In 2007, a chance attack by a street cat changed the trajectory of Ottessa Moshfegh’s life, supplying the impetus for her career-defining enrollment in Brown University’s Creative Writing program. In her own words, “[Cat-scratch fever] was an experience that matured me…. I had and have a very keen sense that my time on this planet is limited and that can sometimes invoke great anxiety, but it is also a great motivation not to waste my time and to make sure my priorities are in order.” In this episode, we discuss the etiology of cat-scratch fever, toxoplasmosis, and other feline-born illnesses; how they affect the central nervous system; and how neurological changes resulting from these conditions may foreshadow the next stage of human development. We also examine Moshfegh’s output pre- and post-scratch, from her early short fiction to 2022’s Lapvona, noting her work's many B. henselae-imparted refinements along the way. To aid immersion, these ideas will be coded as a series of vigorous meows, proceeding without interruption for twenty-five minutes.
This podcast is sustained by sales of our debut book, Meow: A Novel (For Cats).
Praise for Meow: A Novel
"Breathtaking... a revelation." - Stubbs, Unaltered Domestic Shorthair
"Meow meow meow meow meow, meow meow meow. Meow? Meow." - Joan Didion