You will, I hope, excuse me for involving your columns in this matter, but I am sure that when you consider the facts, you will realise that no worthier cause could engage your attention and assistance.
I am looking for the simple recipe for an aspect of the genus felis domestica, in particular that of the male of the species, commonly known as the 'tomcat'. Specifically I am looking for the composition for the odour associated with the animal: - tomcat odour, hereafter referred to as 'TCO'.
Some forty-five years ago I was informed on the highest authority, by a Ministry Inspector of H.M. Government, no less, that while the animal itself may engage all the subleties of its genetic prescription and composition in producing the elemental substance, in fact the olfactory effect of the complex material basic to TCO consists of just two ingredients, one of them 'a common household substance'.
However, in spite of the apparent simplicity of its synthesis, and despite my most careful research over the past half century, I have been, and indeed remain, totally unable to trace either of the two ingredients, and therefore resort to your columns as a means of achieving my purpose.
- Which is what? you may well enquire.
To authenticate the relevance of my requirement, perhaps I should mention that during the year 1956 it happened that I had rooms in the most exclusive part of an elegant town in the South West of England. The owner, a somewhat eccentric lady of stern and excruciating distinction, had eight or nine cats, one of whom, by name Asmodeus, was a tomcat, said to be unapproachable. However, I have a way with cats, and one day in my absence, I being a person of casual disposition and England in those days still being a country where you could leave doors unbarred and such simple 'possessions' that one had unattended, Asmodeus found my door not only unlocked but open and welcoming. Doubtless he was disappointed to find me away, but to inform me of his visit he courteously left his calling card on the hearth. My return revealed to me his message and I closed the door to maintain confidence with him in keeping his discreet call a matter between ourselves. A person of some resource, I also sought some means to erase the evidence of his visit. It was in liquid form conventional to felines, so I thought it best to dry it, lit the gas fire and raised the movable hearth in front of the heat. It is no exaggeration that to sustain life I immediately found it necessary to hang out of the window - it was on the fourth floor - to keep myself from instant suffocation.
(Ah, how clearly I hear - again in memory I hang there choking and blinded by tears - the merry jangle of a steel band - my first experience of the sound - passing on a lorry through the leafy park beyond the garden, to provide the newly-invented 'teenagers' fresh distraction from their newly-imposed twin obscenities of 'rock and roll'. How could any of us have suspected then what it would portend, and what past and long-covert activity it would all-too-late reveal? We were innocent in those days and, after all, weren't they so friendly? and true, the infusion of new blood it would bring to our old bones so tired of fighting others' wars and aching still from bearing their burden . . . How I gasp and choke still . . .)
Therefore, in view of the present lamentable situation which has now overtaken the planet, such a simple remedy to all the world's ills obviously suggests itself. However, I cannot devise nor yet imagine the two simple ingredients to bring about such remedy without at least one of them or perhaps both being the tomcat itself. Oh, simple and ideal enough on the face of it to send a package which only on opening mixes two innocuous substances to immediately evacuate the premises and probably the area, but in the very nature of the mixture lies the problem. Now, there are a mere few specific locations particularly in America and in the Middle East which, by being evacuated and rendered uninhabitable for a time, would solve, or at least establish a sound basis for the solution of, most if not all of the world's problems in one fell swoop and bring solace to all the suffering species of an entire planet - The White House, Pentagon, Knesset and Whitehall immediately spring to mind. So peculiarly appropriate are they all for such a measure that they invite, nay, make imperative, action of such a kind. However, a package containing at least one wriggling, spitting and all-too-animate element might not go unsuspected before reaching the crucial opening-and-mixing stage of the operation.
Therefore I address myself to the more earnest and knowledgeable Readers of this column. In case anyone should know either of the two ingredients of TCO, and one of them, please remember, is 'a common household substance', then please provide the information via the amenity afforded by the 'comment' facility below. Or, more ideally, should anyone know both, then please feel free, without my further involvement - just remember to keep them separate until the package is opened, and send your parcels to the above-mentioned locations. - Oh, and you might as well throw in Congress and the Senate too, for any real value they have, and all the other corrupt Parliaments and negligent Palaces around the globe that have proved their worthiness of this measure in acquiescing to the drafting of their countries into the totally illegal 'coalition of the willing'. - If you would be so kind. The world will be eternally grateful. And after all, isn't it so much tidier than bloodshed? Otherwise . . . Because clearly one or other has to be done. And we don't have much time, do we?
NB: felis sylvestris, the now-rare native 'wildcat' may differ from felis domestica in ways other than gestation period, so researchers are urged not to be misled to try any experimentation or involvement with these also somewhat less compliant animals. They have enough problems with humans as it is. As, on sober reflection, do the rest of us.