“Cats aren’t human,” I pronounced as I lined up the shot.

“Of course they aren’t. They’re animals!” replied Royston.

I needed this putt to win, and small talk helped me relax.

“No, I mean they’re like aliens. They always look like they know stuff we don’t. Ours is called Whisky, and I’m convinced he's possessed.”

I stooped down to analyse the required trajectory. Thirty feet of tricky, sloping, swerving green.

“You do talk nonsense when you’re playing,” said Royston. “Anyway, you’ll never get this putt in a month of Sundays.”

More mind games by Royston, I thought to myself. I walked from the ball to the flag, assessing the shot. I’d give anything to make this one. Royston was the worst of all things–a golf cheat - and I’d been far too polite during the round to tell him to his face.

“I don’t know why, but it keeps prodding its paw into the air in our kitchen, like it’s trying to catch an invisible flying mouse.” I said. “When it sees me looking, it stops. It’s weird!”

I crouched down by the flag and looked back towards my ball. He was probably right. It was going to take a miracle to get this.

At this precise moment, seven thousand kilometres away in the foothills of Makalu in eastern Tibet, Tenzin Palden, a one hundred-year-old monk of a little-known Buddhist sect, finally attained the fourth and final stage of awareness. In doing so, he became only the second living being to become fully awakened. Tenzin bowed to the golden cat sitting before him.

“What is it you wish, Tenzin?” the cat purred, idly licking its paw.

Tenzin, who had spent twenty years doing nothing except pondering this exact question, replied.

“I wish good fortune to the deserving, that they may achieve their desires in the face of unjustness.”

The cat offered a golden pearl to Tenzin. “Take this. Whilst it remains in your hand, your wish will be granted.”

Tenzin accepted gratefully, and wrapping his fingers tightly round the pearl.

Back on the golf course, I felt a surge of confidence wash over me. I struck the ball and watched as it arrowed its way towards victory and retribution.

Nearby, in the kitchen of a terraced house in Oxford, Whisky the cat pawed once more at the small tear in the fabric of the physical universe (invisible to humans) that hovered above his head. His claw caught on the ragged edge, and he was finally able to push his paw through to the other side, where it snagged on someone’s hand, causing them to drop whatever they were holding. A pearl tumbled through the hole onto the floor onto his head.

“Yes!” I shouted as the ball trundled towards the hole. “No!” I screamed as the magpie swooped down, grabbing the shiny round object just before it disappeared from view.

“I win!” said Royston gleefully.