Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Enter Miss Bunny

Get to Know the Manx: A Mighty Hunter and Sweet Companion - Catster


"Isn't two years an awfully long time for a cat to be at a shelter without being 'adopted'?" I ask.

My question seems to nonplus the director.

"There's nothing wrong with her," she hastens to assure me, misreading my question.

I hadn't really thought that there was; actually, I was just curious.

It's been three years now since Squeak the Fearless died, in the autumn of the first covid year, and it's time: a house needs a cat.

Besides, witches love the anomalous. With my special affinity for Manx—the stubby-tailed ("stumpies") and tailless ("rumpies") cats of the Isle of Witches—Bunny would have to be a drooling psycho-kitty for me not to like her.

All is explained when we enter the cat room.

Immediately, I'm engulfed in a rising tide of cats: cats rubbing against my ankles, cats head-butting me; cats making nice.

Meanwhile, alone in the center of the room, identified by her eponymous gray stumpy tail, lies Miss Bunny: dignified, aloof. I think of aloof's original meaning: facing into the wind.

Well, there's all the explanation those two years will ever need. Ain't that just like life? The friendly (read: needy) ones always get 'adopted' first.

Ugh. Dogs trapped in the bodies of cats, I call them. Independence requires boundaries. Give me aloof any day of the lunar month.

I crouch and extend a finger. Bunny sniffs at it delicately, then permits me to stroke her fur and rub her ears. She does not get up. Not unfriendly: just a cat with a life very much her own.

Any day of the lunar month.

"I think Bunny and I are going to get along just fine," I tell the director.


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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


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