Cat Chess: The Story of a Search

Iris and Raven on Day One in February.

Iris and Raven on Day One in February.

Creativity. People ask how it works. It’s not that magical. Somebody says something that kicks your brain in a different direction. Then you do the work. The old one percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration equation. Except substitute listening for inspiration to make it correct. Not too impressive from that angle, right?

Supposedly they’re sisters, but it’s increasingly hard to believe. And harder to explain without automatic punning. In personality they are night and day. Raven, the black one, shows every sign of being a true feral, afraid of people just because. Iris, the impossibly white one, is a cuddle bunny now after six months of reluctance to be touched. Now she leaps up onto the couch and purrs like a Bugatti with no muffler. At the change of seasons this year we had a renewed mouse outbreak. Iris killed it, literally, in about a week. Her peak was three in one day. She’s Clint Eastwood with a loving purr.

Raven lives mostly by herself. She positions herself in our bay windows front and back of the house and watches the birds. She no longer runs at the sight of you but a single pat is all she will allow. My wife has made more progress with her than I have. She’s unferalizing herself. Very slowly.

The two of them have a complicated relationship with each other, sometimes chummy but more frequently competitive. They chase each other upstairs and downstairs, wrestle like they mean it, and use all their cat brains to ambush each other.

Happened again today. Raven was in the bathroom. Iris was in the hall, squinched up for a surprise attack when Raven emerged. Only it was the ambusher who got ambushed. Raven rocketed out of the bathroom, bashed Iris in the face and disappeared downstairs. Which is when my wife said, “And the White Queen gets taken.”

Aha! Eureka! All those creative interjections. And like all creative people in this day and age I knew I could make myself cool by doing a post about cat chess by pinching pics that were obviously already on the Internet. So I searched.

What I envisioned, what I believed I would find was a cat populated version of this.

You know. A great big chess board with black and cats enacting the game.

You know. A great big chess board with black and white cats enacting the game.

Didn’t find that. The best you get is this.

If this were about our past ferals Mickey and Cassie, it,would be great. But not for Iris and Raven.

If this were about our past ferals Mickey and Cassie, it would be great. But not for Iris and Raven.

So then you try cat chess black and white. Which gets you only this.

Yeah. We see the black and white theme. Cats? Not so much.

Yeah. We see the black and white theme. Cats? Not so much.

So then you think, okay, I’m not specific enough. Cat chess Black Queen White Queen.

Now we're getting somewhere, Imthought, right before I thought Oops! The missus won't like having inspired this, right?

Now we’re getting somewhere, I thought, right before I thought Oops! The missus won’t like having inspired this, right?

So you keep looking.

Better. But I dunno.

Better. But I dunno.

Uh, where were we when we started?

Uh, where were we when we started?

So then I’m thinking, cats don’t play chess. Queens don’t play chess. They just knock stuff over and attack things. They don’t care about no damn board full of tidy squares.

I go where I like.

I go where I like.

I do what I do. Like it or lump it.

I do what I do. Like it or lump it.

Can’t improve on that. Cats 100, Creativity 0.

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