A humorous collection of memorable meetings with cats of the noble class.
While strolling meanderingly through the neighbourhood, this late afternoon being particularly pleasant and accommodating for such physical activity, I espied Cornelius from afar, his Garfield fur a beacon of attention. He was sitting on the pavement in the manner befitting a king of the savannah. Thus I walked over in his direction to pay my happy respects. As I neared his position, he glanced at me with his large and bulging golden eyes. It was a penetrating stare. However upon recognizing a smiling face, Cornelius descended onto the road, rolled over and slithered on his back as if unsure which side to sleep on, all the while yawning and looking up at me with expectation. His worshipfulness was requesting a belly rub.
This fierce cat is giving those who dare approach its pedestal a Medusa glare. The kind of stare that launches a thousand ships away in retreat. Indeed, this little lion is a pet worthy of belonging to a Greek Imperator.
It was a hot late afternoon, the kind of weather where the heated air just melts the sunscreen off your face. Because of this warm climate, Duchess, the most aristocratic cat in the neighbourhood, was not in the mood to receive visitants; instead she remained in her private boudoir, where air conditioning and other expensive creature comforts accommodated her languorous respite. Not being able to get an audience with Duchess, I thus walked a few blocks over to see if Cornelius was in a more reciprocal mood and willing to put up with guests. Sure enough, I found him in front of his abode, tanning on the road in a soporific fashion. As I approached, he rolled over onto his back and turned his head to look up at me with expecting eyes. This was his way of greeting people and invite them to give him a sedating belly rub.
Unlike Duchess, the neighbourhood’s fabulous aristo-cat who has her own private balcony, this little lion under the car is down-to-earth, somewhat literally, and is as shy as a mouse.
Cornelius lounges languidly atop the column of an entry gate that closes off a derelict abode, unlived-in for decades, as far as memory and observation can recall and be relied upon. His pose is that of a formidable and regal Lion, worthy of holding the following titles, admittedly inspired by (and a parody of) Daenerys Stormborn from the sanguinary TV series Game of Thrones. Thus, I have the honorary pleasure of introducing to you, “Cornelius Blizzardborn of the House Cervantes, First of His Name, Leo, the Unrivaled, King of the Mammals and the First Animals, Panthera of the Great Grass Land, Breaker of Necks, and Father of Cubs.” As intimidating as all that sounds, he is actually a very good-natured house cat, quick to slide himself up against a friendly leg, and flip over for an agreeable belly rub. That is, on most days to be sure. Today he just turned to look at me lazily and yawn with fangs, apparently as bored as the Lord of the Iron Islands.
Cornelius was feeling rather grumpy today, an uncommon emotion for him who was usually unmoved by negative feelings. It was the weather that had put him in this frame of mind, that had put a frown on his face and annoyance in his eyes, which was the color of ominous gold. The climate of the past week had been a sequence of downpours, most depressingly wet, and when not pouring water, the sky was covered with clouds as grey as dark marble. All of this consequently obstructing his hours of sunbathing; an occupation he practiced daily to pass the time in luxurious languor. The other cats in the neighbourhood too were upset by the gloomy inclemency that had befallen upon the entire province. For instance Duchess, the most worthy cat in the district, simply refused to go out anywhere at all, remaining indoors instead, lest the humidity disturb her fur. Suffice it to say here, the forecasts did not please anybody; for it prevented many from making a number of public appearances.
However besides the elements, another factor conducing to Cornelius’s unhappiness was the reformulation of his favorite salmon-infused pellets; whereby the chefs at the company had assured its customers, by sticking labels all over the packaging and appearing in grandiose commercials, that it was an improvement of the original recipe, but which Cornelius of the House of Cervantes could not disagree more passionately. He was of the opinion that it was a most distasteful change. But alas, he did not know what to do about the matter, for his influence only went so far in the world, and thus he resulted to scowling the pain away instead.
If I had to guess the name of this cat I would say Duchess. Because judging from her bearing, she is obviously an aristo-cat.
It is a balmy afternoon. Duchess is perched languorously on her private balcony. She is wearing her favorite emerald pendant. Her lunch was satisfactory. She is presently in a mood the French call ennui. It is a state all aristo-cats succumb to after a luxurious meal.
Today the weather was most disagreeable. Duchess thus decided to not venture out to lounge at her private balcony, for the inclemency would surely ruin her gorgeous fur, which was the color of a Himalayan crocodile Birkin bag by Hermès, and instead spent the afternoon on her private shelf in the library of the château. Feeling cultured, she wore a ruby red necklace for the occasion.
This balmy afternoon Duchess received a visitation from her friend and confidante, Countess, the creamy fur aristo-cat on the left. The two great ladies engaged in a private tête-à-tête over a dish of milk, on a private windowsill overlooking a colorful garden carpeted with redolent flowers bought from a nursery specialized in culturing blooms of the exotic variety. Duchess wore her yellow sapphire necklace for the occasion.
