Lovecraft, Lovecraft-H.P.

The Cats of Ulthar

The Cats of UltharThe Cats of Ulthar

The city of Ulthar decreed that no one could kill a cat and the reason for this decree is as follows.

Years ago, the city of Ulthar housed people and cats. Most people liked the cats because they were nice to cuddle with and they kept the mice and rats away. There was, however, one couple who hated cats. In fact, they killed cats, all the time. People would hear noises in the middle of the night that would signify the end of somebody’s cat. No one had gone to confront the couple about their felinicide because the couple was off-putting.

A band of gypsies came into town. Among these gypsies was a small boy named Menes, who had not father or mother. His only companionship was a black kitten. One day, the kitten disappeared. When Menes heard about the awful couple in town he began to pray in a strange language to the sky. Strange storm clouds arose. Things were strange, but the gypsies soon left.

Something else strange also happened. All the cats disappeared. Some blamed the gypsies, while some blamed the cat-killing couple. Nobody knew where the cats had gone, although a small child claimed to have seen the cats, all of them, at the home of the cat-killing couple. The cats were circling the house, marching around it in rows of two. Nobody took this seriously as it had come from a small child. Not long after all the cats returned to their homes, not one was missing. None of the cats would eat for two days, however. They all seemed fat and overly plump.

Some time passed and no one heard anything out of the cat-killing couple. No cats went missing. Some officials finally decided to check on the loathsome couple as no one had seen, nor heard from them. They forced the door to the house open. Inside they found two skeletons, perfectly picked clean of any flesh. From this point forward, it was decreed that no one in Ulthar should kill a cat.

Observations

H.P. must have liked cats.

Themes

Killing animals just to kill them is bad. This couple wasn’t killing cats because they got into their chickens. They weren’t killing the cats for food. They weren’t killing the cats out of self-defense. They were simply killing cats for the heck of it. Animals are lifeforms and you only kill them for good reasons. If you eat chicken, it’s perfectly ok to kill a chicken to eat. It’s not ok to see a chicken walking across a road and then kill it just because. What did that chicken ever do to you that you needed to kill it? Nothing, probably. I mean, sure, if you had some chicken that terrorized you, for some reason, like it wandered onto your property every night and deliberately pooped all over your porch, it pecked your dogs bloody, it pulled up all the seedlings out of your vegetable garden, it squawked at your menacingly from the treeline each time your left your house–then, yes, maybe if you get a chance, kill that creepy chicken because it’s obviously possessed by demons.

Cats are one of those things that people hate for no reason. People will brag about hating cats. I don’t understand it because I love cats. I used to say that my backup plan to life was living in the woods in a cottage with a hundred mentally handicapped cats. I think it made me feel better about being a cat lady to say that the cats needed my help somehow. Cats aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, probably because they don’t like cat fur in their tea, but that’s no reason to go around killing cats, no reason at all. They’re creatures that live and breathe and anyone who would just go around killing the poor things, is a jerk, and probably also in the employ of Satan.

If you really don’t like cats, just substitute another animal, that you like, in for every mention of cats in this post and you get the idea about the couple in this story being some heinous people.

Overall

Don’t be a jerk, leave the poor kitties alone.

Weigh In

How cool of a place does Ulthar sound? No one can kill the cats there. Cats for everyone!

Did this couple get what they deserved? Could you look at your cat the same way knowing it had helped pick a person’s flesh off their bones?

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