIm feigning to asphyxiate Kelley, no cats in sight.