Monday, December 31, 2007

Chats Means Cats

In case you didn't know...

Chats means cats, too/two... so I named my blog for my cats. I liked the word play of "chat" meaning "talk" in English--especially on-line, and "cat" in French. And then there's "quatre"--"four" in French, but it's pronounced like cat... especially if you have trouble with the elusive French "R" ...like I do! But I only have two, cats that is... for now!

Here's a little video of them in a rare affectionate moment... "sharing" the space heater. I guess a minute and a half is all we can ask of Sophia!

video

By the way, the French "chats" is pronounced a bit like "sha" with an almost "ch" pronunciation of the "sh," and a sharp emphasis on the A for the missing T--the same A as in "as" and "cat," but sharper. The French are famous for "swallowing" letters... and you never pronounce the plural S... ugh.

Enough with the quotation marks... apart from getting a handle on the language, probably the most difficult thing about relocating to Paris was getting my two ten-year-old cats here, and it was well anticipated, what with all the vet visits and documentation it required... Being an expat, even an expat cat, requires lots of documentation. You've probably heard that the French are famous for their endless red-tape. Vive la bureaucracy! But more on that later! ;)

I wish I had a picture of the three of us standing at the curb at the airport where my friend Merryl dropped us off last month, but the moment was too stressful, or so I thought, to stop for pictures. Buddy--my cowardly lion--was howling, and I was dreading the eleven hour flight with him next to me in the cabin. A reservations agent had told me that he would travel in the cabin due to winter weather conditions in Paris. Fortunately, after all, this turned out to be yet another dose of misinformation, and he ended up having to be "checked" to travel in cargo. I can't know how happy or unhappy he was. I only know he didn't eat or relieve himself for about fifteen hours... door to door travel time.

Sophia, on the other hand, was small enough to travel in the cabin, and she DID relieve herself, twice. I think the turbulence we experienced during the second half of the flight over the frigid north Atlantic put her over the edge. And the second time, I couldn't even leave my seat to take her to the lavatory. Ewww... If I had it to do over, I would probably check them both.

We arrived in the evening at Charles De Gaulle... I found the first restroom, even before customs, and cleaned-up Sophia's cramped cage. When the customs agent asked for her passport, he thought he was being funny. I was confused... after all, I had a file full of documents that no one ever asked for, and European pets DO have passports... my Belgian Filou has one... and instead of a photo, he has a barcode for his electronic ID chip. Buddy was waiting for us in baggage claim with the skis and other awkward items... silent as a mouse... that is until he saw and heard me! He screamed all the way to the car, and then some.




We were happy to be home... sort of! Here's Buddy in relocation denial...



But he was very tired and had no problem falling fast asleep in my place...



To escape any commotion in our old apartment, Buddy would simply go upstairs to the quietude of my bedroom... I certainly did the same often enough! I'd show you a picture, but the only one I have is from my predigital days, and the prints are back in Long Beach... :(

Here is where he hides from the vacuum now!




Sophia, too, has found her safe spots... she likes the window ledges, of course, and the bar that separates the kitchen from the living area... She loves to be in the kitchen...



"Safe from what?" you ask?


... Filou, of course!






When I got him, I didn't even realize how much he looked like my sweet, furry girl...



No one has officially claimed the flea market bed, yet... but I'm still hopeful... we put it by the heater...


... and the first night after we moved it, Buddy slept in it. That was also the last time. Sometimes, he and Filou "share" our bed, but he prefers the sofa since Filou can't reach...



Apart from the occasional bouts of cabin fever, he is settling in quite well. He misses his yard, and Auntie Merryl, of course! He and Soph have both tried to escape out the front door, but the first of four flights of stairs is usually enough to turn them around. Who knows what's down there? Plus, it's cold! When summer comes, we will have to find a solution for the screenless windows... otherwise, we will certainly end up with a cat or two on a hot, tin raingutter... a circumstance that could turn quickly ugly if a pigeon comes along and scares them off balance. I don't know that cats are guaranteed to land on their feet from five stories high.

3 comments:

Brooke said...

I'm so glad you did a blog on the kitties! I have thinking about them a lot and wondering how they're adjusting to the change. They look perfectly happy. As long as they're with their mommy! I miss you guys so much and think of you often...

Shaun said...

Suzanne ~ If you hadn't provided a video of Buddy cleaning Sophia, I wouldn't have believed that they had willingly entered into a brief moment of kindness and affection on their own accord! :)

Animals are notoriously territorial, so it doesn't suprise me in the least thay they have already sussed out their own areas, but I'm sure border-crossings will be met with both wars and pacts.

At least you and M. can escape the apartment when the kids get too much.

merryl said...

Buddy! What a good boy!

Amazing what mutual love for a space heater will do for friendship.