The Magic of Cats

Mar 24, 2021 | 2021 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Pets

by Clea Simon

Details at the end of this post on how to win a signed copy of Clea’s new mystery A Cat On the Case, and links to purchase it.

Sometimes, the lack of a reaction tells you more than any startled gasp ever could. That’s what I’m realizing now that my A Cat on the Case, the third Witch Cat of Cambridge cozy mystery, makes its way to readers. The big shock? Cat people aren’t surprised by the idea that cats have magical powers. It’s as if they already knew.

Granted, the magic that the three cats in my books can perform has its limits. Harriet, the eldest of the three littermates and a big orange puffball of a feline, can “summon” objects out of the air. Laurel, the middle sister who takes after Siamese ancestors, influences humans with the power of suggestion. And Clara, the baby and the one most devoted to their human, Becca, can both “shade” herself into invisibility and pass through solid objects, like doors. (She secretly suspects that this might have to do with her calico spots, but I’m not telling.) And while some critics have scoffed at these powers, cat people by and large have accepted them without question.

This might not exactly be the case of “the dog that didn’t bark” which famously alerted Sherlock Holmes in “Silver Blaze”, but, to this writer, it’s just as telling. We humans have long viewed our feline companions as magical – or at least possessing powers beyond those of catching vermin or warming our laps on a cold night.

Some of this we all know. Cats, for example, are the most frequently cited “familiars” – or magical helpers – of witches in our folklore. And spooky stories from Edgar Allen Poe on down have told of “cat queens” who inherit mystical realms or possess psychic powers. When I was researching my nonfiction book The Feline Mystique: On the Mysterious Connection Between Women and Cats, I found that this linkage goes back millennia. The ancient Egyptians, for example, attributed divine powers to both women and cats; the cat-headed goddess Bastet (or Bast) had responsibilities that included controlling the flooding of the Nile as well as the brewing of beer, while the Norse goddess Freya scooped up fallen warriors in a chariot pulled by flying cats. The Hindu goddess Durga is linked to cats as well – specifically big cats, as she rides a lion into battle, while in South America, the divinity Tezcatlipoca often takes the form of a jaguar.

The sources of this global phenomenon are more elusive. Some of it may be as simple as cats’ innate grace. With their flexible bodies and excellent night vision, our feline companions often seem able to defy death, slipping away into darkness and reappearing again. The fact that they helped our ancestors survive, by protecting our harvests, gave them an added boost, as did their fertility and the apparent ease with which they birth multiple litters (all the more reason to spay or neuter your pet now!).

Of course, cats’ magic could also be in the way they draw us in, mesmerizing us with their beauty and playfulness. Could our favorite housecats be capable of more? Could they, in fact, be helping us live our lives – and solve our cases? Having been lucky enough to make the acquaintance of Clara, Laurel, and Harriet, I wouldn’t be surprised.

To enter to win a signed copy of A Cat On the Case, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and answer the question “What was the title of Clea’s very first cat mystery?” or comment with the answer on this article. You can find the answer on Clea’s website. A winner will be chosen April 3, 2021. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode went up last week.

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A former journalist, Clea Simon is the Boston Globe bestselling author of nearly thirty mysteries. These alternate between cozies like her new A Cat on the Case, the third witch cat of Cambridge mystery, and darker psychological suspense, Hold Me Down, coming Oct. 5. She can be reached at www.cleasimon.com.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.

15 Comments

  1. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Glen! But if you want to enter for a free copy, please see above – you have to answer a question to enter!

      Reply
    • Thank you, Glen! If you’d like to enter to win a copy, please see Lorie’s instructions above (we’re asking people to answer a question). Best of luck! – Clea

      Reply
  2. New author for me, sounds good! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

    Reply
    • Thanks for your interest, Teresa! But if you want to enter for a free copy, please see above – you have to answer a question to enter!

      Reply
  3. This is a new series to me. I have two great cats, Hamilton and Jefferson, and I believe they do have magical powers and they are great “familiars” in some of the books I’ve read. Looking forward to starting the series.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Dianne! I hope you do! And if you want to enter to win a copy, please see Lorie’s instructions above (we’re asking that you answer a question). Pets to Hamilton and Jefferson!

      Reply
      • Clea’s first cat mystery was “Mew Is For Murder”.

        Reply
  4. What a great plot! And the cat on the cover looks a lot like my Hemi.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Alicia! If you’d like to enter to win a free copy please see Lorie’s instructions up above! (You have to answer a question in the comments or email her the answer). – Clea

      Reply
      • The first cat mystery was Mew is for Murder, the Theda Krakow series.

        Reply
  5. I’m a sucker for any book with cats on the cover! And the book was called Mew Is For Murder. Thanks for the chance! JL_Minter(at)hotmail(dot)com

    Reply
  6. Thank you for the chance to win your great signed book!!!!!
    Sounds great and I love the cover!

    Reply
  7. A Spell of Murder

    Reply
  8. We have a winner!

    Reply

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  1. The magic of cats … and a giveaway | Clea Simon - […] wrote about cat magic for Kings River Life this week – and we included a giveaway! You’ve got to…

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