Living with a cat is anything but boring. It may not be as active and lively as with dogs, but cats – at least mine – will ensure that I am never bored or lonely. The three girls, Champagne, Cherry and Lolita are getting along quite well – meaning, the hissing has almost disappeared, and there are no recent cat fights to report. It has been five months since Lolita and Cherry moved in, and Champagne has borne the brunt of it. To her credit, she has gone out of her way to make the two feel at home, even if it meant whacking Lolita on the head to encourage her to play, or chasing Cherry around the apartment while she is trying to find an available kitty litter.
My goal is to somehow get the three of them to pose together for the camera but at the moment that is asking far too much. It is difficult enough to get Cherry to pose without looking like a crow in a fur coat that escaped from Game of Thrones, or to make Lolita look less confused than usual. Champagne is my modelling pro so there is no problem with her, and she knows how to milk the camera for all it’s worth.
Champagne: the little diva has become a regular visitor at the tennis courts. My trainer is usually disappointed if I show up without the cat diva, and he has told all and sundry about her. When I showed up yesterday for my session, the two men before me greeted me with “Ah, the famous cat we have heard so much about!” If you ask Champagne, she would much rather be placed next to the fence to watch the louder and more active hockey game, but is content to watch the tennis matches nevertheless. By the time it was time to leave there was an elderly dog who arrived on the courts to escort his owners, and somewhere on the further court there was a Dachshund yapping away. My dignified diva sat quietly and watched all this and decided that she would not walk home, especially since the she attempted to do so the previous week and met a Dalmatian and a Labrador along the way, followed by several people on bikes with dogs in their baskets.
Life in Germany continues to be a series of discoveries for Champagne, and recently we learned that she does not like the smell of fresh lavender…
Cherry: the depressed and paranoid cat that was handed over to me last April is nowhere to be found. In her place I have a possessive, chatty, and cuddly cat who has no idea how to deal with all the fur that has grown back. I am convinced she was a dog in her former life because of the way she follows me around. If I had the choice to re-name her, Shadow would be at the top of my list. This is the cat who will curl up beside me in bed until I fall asleep and keep me company in the kitchen while I tidy up or cook. Sometimes she will have an opinion on matters, like the smell of onions, or the time it takes to serve up dinner for them, but she will always be around, happy to be included and loved. She has also finally understood that I like to move furniture around, and will no longer go into shock when I do, unlike the first couple of times when I moved the sofa, she tried to hold on to it, probably afraid it might disappear.
I won’t go as far as call it friendship between any of them yet, but they have reached an understanding of peaceful co-existence and support. Cherry is possessive, and as such, jealous and insecure. If someone else has beaten her to my side, she will skulk away and sulk. However, I have witnessed her and Champagne chasing each other around the apartment for no apparent aggressive reason. And that made me smile. They sit together on the balcony and spy on the neighbours, and there is no more hissing from Cherry when they pass each other. They will even wait patiently for one another to finish at the dry food bowl.
Lolita: This is the cat who has needed the most attention so far. She is definitely disturbed from her past and the experience of being operated on twice before coming to live with me. Easily confused and spooked, this senior cat doesn’t like surprises. On the other hand, she has come out of her shell and is perfectly happy to cuddle up to whoever is on the sofa. She has learned that whoever comes through the doors somehow belongs in our life, and as such will treat them accordingly, shamelessly demanding affection. Her eyesight is not good, and neither is her hearing, so sometimes she will sit in the middle of the room and stare blankly at the wall or ceiling. She does like music though, and relaxes visibly to their New Age radio station that I leave on for them while I am at work. Rock we do not like, and Jazz we tolerate, but Classical and solo instrumental is perfect.
Because she is distracted, clumsy, half blind and rather deaf, Lolita is also the one who gets into most trouble without intending to do so. For example, she likes to take a shortcut over the table to get to her favourite cushion, but she will inspect my coffee cup along the way, not realising that her tail is already on fire because she didn’t see the candles. This has happened twice already and she was impervious to the smell of burning fur. Cherry was already pacing nervously at my feet but granny Lolita was still in la-la-land.
Like Cherry, she doesn’t know how to handle all the re-grown fur either.
The other night all three ladies ran into the room together and I stopped whatever I was doing because it was such a rare occasion. A wasp made the fatal mistake of flying into the apartment and all three cats found a common objective (target). Cherry caught it, Champagne whacked it until it could no longer fly, and Lolita dribbled it around the room. Then they all stopped and stared at each other as if to say, Did we just do something together? Ew!