Hümdinger’s Cats

“Hümdinger’s Cats” (26 August 2020) — digital collage by AleXander Hirka

Kugel is Mrs. Hümdinger’s cat. Kugel was also Mrs. Hümdinger’s cat. The cats were identical so she called them by the same name.

It all began when Kugel snuck out of the apartment. Mrs. H had tossed the cat a catnip mouse to play with while she showered. When she came out the living room window was open as she’d left it, but the screen had been pushed aside. And there was no sign of Kugel.
She called her good friend Mrs. S, who calmed her down, suggesting she set some food out on the fire escape.
And sure enough—she was awakened at 2 a.m. by a noise—and there was Kugel at the window.

The next day Mrs. Hümdinger was typing at her desk. A retired teacher, she kept her creativity energized by writing lovely short fiction pieces — which she calls “Appetizers” — for various literary magazines.
Suddenly she heard scratching at the window screen — but from outside! — and there was Kugel.
How ever did you get out there? she asked, expecting nothing more in response than the meow she got.
Kugel came in—delighted in the usual round of petting—then sauntered over to the mirror by the front door. Kugel liked looking at herself in the mirror.

A little while later Mrs. H looked over and Kugel was playing rather frantically with her own reflection.
But wait, no—she was actually playing with. . . another cat. Another identical cat!
Mrs. H rushed over and the two cats stopped their tumblitude and began rubbing themselves against her—exactly as Kugel had always done. She looked them over with great care but could not tell one Kugel from the other.

Mrs. S. came over the next day but was of no help. She’d spent plenty of time around Kugel but was unable to identify either as the One True Kugel.
Guess your cat food and litter bill just went up, she said. You’ve got two Kugels.

Mrs. H adjusted to having twin cats whose meandering, litterbox schedules, naps, even vomiting after eating too fast, were indistinguishable.

But then one day she called Mrs. S in distress.
I don’t expect you to believe me.
I was just sitting at my desk writing. The catnip mouse was being batted around the apartment. I wasn’t paying much attention until a meow diverted my glance. From where I sat it looked like Kugel had walked right into the mirror. I mean like Alice—into the looking glass. I rushed over and there was Kugel, sitting looking into the mirror, like she does, catnip mouse at her feet. Alone. I checked—the window was closed.
Kugel is gone! I don’t think she’ll come back.

Mrs. S chatted with her for a while, reassuring her that she believed every word. There is much in life we just don’t undertstand. Especially regarding cats.
But anyway, she added, I guess your cat food and litter bill just went down again.

Kugel is Mrs. Hümdinger’s cat.

© AleXander Hirka 2020. All Rights Reserved.

Read RemingtonWrite’s version here:

In August 2020, I set myself the challenge of creating a daily digital collage based on an image and a concept. The image was that of the antique Omega watch that belonged to my Mom and the concept was Time.
In September 2020, the
Anomalous Duo is challenging themselves to write a short piece of fiction for each collage — the Our Hours project.

Writer, visual artist, philosopher, autodidact, curmudgeon. More than half of what i do is make believe. https://alexanderhirka.nyc

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