(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

A thirty-five-year-old scientist is a brilliant breaker of codes whose skills saved the world during a recent war. However, although his wife is extremely neat, the scientist is a slob who leaves his clothes lying about and accidentally starts fires in wastepaper baskets. She nags him constantly, but because he is a gentleman who will not argue with her, he leaves her, moving into a cottage in West Virginia with a Siamese cat.

The beautiful blue-point Siamese hypnotizes its owner. Soon the scientist loses all interest in people, even in books, and the cat becomes the center of his life. Deciding to communicate with his companion, the scientist buys and steals a thousand cats, which he places in cages. He records their sounds and files them systematically until he masters their basic vocabulary.

After the scientist begins talking to his cat, the animal is eager to tutor him in the subtleties of the cat language. The Siamese eventually begins explaining the history of cats. Thousands of years earlier, he says, they had an advanced civilization that included space exploration and mental telepathy. When they realized their way of life had grown too complex, they decided to simplify it by creating a race of robots to take care of them. These robots evolved into humans. Now the scientist understands why cats seem so contemptuous of their owners.

The Siamese explains that cats, fearing an atomic war, have chosen the scientist to learn...

(The entire section is 487 words.)