František PON.: Kočky to vědí líp



(excerpt from the book)

Love thy neighbour

Cats don’t have it easy, when you think of expressions such as “cat-o’-nine-tails” or “catapult” – where feline love is concerned, it’s pretty clear. But feline love isn’t so straightforward. Sure, a cat won’t die of grief on the grave of its master like the legendary Bruncvík lion, let alone stop eating. Cats know very well that this sort of thing isn’t love, but stupidity. Cats probably can’t comprehend the category of love that is natural to us. Feline love, if that’s what we’re going to call it, is a bit of contact, half-closed eyes, pulsating paws, claws which slide rhythmically in and out… but it’s mostly the patient indifference with which they spend their life with us. In the Montparnasse cemetery in Paris, on one of the graves, in place of a gravestone sits a large porcelain cat. She’s not sad, like stone turtledoves in a similar role, and, even though she’s brightly coloured, she’s not happy, either. She just sits there. I think that this is what feline love looks like beyond the grave.

It’s also important whom this feline love involves. In all honesty, there are more people whom cats don’t love than those they do. Our cats love themselves most of all. Otherwise, Faust can’t stand Master, Doctor or Coconut; Coconut can’t bear Master, Faust and Doctor, and Doctor couldn’t stand the others. When Oswald comes on a visit, all of them gang up against him, perhaps with the exception of Coconut, who is willing to have a playful skirmish with him from time to time. But Coconut isn’t the best example, since he’s the only one not to make any distinction between cats and people and, if he’s in an affectionate mood, he’ll cuddle up to everyone in the same way, just as he’ll bite and annoy everyone in exactly the same way.

Whatever time you come home from work,
it’s always late for your cats.

Oil’s well that ends well...

It’s not that long ago that I was woken up by a strange and ominous splattering sound. I turned on the light but I didn’t notice anything unusual, only an unnatural silence. But I couldn’t rest until I’d got up and had a look round the house. It wasn’t until I entered the kitchen that I realised what had happened. There, in the middle of the room, in a puddle full of broken glass, sat my innocent white tomcat; he didn’t know what was going on. I realised straight away, of course: The day before, I had bought a bottle of oil in a travelling shop, a glass bottle on this occasion, for the first time in perhaps twenty years – just because they didn’t have any other to hand. And this sweet little tomcat managed to knock it off the shelf and break it. The moment Coconut realised that I was standing in the doorway and focused his yellow, squinting eyes in my direction, he took fright and started going crazy. Perhaps I really do resemble a ghost in my nightie, but not even the White Lady would have generated such fear. He shot up, ready to take off on all fours, his paws running on the spot like something out of Walt Disney as he slopped around helplessly in the oil. He tried this a couple more times until he managed to escape his slippery confinement, and then the greasy white ball headed off round the flat. I laughed and laughed until I cried. Outside it was pitch black, I was standing in my nightie over a pool of oil and, every now and then, my white tomcat would glide past, spraying two litres of vegetable oil as he went, like one of those street sprinklers. All I needed was a straitjacket and a van to take me off to the madhouse. The oil was everywhere – where it didn’t seep itself, it was spread around by Coconut and all the other cats, since not one of them could resist having at least one go at skimming round the flat.

It didn’t end with me just clearing up the mess, and a very unpleasant cleaning job it was, too. Coconut is a very hygienic cat; when he’s not sleeping or being naughty, he washes himself, extremely carefully. And he cleaned up after his oily adventure just as conscientiously, but the oil had other plans. Within a few moments, Coconut had more problems, this time gut-related. Even though I have to hand it to him, he never managed to make it in time to any of the cat litters placed variously around the house. He didn’t make it that far on many occasions that night. When I saw his eyes widened in dismay, and his skinny little body wracked by severe intestinal peristalsis, I just couldn’t be angry with him. Things just happen like that sometimes.

There are times when even a cat is careful to avoid trampling on your flowers,
but only because she doesn’t want the rustling to scare away the mice.

Excerpt from the book Cats Like the Taste of Caviar
Excerpt from the book Cats Talk in Their Sleep