Feline AuraFriday, January 19, 2018
|Rosemary watching Downton Abbey with Plata when she was very sick|
A distinct pleasure of our present life in our intimate Kitsilano duplex is that Rosemary and I share our cat Casi-Casi.
My relationship with cats was not always a pleasant one. As a little boy I loved cats and when I would find a stray one I would bring it to our Buenos Aires Coghlan home. Mysteriously (I was too young to figure it out) the cat would disappear after a couple of days.
I caught on in 2006 when Rosemary, our granddaughter Rebecca and I travelled to Buenos Aires and we visited the Jardín Botánico Buenos Aires. It is a lovely garden full of beautiful statues. It is populated by hundreds of cats. There are stray cats and cats with obvious pedigree. Why are they there? It seems, as I was to find out that the cats are all abandoned there by people who do not want them. I heard troubling rumours that every couple of years the cats are rounded up and put into bags and then drowned in the River Plate.
|Rebecca at the Jardín Botánico|
The cats of the Jardín Botánico (there are almost as many in the Recoleta Cemetery) are fed by “cat ladies”. Most of them are quite friendly.
It wasn’t until 1977 in our Burnaby home that my daughters saw some kittens in our compound. We adopted one of them and called him Gaticuchi.
I did not know how to handle a male cat who sprayed. I did not know at the time of the difference between peeing and spraying. I remember giving him quite a few slaps after rubbing his nose on the carpet and then vanquishing him to the outside.
|A very healthy Gaticuchi made the cover of Vancouver Magazine|
But I did learn to handle cats after that and Gaticuchi lived long enough to move with us to our Kerrisdale home in 1988. When he finally died (he was one of many cats I buried in our garden and happened to break a spade doing it) one afternoon we found a tiny black kitten in our side gate. We brought him in. That evening he died in Rosemary’s arms.
When we saw an ad in the Courier offering some black cats we called immediately. Our little, very long black cat, Mosca (fly in Spanish) came hidden in the seat of a Ford Mustang.
|Mosca and Polilla|
Mosca was soon accompanied by a lovely female tabby we called Cigarra (cicada in Spanish). I remember that she liked to flirt and moved her rear end lots. Cigarra disappeared one day and we suspected a coyote.
I told Rosemary that the instant cure for a dead or disappeared cat was a new one. We got a female white cat we called Polilla (moth in Spanish). This cat took a long to adapt to us. One day I found her eviscerated (probably by a racoon). I am glad Rosemary never saw her as I did.
One day when Rosemary was getting over foot surgery (the only time I accepted her demand for a TV in our bedroom) I left her (she was watching Hitchcock’s Vertigo) with Mosca at her feet. When I returned I hear Rosemary yell, “Mosca has not moved since you left. I think he is dead.” He was.
Mosca was replaced by a short-lived male cat, Niño, who died of cancer. Toby was a very affectionate male replacement who went the way of our other cats and I buried in our garden in a shoe box.
I found a lovely female tabby, Plata (she was called Cash at the SPCA). She was the loveliest cat we ever had. A few days before we moved from Kerrisdale to Kitsilano she died. I buried her in our new home.
Our pleasant love of our life is Casi-Casi. He is placid and helps us both relax. If Rosemary talked to me the way she baby talks Casi I would be in heaven.
|Casi-Casi and Lauren|
It is here that I want to point out a suspicion that I have about cats. When I think of some of my dead friend or relatives, I can see their faces and hear their voices. Each one of them is surrounded in my memory by an aura of personality that makes each one of them unique and separate.
Cats don’t talk and yet when I think of our dead cats, each one of them has that almost human aura of distinct personality.
My guess is that cats teach us how to deal and interact with our human companions. And they do this only gently demanding (quietly demanding) only what is due to them. In comparison to what they give us that is awfully small.