Werewolf Radar: Stray Cat Smut by Nate Balding

Art by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Werewolf Radar: Stray Cat Smut
By Nate Balding
Published Issue 122, February 2024

Unaccepted as an archetype by a youthful Carl Jung trapped shivering within his dream-fevers, she rocks back and forth in the shadowy corners of aging homes on every block in America, surrounded by her feline companions. Her form is rooted as deeply in the human psyche as the necessity of breath, or the knowledge that the only thing keeping the In-N-Out Double-Double from being considered overrated is the option to order it Animal Style. She is The Forlorn. The Dejected. The Maiden and The Crone spurned by society with its endlessly dubious inquiries. 

She is the Crazy Cat Lady and hers is the story of love.

Cards on the table, this Valentine edition of Werewolf Radar does feature cats, ladies, love (after a fashion) and events perhaps considered crazy if you’re some sort of modern-day Phyllis Schlafly taking your rightful place as lead kink-shamer for the Prude Boys. 

The focus, however, requires we imagine a Byronic near-mythical Kelly Slater surfing across the Pacific and shooting the curl of time to wash up on the shores of Edo period Japan. A place where would-be 2020 Olympian Kanoa Igarashi is all, “What’s up old man? I hope you brought your gold medal game because this is my beach and trespassers have to crush before they can party.”

Free license surf rock emerges from nowhere and The Kids™ gather round for an ol’ fashioned Beach Blanket Banger. Slater and Kanoa paddle into battle where the only real winner can be the boundless sea. In the end, both lie breathless on the warm sand and Kanoa gives Slater the go-ahead, enemies no more.

“What brings you to our storied shores, Kel?”

“Cat ladies.”

“Righteous.” Slater follows dusk’s slow crawl over the sand, toward the city, leaving the fires of go-go jubilation in his wake. He’s guided by strange tales recounted in a cheaply-purchased sharenbon — travelogs for the pleasure districts.

Among these first-hand accounts of restaurants, kabuki plays and inns where one might meet a companion-for-a-fee, are tales of supernatural occurrences. One is a story about Kono, a bakeneko — reductive translation: shape-shifting cat — working as a meshimori onna entertaining men at the Ise Inn in the Shinagawa-juku area. A similar tale recounts a man witnessing his amant pour la nuit — reductive translation: sex worker — now transformed into a cat-person, feasting on a human arm, remnants of her shrimp cocktail appetizer scattered across the floor.

Slater pursues rumor into the underbelly of Edo. He makes no deference for anonymity or guile in his inquiries, whether it’s with degenerate gamblers in the back rooms of sketchy inns or a street-side throng of unruly samurai collecting their lord’s debts. It takes little time for a woman to approach him with answers: “The gentleman prefers the company of bakeneko yūjo. Purrrrfect choice. Allow me to show you my wares.”

She proffers a series of intricately detailed watercolors of women with felid heads. Many of them are in consort with seemingly happy men, holding hands on a walk or taking a picnic at a crossroads. Co-ed interspecies mouth-fishing, a description of which is an adventure you choose. Whatever you came up with, gold star! You’re correct! 

Art by Utagawa Kuniyoshi

“Once our kind were feared. Kaibyō sent from hell to steal corpses or curse children or dance upright with napkins draping our heads [Author’s Note: All things people absolutely believed. Carry on]. But now— ” gesturing to the images, “— now we are famous across every island. Sought by people of means for our more … exotic traits. In the brothels of Yoshiwara where dreams and reality are intertwined so acutely that boundaries lose meaning. Physical … mental … emotional …”

Entranced, Slater swoons like an undersexed character in a Joe Eszterhas erotic thriller — Showgirls if everyone in the cast knew it was a comedy. He drifts into wanton emptiness; falling for this cat-woman, for her enigmatic wiles. Drawing on his decades of world-class surfing, he recalls all the spills it took to achieve greatness; the necessity of embracing the flow, understanding the waves; becoming part of the greater, not to conquer it but to collude. In what he refers to as his mind-egg, when he’s positive nobody’s listening to his thoughts, he douses the furry puff most humans recognize as a feeling synonymous to “pleasant” with a deluge of sea-foam. “I … love … the OCEAN!” he shrieks, breaking the enchantment.

“Suit yourself, aquaman. We could have been beautiful together.”

The crazy cat lady, true to form, eschews this human as easily as she’d attached. For her, there’s always another. A love yet unfound, simultaneously deep and petty. Schrödinger’s conversation of candy hearts.

Happy Valentine’s Day, you self-actualized singles out there. 

Art by Kawanabe Kyōsai

Have questions about the paranormal?
Send them to werewolfradarpod@gmail.com or on Twitter: @WerewolfRadar.
It’s a big, weird world. Don’t be scared. Be Prepared.

Nate Balding is a freelance humanoid who occasionally manifests in print and can most likely be seen at Werewolf Radar. Should you wish to hear him manifest audibly you can do so at the aforementioned Werewolf Radar’s associated podcast on Spotify and Apple, and if anything ever becomes humorous again, on a variety of stand up stages around the nation. If you’re truly craving further content there’s always @Exploder on Twitter — even if it is only a form of digital self flagellation at this point. His one thing that he considers actually accomplished was this time he was published in the journal Nature and then later collected into a volume called Futures from Nature, still available in places that have things.


Check out Nate’s January Werewolf Radar install, The Wind Cries Scary, or head to our Explore section to see more of his work.