Over the past years, I’ve been visiting Tigrou’s house in the French countryside regularly. It’s a cats paradise with plenty of mice, a cat loving lady and a fireplace. This is the first time I’ve come in winter and I can admire all possible sleeping poses Tigrou takes during approximately 22 hrs of the day. What strikes me is Tigrou’s strong preference for the blue armchair. At first it seemed logical to me: the blue chair is the closest to the fireplace.
But quickly I found out that Tigrou’s preference surpasses logic: even when the chair is moved further from the fireplace or if the chair is taken by somebody he knows won’t tolerate him on his lap (his lady’s husband), Tigrou won’t take another chair. He stays at his blue armchairs side, guarding it. Is it the color? They say blue is the color cats see most easily. Is it its scent? (His lady’s husbands scent: a forbidden fruit?) Is it some sense of ownership or some cat principle? Tigrou waits for his chair to become available again with his ears half lowered and a hurt look in his eyes. I must say: Tigrou is a patient cat, and -as they say in French- ‘têtu’ (stubborn).
After having opened the front door, I found myself eye to eye with a tiny cat. She almost looked like a kitten, but I knew she wasn’t. In fact, she was already three years old. Cersei stared at me with those huge eyes and made herself scarce as soon as I started talking to her. “Well begun is half done,” I said to myself, meaning it ironically so. It all turned out okay. Less than a minute later, we were facing each other again in the kitchen. This time, when I dropped to my knees and stretched out my hand to her, she came running towards me. Her initial shock was pretty quickly overcome by curiosity. She sniffed at my outstretched hand for a bit, pushed her little head against it and we had made our connection. In the two weeks that followed, she would be – if she wasn’t asleep– where I was! It took a little bit longer for me to connect with Lily. I went around the house a few times, but she was nowhere to be found. She couldn’t be outside; the garden was meticulously fenced off, so I couldn’t have missed her there. Asking her owner for her possible whereabouts was also an impossibility, as she was flying towards her holiday destination at that very moment. It seemed there was nothing left to do for me, but let go of the thought where Lily could be. And as soon as I managed doing that, my eye fell on the top of the two-meter-high cat tower in the corner of the living room. The rear one had a little hump on top in the same colour as the pillow. The hump was moving, even though just slightly so.
Both cats left me alone for the remainder of the day. That surprised me, as their owner had assured me that the both of them were very cuddly. I didn’t get proof of that until the evening, after I had positioned myself on the couch. Lily was the first to approach me, by walking past and over me a few times, and finally sitting down right next to me. Then it was Cersei’s turn to cautiously walk around me. There was already a laptop on my upper legs, and I noticed she was carefully inspecting the area close to my stomach. And being the good listener I am, I created a spot for her so she could nestle down.
Before going to bed, there was another, similar ritual. As soon as I started heading towards the bedroom, both cats ran up the stairs with me. But it was quite clear they didn’t like my pace! While I was busy with my own evening ritual in the bathroom, Lily as well as Cersei lost their interest and disappeared into another room, or back to the ground floor. When I finally sat down in the bed for my bedtime reading, I would hear footsteps on the stairs and on the landing. The one a bit lighter, the other a bit heavier. Lily was usually the first to enter the bedroom. She quickly disappeared under the bed first, to show up again at the other side. On the far foot end, she would immediately start to give herself a proper wash. Cersei wouldn’t be long after that. The same steps as earlier on the couch were being repeated: the carefully going around and over me, to see if her favourite spot happened to be available. As soon as I had created it, she took in her position. Sleeping she usually did, with me being a side sleeper, in my knee pit. An excellent spot for a small cat like Cersei. Lily seemed to come closer and closer during the course of the night. If I happened to wake up for some reason, there was very little space left for my legs! It was Lilly who liked waking me up in the morning. At the crack of dawn, she often started to meow softly while coming closer, checking if I was already awake. As I think it’s the best policy to ignore unwanted behaviour, that’s exactly what I did. Which she tried to resolve by licking my hands or my face, whatever she could reach, so that I was obliged to hide my head under the duvet! Luckily, she was a pretty smart cat, so after a few fruitless attempts she would leave me alone. She probably knew I would rise not long after that.