This week Beth Cato returns to Futures with her story The human is late to feed the cat. A feline take on the end of the world, this story is not the first time Beth has explored the apocalypse for Futures — she’s also indulged in Post-apocalyptic conversations with a sidewalk, and wrestled with the problem of getting decent bread in space. Author of the Clockwork Dagger steampunk fantasy series, Beth can be found at her website (where you can also find an amazing array of mouthwatering cake recipes) or on Twitter. Here, Beth kindly reveals what inspired her latest tale — as ever, it pays to read the story first.
Writing The human is late to feed the cat
I often write short stories about the apocalypse. I try to find fresh angles to address the topic, and I frequently look to my own life for inspiration. In this case, my muse was my cranky sixteen-year-old tabby cat.
Porom had a health scare this past year that required her diet change to include prescription low-protein canned food and liquid medication. She must be fed and dosed twice a day. I have never encountered a cat who is so happy to be medicated, but then, she’s also the most gluttonous and lazy cat I have ever known. She’s also hopelessly devoted to me and to our routines. If I’m not in my appropriate chair by 8:30 each night, she will find me (usually at the computer) and scream at me until I go to my proper place. She then cuddles against my hip while I drink hot tea and read.
If I am late to feed Porom, if I am late to go to my chair, it’s like the world is ending for my indignant fat cat. I could be near death and dragging myself in the front door, and Porom would mew and guide me to where I should be.
That’s the impetus of my story. I take on the cat’s point of view as the human world collapses. It made for a fun experiment as a writer, and I hope it’s a tale that many pet caretakers can relate to. It’s a short enough read that it shouldn’t delay any scheduled feeding times, either.