Monday, November 07, 2005

Ulysse ze Cat

The SPA, Montpellier is an admirable organisation run by women who love cats, as these places always are... many of whom are strapping lasses in wellies and no make-up. I wonder if they wear matching lingerie under their mucky jeans and fur-encrusted pullies...

We went, en famille, into the wilderness between Lattes and the beach, along a country track pongily situated next to the council rubbish dump. Our noses grappled with the confusion of smells from the dump and animal shelter while our ears winced at the deafening barrage of barking. The poor animals must be desperate to leave, just to get some peace!

The woman in charge of cats came to take us to one of the catteries where around 20 inmates of various ages and colours prowled, basked in the sun, or looked hopefully through the wire. Some seemed so institutionalised they didn't even make the effort to get up and welcome the potential owners. It was terribly sad as there were several I would have loved to have taken.

In the end a young adult, a black male with a white tip to the end of his never-ending tail attracted my attention by purring, rubbing into my legs, looking winningly at me and generally doing his utmost to earn his way out of prison. The boys were enchanted and agreed that he was The One.

I was a bit reprimanded for bringing the wrong catbasket, and there was me thinking it was the posh one and would show I was a serious cat owner and not some fly-by-night cat owner wanabee with a plastic box I'd picked up at the puce. Oh well.

Relieved of 120Eur, it felt I was signing my life away there was so much paperwork (well, this is France) and we ventured off to introduce our newest member of the family to our Red House home.

He took to it like a duck to water. No hiding under the sofa, no terrified scurrying off to a dark hole, no aggressive self-defence. Nope, I showed him the dirt tray which he immediately christened, then his food and water bowls which he also christened. He played with my eldest and sucked up to us all in a thoroughly delightful way. Definitely a keeper!

His name was chosen after much deliberation, discussion and intellectual thought, as merits such an important activity. Ulysse is, of course, the French name for Odysseus, or Ulysses in Latin and while he is not a Greek cat, he shows great cleverness and I'm sure will prove himself a fearful hunter. I just hope he stays away from the pet bunnies over the road who frolic freely in the garden on a fine day, and fish in the pond next door, or relations with my neighbours could sour dramatically...

He did, of course, spend the night in a bed. Such is the skill of cats!

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