Will Ziffel (Bill Hedges) and his cat companion Penny (Penny Hedges/Judy Hedges) are taking a leisurely walk on a strange new planet. It’s just past sunset as they sit for a moment watching the planet’s two moons rise. Behind some foliage Penny’s sharp eye spots something moving. She rushes into the underbrush to ferret it out. What she finds is more than she expected. An alien bat creature flies out and dive bombs Will. Not being able to elude the creature he grabs Penny and rushes into a nearby cave.
The cave goes back quite a ways and the walls glow from some alien bioluminescence. Deciding to do a little spelunking they wander deeper into the cave. Eventually they come upon what looks like the ruins of an ancient civilization carved into the rock. The ruins remind Will of those seen on Earth in Egypt. Walking through a doorway they come to a small chamber. In front of them is a raised area that looks a little like an altar.
Penny asks Will for her camera. Penny snaps a bunch of pictures. Will notices a vessel that may have held offerings. Since it’s getting late Will suggests they leave. When he walks through the doorway the huge stone slab closes. Penny is still inside the chamber. Will pushes against the heavy stone trying to open it. Inside the crack of the doorway he can see something is happening. Something is coming out of the once empty vessel. Penny is transfixed. A radiant pulsating entity comes out of the vessel and into Penny.
When Will finally gets the door all the way open and searches around the room Penny is nowhere in sight. He calls to her. In the corner he hears a woman’s voice in response, “I’m right here”. From under a blanket comes a young woman in black (Katie Otten). Will is confused and wants to know who she is, where she came from and where’s his cat? “I am your cat. I am Penny. That thing did something to me. It changed me.”
Will is having a hard time believing what happened. Back at the spaceship he tries to sort things out. While he’s trying to figure out what happened and how to fix it, Penny is trying to figure out how to act like a human. Neither one are getting very far.
Will searches the interstellar internet for any information on shape shifting. Eventually he finds a reference in an Earth document that matches a picture in the cave. Penny surmises that aliens went to Earth in the past. They were mistaken as demons and had the power to transform other creatures. Bill finds that the wizards transformed creatures to do their bidding. Unfortunately the animals that were changed ended up not living very long. The impact of this information runs deep in both Penny and Will. If they can’t find some way of changing Penny back to being a cat, she will die.
“The Feline Mystique” was released in 2020 and was produced, written and directed by Bill Hedges. It is the fifth episode of the science fiction “Cosmic Cat” series. The film is about 22 minutes long.
As opposed to “Felis Catus” this little film starts out happy. It gets more depressing as it goes. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but be prepared. You may not be happy with the ending. It’s a bit of a cliffhanger. But take heart. There will be another installment. We just have to wait for it.
New to the cast is Judy. Penny’s schedule was so intense that she needed a back up. You’ll know Judy because she has a small white patch on her chest. They both play Penny in the series. They also share the radio controlled stunt cats and puppets when needed. Judy was discovered at a shelter just as Penny was.
I also don’t want to forget Katie Otten as the third Penny in the story. She adds an intelligence to her portrayal of Penny that is reflective of the real life Penny and Judy. She did a good job acting like a human version of not just a cat but of Penny.
Cats and Ancient Egypt are almost synonymous. The cat was treated as a god in Ancient Egypt. They were considered good luck and were honored. When they died they were mummified. Why this mummy is OK with using cats as slaves is outside the norm. Of course an alien mummy may have a different outlook than ancient Egyptian people might have had. Humans, at least most of them, still worship the cat in many ways. Last count, 2017, there were approximately 95.6 million cats living in households in the United States. I have two of them. I’m doing my part.
As for episodes 3 and 4, they are being worked on. Bill did episode 5 out of sequence. He should be back on track soon.