"Today is 'Independence Day' and that got me thinking about the most independent of creatures that walks the face of the earth; the humble moggie. Never doubt a cat's independence or intelligence as they possess a wisdom far beyond the breadth and scope of mankind's understanding. The last thing I would ever accuse a cat of is innocence. If a cat does something, we call it instinct; if we do the same thing, for the same reason, we call it intelligence.
Being on holiday in Ireland, I'll be travelling through Kilkenny from Dublin to Dingle Bay today, This naturally brought to mind the most independent man I ever knew; my father, who was Kilkenny born.
It is strange how important things in one's life blend and tend to come together at certain moments. Independence Day, independent cats, independent man from Kilkenny; all these things were to come together for me around 1999/2000.
Around the turn of the new Millennium, to help promote better understanding and relationships between children of different races, and in order to reduce racial discrimination between black and white teenagers, I set up a trans-Atlantic pen-pal project between the thirty two schools in Falmouth, Jamaica (the old slave capital) and thirty two schools in Yorkshire, England. This work was facilitated by me working with the Minister of Education and Culture in Jamacia along with the Custos (The Mayor) of Trelawny, Falmouth.
In conjunction with this project of raising cultural awareness and also to raise much needed money and resources for schools in Falmouth, Jamaica, I wrote 'The Kilkenny Cat Trilogy'. In these stories, which are suitable for teenager and adult reading, I used cats as the main story characters. I initially knew very little about cats then and in truth, I don't think I even liked them. At that time, cats were creatures I associated exclusively with the devil, witches' spells and suspicious spinsters. The three books took five years to research the many cat breeds and behaviours before writing and getting published. By the time I'd finished this trilogy, I felt that I knew cats pretty well and my respect for them had grown enormously.
Naturally, like all things that one gets to know more about and better understand, one usually gets to like. I stopped shooing cats from my garden and even got to the stage of stroking them and leaving out saucers of milk for the odd stray. Today, when I come across a person who loves cats, I am their friend and comrade, without further introduction. I would even go so far as to say that I've a sneaky feeling that people who hate cats are destined to come back as mice in their next life.
As I started to write my trilogy, I came across a book by the American author Robert A. Heinlein called, 'Stranger in a Strange Land'. Heinlein said, 'How you behave toward cats here below, determines your status in Heaven.'
The next time you see a pet owner call their dog, know that it will obediently come. Cat owners, however, know differently. Were they to call their pet, the cat would simply take their message on board and get back to them when they were good and ready!
Anyone wishing to read 'The Kilkenny Cat Trilogy' can purchase the books in e-book format from www.smashwords.com or in hard copy from amazon and www.lulu.com Please note that each is a lengthy book. All profits from sales of my books go to charity in perpertuity, to add to the £200,000 profits from the sales of my sixty four books since 1990."
Onward now to Dingle for my holiday.
William Forde: July 4th, 2015.