Fathom 2007



Inside Cover



Kirby Best (3)
Michael Da Silva (2)
Jean-Marc Prévost
Heather Ingram and Alana Paul
Eli Burnstein (2)
Chris Rice
Benjamin Mitchell (2)


Amos Sarrouy
Vincenzo A. Ravina
Jesse Hilz
Ashleigh Gaul


Alex Picot-Annand


Amos Sarrouy



The Cat is on the Mat

     I sat turned away from my computer gazing at the cat, which sat on an old woven mat my mother had given me. I was supposed to be working, but instead I was basking in the contentment that came off of this cat in waves. I wasn’t sure that you had noticed the cat when you came in. Rather than risk having you trip over it and disturb the delicate emotional balance of the room, I commented that the cat was on the mat.
     You stopped and looked down. No, you said, she is not on the mat. Her back paws are clearly on the floor. I insisted that more than fifty percent of the cat was on the mat and that in this state the cat can reasonably be said to be on the mat. You disagreed. You maintained that the greater proportion of the cat’s mass was to be found in the region of her hindquarters. Therefore, more than half of the cat was not on the mat. This point became one of conten­tion. Finally we decided that this had to be tested. You took a black marker and carefully marked the line on the cat where it crossed the edge of the mat. The cat tried to disagree with your actions, while I watched intently to verify the accuracy of your mark.
     So we took the cat and several instruments and proceeded to measure its volume, weight, and mass, despite its robust opposi­tion. Unfortunately our methods were not wholly accurate and were made even less so by the protestations of the cat itself. We also refused to actually cut the cat in two for the sake of easier measurement. Despite these difficulties, and much to my disap­pointment, we both reached the conclusion that this particular cat had far more mass on the tail’s side of the line than on the head’s.
     I then changed my tactic, and said that we should install a cam­era on the ceiling directly above the mat, like those used by Olym­pic judges. If even a tiny portion of cat is detected on the mat, then it should be said that the cat is, in fact, on the mat. Even given the presence of the whole cat on the mat, you said, it would still be the case that only the bottom of the cat would be on the mat. The top of the cat would remain quite free of the mat.
     Then let us melt and/or puree the cat into a fine paste or liquid and spread it completely over the mat, I said, realising the problem with this even as I said it. A short burst of mocking laughter slipped from your lips as you pointed out that even then there would be a clear upper surface of cat still not on the mat. Fine, I said, then let us dry our liquid cat and make from it fine strands that we will weave into the mat itself, or perhaps out of which we shall make a new mat entirely. But then would it not be better to say that the cat is the mat? I conceded the point.
     We agreed that the cat was not, nor would ever be, on the mat.


last updated August 17, 2007 | © 2007 Fathom Publishing
poetry, prose, and artwork © individual authours | website created by Alana Paul