It was a rainy day, and the crying inclemency proved to be very disagreeable to Duchess, the most aristocratic feline in the neighbourhood. For this reason, she was not expecting any visitants from her friends, and so did not dress herself for such occasion. However, in the mood for a melancholic walk under an umbrella in the rain, thereby at one point I passed by the abode of Duchess, where it dawned on me to risk the impoliteness of dropping in without an agreed appointment. Unknowing of her mistress’s unsociable feelings, the maid let me into the salon, which commanded a view of the staircase to the apartments above. Hearing the commotion below, Duchess meandered down the steps and poked her head out between the balusters to see what the maid was up to now. When she saw yours truly, her curious frown turned into an expression one adopts when seeing a frightening apparition! She was most alarmed indeed. And I was most ashamed of being the cause of her distress. I apologized to her profusely and made many promises to never repeat impertinences of this nature again. We remain good friends, I think.
Today my wish was granted. Well, my wish for the day, not life in general of course. You see, dear reader, yesterday afternoon I went to the abode whence resided the object of my infatuation, Duchess, the most beautiful cat in the neighborhood (and world!). Alas, she was not in the mood to humor my passions, so I had no choice but to return home in the manner of a dejected lover. Today I tried my luck again, and the Moirai sisters must have been in high spirits, for the Fates granted me the opportunity to pay my attentions. Though I was told by the maid at the door that Countess was also present. I was a little disappointed by this news, to be honest, for I desired a private audience with the queen of my heart. Speaking of the heart, it skipped a beat when I entered the salon; for there she lay, reclined on a Persian cushion, in the manner adopted by Madame de Pompadour for her portraits by François Boucher. I was spellbound by this exquisite sight. Words failed me. She on the other hand, looked at me with aristocratic indifference. But she was looking at me! and that was all my heart needed for the day.
The temperature was rather cool this morning due to the consecutive days of inclement weather, whereby the opaque heavens above shielded most of the sun’s caring warmth from exciting the atoms in this part of our glorious province. Thus, Duchess, the most fabulous cat in the commune, which was becoming increasingly affluent, evident by the recent purchase of a Maserati a few abodes down the street, wore her electric blue cashmere sweater for the chilly occasion. The hue matched her wondrous, aquamarine eyes beautifully. However, still feeling the crisp air, yet not in the mood to be wrapped in heavy layers, for that would compromise her agility, but more importantly, hide her voluptuous figure, she therefore set forth in search for a place to snuggle in. Looking into every nook and cranny of her residence, a modern Petit Trianon, as large as it was elegant, and worthy of belonging to a Peeress of France, she found many spots where she could lay in aristocratic languor, but none however, felt perfectly right. Upon entering the kitchen, she spotted an empty box on the table. Not sure what overcame her senses, for she did not have a history of capriciousness, she was suddenly struck with the oddest of ideas, and, somewhat compulsively, against her better judgement to be sure, put the thought into action. A few huffs and puffs later she found herself centered squarely in the box, and felt, strange to say, very comfortable in it. In fact, the silliness of her situation instead of being a cause for blushful embarrassment, actually put her in a very good humor. “Every aristo-cat,” thought Duchess, smilingly, “should have fun once in a while.”
While promenading the streets of my neighborhood, strolling idly by gardens of frangipanis and ylang-ylangs, their floral pheromones embalming the air with a heavy honeyed scent, I serendipitously came across Cornelius of the House of Cervantes. He was lounging on his usual platform, atop a column of an entry gate that closed the path leading to a two-story mansion unoccupied for some decades, and which at midnight, would have made for a realistic horror movie set, or a suitable lair for a Delphian disciple. Anyway, it was his habit to sit there (like a lion statue guarding the entrance to some important building of historical significance) during the late afternoon hours; basking his Garfield fur in the last rays of the day’s sun, his eyes half-closed, adopting the expression of regal indolence.
So happy was Cornelius to see my handsome face, that he subsequently rose and shook off the lazy languor that had set in a delightful while ago, descended from his pedestal perch, and jogged in my direction with good nature and an air of familiarity. After greeting him in fond tones (adopting that voice one does when speaking to cute pets or human babies), the worthy little leopard responded by climbing up onto my feet, and stood on it for several minutes, seemingly comfortable with his new place of rest. Suffice it to say here, I was most flattered and felt decidedly appreciated by his display of warm affection. If only Duchess, the aristo-cat of the neighbourhood, and a long-time muse of yours truly, displayed the same kind of acknowledgement; methinks I would be over the moon with joy.
Aside from standing on my feet, Cornelius also rubbed himself on my leg several times, walked around me, and rolled onto his back for a belly scratch. A quarter of an hour later, we went our separate ways; both parties feeling happier than before the meeting had taken place.
Countess: “I think I have something stuck in my teeth.”
Duchess: “Let’s see.”
Duchess: “Too much, sister. But I think I see something.”
Countess: “What is it?”