Well, the first criminal mastermind leaping to my less-than- mastery mind is Ernst Blofeld of the James Bond films. Dead-eyed, expressionless, Blofeld is usually seated, stroking a white, blue-eyed Turkish Angora. The softness of his stroking puts a special edge to the creepiness of the brilliant but totally amoral character. That same juxtaposition is carried into the Austin Powers parodies of the Bond film, where the reptilian villain Dr. Evil holds a lap cat named Mr. Bigglesworth. No Angora, this Bigglesworth; he’s a sleek gray Persian.
I’m sure that Owen Good’s query alludes to these two villains and their cats (though don’t I remember a malicious Sidney Greenstreet stroking a cat as he chortled over an impending disaster?) If these are you models, Owen, then you must first gain a lot of weight. Greenstreet, for instance, was about 290 during his brilliantcriminal film series. But then, yes, you master the gentle, chillingly sinister stroking.
I’ve patted a long series of cats in my life. The first one didn’t much care for it. Felix, a tough little tom, would sit by the twelve-year-old me as I fished for yellow perch. If I pulled in a small sunfish instead, that was fine with Felix. I’d toss it ashore, and he’d take over from there. If, as we fished, a neighborhood dog charged onto the dock after him, Felix’s reaction was amazing. He’d bound to the end of the dock and hurl himself out and into the creek water, then swim under the dock and sit on its crosstimbers. More than once a pursuing dog couldn’t brake in time and fell, tail over dog tag, on its back in the water. I always enjoyed that. I think Felix did, too.