Connections: The moon gray cat
Name: Moon gray cat
First appearance: Ghostwritten
Subsequent appearances: number9dream, Cloud Atlas, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, The Bone Clocks, Slade House
The moon gray cat is a character, or a symbol — or possibly both — that frequently appears in Mitchell’s metaverse.
In The Bone Clocks, the moon gray cat appears on a landing at the Safir Hotel, saving Ed Brubeck’s life — when Brubeck bends down to pet the cat a powerful explosion rocks the building, sending a shockwave of debris and grass through a window. Brubeck realizes he would’ve been “scalped” by the blast if he hadn’t crouched to pet the moon gray cat at that very instant.
In Slade House, first-chapter narrator Nathan Bishop sees a dead moon gray cat in Slade Alley, a few feet from the small black iron door — later revealed as the aperture — that leads to the terraced garden of the eponymous house.
Why did you have to kill the kitteh, Mr. Mitchell? Why?!?
Turns out he has an answer for that, per Hazlitt:
“That’s a message to my über-readers to say there’s going to be no help here. Don’t rely on this magic cat fairy to come along and save the day—it’s gone. Cats don’t really die, but as long as you think it’s gone, that’s mission accomplished.’
The moon gray cat makes several appearances in Black Swan Green. The cat watches the protagonist, Jason Taylor, as he ventures outside on a rainy day. Later, the moon gray cat shows up during a conversation Jason’s having with his father.
In The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, the moon gray cat reveals itself to the protagonist and his Japanese love interest, Miss Aibagawa.