Manipulative Cuteness

To say that my cat Champagne has made herself at home here in Manila is quite the understatement. Now that her catwalk is fully built and installed in the apartment, she finds no need to spend her days with my mother in the downstairs (larger) apartment. The catwalk is built all around the entire apartment perimeter and she can access it through the little staircase.

cham3Our carpenter, Lupe, is a talented man, sparse on words but big on action. At first he had absolutely no idea what I wanted until I showed him a couple of catwalks from the cat cafes I had visited in Thailand. He measured the walls, made his calculations, went out and bought the materials, and got down to work. It took him four days to get everything sawed down to the last centimeter and Champagne was absolutely fascinated by the noise and the mess.

When the first half of the catwalk was installed I had a very sceptical cat who needed a lot of cooing and encouragement. The concept of “scaredy cat” suddenly became perfectly clear when she hesitantly placed one paw on the board, took it away again, tapped it twice, and backed away. It was only when I plopped her on the walk and gave her a little nudge that she began exploring.

One week later, the little princess is so enamoured with her catwalk that she refuses to come down from it for most part of the day. In the evenings she will zoom around the apartment, both on the floor and on the catwalk, and has mastered all but one narrow passage along the entire course.

When I informed Lupe about the little obstacle, he got back to work and is now in the process of building an underpass hub for Champagne and will add an extension! The two have become fast friends in the short time, and the feline has learned how to get the carpenter to prioritize her on the project list.

For example, I had a window sill constructed for my plants. The brackets were drilled into the wall but the board needed another day for the paint to dry. This was Saturday afternoon and I told him that he should finish it first thing on Monday morning so Champagne could use it as well. I turned back to my work on the computer and expected Lupe to leave in a few minutes, but out of the corner of my eye I watched him return with his tools and a peculiar sized ill-fitting board. He sat down on the floor and got to work with the screwdriver, fixing the board to the brackets, after which he stood up, turned around and quietly got the ladder from the kitchen. I watched speechlessly as he fished Champagne down from the catwalk, cooing gently to her, and proceeded to place her on the temporary windowsill. He looked at me and said “it will support a few pots as well” before turning around to walk out the door.

Needless to say, I had the happiest cat who spend a rainy afternoon and evening looking out, philosophizing about life and the world.


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