"The Evolution of Cats" by Jose Pena

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Introduction

We have evolved into our present state (though that process appears to have slowed and even reversed in many of us). So what is the next evolutionary step? That third eye used solely for social networking? Or is it more likely our trusted feline companions will be the next evolutionary leap? Jose Pena explores the possibility in this week’s Flash Fiction piece. What would you do if cats could talk?

Send in your submissions (flashfiction@sacurrent.com) before the typing dogs beat you to it.

—Lyle Rosdahl

“The Evolution of Cats” by Jose Pena.

The first incident occurred in Cuartito, a small south Texas town along the Nueces River.  An elderly gentleman, free from the burdens of work, had taught his cat to speak Spanish. The cat, an orange tabby, was appropriately named Charla, because even as a kitten it had the habit of meowing incessantly.

Within the confines of their home, the cat articulated words like comida and agua when it was hungry or thirsty.  It mouthed salutations and was learning to carry a tune with the help of its owner. The two could almost sing “Besame Mucho” in complete unison and the fact had begun to startle some. What many had long thought to be impossible had come to fruition and this seemingly miraculous event had begun to enter the realm of vicious scrutiny.

While the greater public found the talking cat a curiosity, they dismissed it as a hoax or an attempt at deception with little merit.  They reasoned that the old man must be playing the role of a ventriloquist or that the cat was a freak of nature, an oddity; it was a parrot that had simply learned to mimic.  Yet others believed the cat was the first of more.  They believed they were witnessing the evolution of cats and this was perhaps the first.  And if this held true, it would endanger everything they knew as real.  They feared that Charla, the talking cat, could in fact be the harbinger of greater chaos and secretly longed for her to be destroyed.


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