Category Archives: Cat Talk

The Cat Does Not Care For Portuguese

Both Teresa (my Portuguese teacher) and I had been away on alternating holiday schedules over the summer, and today was my first lesson in what felt like ages. I was all set for getting back into the swing of things – I’d even done my homework! – but little did I know that my enthusiasm would be met with considerable feline opposition.

Teresa had only just got back yesterday from a two-week stint in Portugal, and despite having arranged for a relative to tend to her cat, Otto, the poor darling had clearly suffered severe psychological damage from the prolonged lack of attention. And he was determined to make up for it.

Otto is usually quite reticent and prefers to watch proceedings from his chair in the window, which made today’s antics all the more amusing.

Otto on book

“That book’s out of action. And if you want the computer, I shall sit on that!”

Otto close up

“We are so NOT doing verbs now.”

Otto tail

“If you insist on talking to each other instead of to me, I’ll just have to feed you a tailful of cat hair.”

I expect that, by next Monday, he’ll be back to his aloof old self. Shame 😉


Honey, I’m Home!

Lola and leavesThis is Lola, my friend Gaynor’s cat, peering at me from the depths of the clematis. Although she looks a bit apprehensive in the pic, she was, in fact, very pleased to see me, when I wandered into her garden yesterday morning. I called her name, and almost immediately, she rocketed out from behind the garden shed and came bounding up to me, covered in sand and leaves. We’d not seen each other in three years, but it was quite clear that she remembered her old friend and neighbour.

So, the upshot is that I’m back in London, this great city which had been my home for a decade, for the first time since I left for Spain. Due to a fortuitous confluence of circumstances, I’m staying in “my” old flat in East Finchley. Everything’s the same, and everything’s different – a feeling most expats will be able to relate to.

Right now, I’m floating on a rose-tinted cloud of nostalgia and my diary is choc-a-bloc. Sadly, I won’t be able to catch up with everybody in the space of just a week, nor visit all of my favourite eateries… but I’ll have a damn good time trying 🙂


Bavaria: Meet The Kitties

I’m not the only Bavarian whose prime motivation in life is FOOD. Which is just as well, because, for the past two weeks, I’ve been desperate to introduce my favourite village cats to my blog readers. And while cakes don’t mill around and are easy to snap at a favourable angle, fidgety felines pose a much greater challenge. So, I thought, let’s try and entice them with treats to get a few passable mug shots.

First up is Mausi. She belongs to my Mum’s neighbours. Although she’s 18 and getting a bit stiff, she still chases after people for a scratch and slinks through half-open doors on the scrounge for tasty tidbits. Here she is in my Mum’s kitchen:

'Keen' would be an understatement...

‘Keen’ would be an understatement…

"You made me look ridiculous in that last photo, didn't you?!?"

“You made me look ridiculous in that last photo, didn’t you?!?”

Toby, my friend Corinna's cat. He's less interested in the treat than he is suspicious of the camera...

Toby, my friend Corinna’s cat. He’s less interested in the treat than he is suspicious of the camera… which is strange, seeing as he’s 17 and has probably encountered one before. But don’t be deceived by his apparent grumpiness – he’ll collapse at your feet in a sweet purry mess at the first opportunity.

Schnuff, Toby's best friend. He's not allowed in the house, so he sits as close as he can get to the back door.

Schnuff, Toby’s best friend and partner in crime. He’s not allowed in the house, so he sits as close to the back door as he can get, waiting for his goodies.

Yup, it's going in.

Yup, it’s going in.

Seppi, my friend Peggy's cat. We're taking him to the vets this morning, and he knows it. Seppi is 14 and blind, though you could never tell.

Seppi, my friend Peggy’s cat. We’re taking him to the vets this morning, and he knows it. Seppi is 14 and blind, though you could never tell.

Seppi close-up

Oh so handsome – and very sweet natured 🙂

Terracotta kitty on a garage roof

Terracotta kitty on a garage roof



Gosh, It’s True…Cats Are Evil!

Everybody knows that my love of cakes is only rivalled by my love of kitties. But these two I spotted a couple of days ago in Key West outside an abandoned house gave me the heebie jeebies… they certainly did not like having their picture taken!

Evil Cats

WTF are you looking at, Lady?!

A Date With Hemingway’s Six-Toed Cats

Key West was Ernest Hemingway’s home for a decade. I didn’t get round to visiting his house (now a museum) last year, but this time round, it was firmly on my list. My motivation was not so much the hunt for juicy insights on the illustrious, troubled writer and his seedy life, but to get my hands on the infamous six-toed kittehs.

Six-toedness springs from a genetic mutation, and cats with six toes are meant to bring good luck. For this reason, they were a popular choice for ships’ cats for centuries. Indeed, Hemingway was given his original six-toed cat, named Snowball, by a ship’s captain. The man was very accident-prone, probably because he was a war correspondent and pissed as a newt most of the time, and so he was always in search of good luck charms. He loved his lucky cats, and reportedly replied, when asked why his house was overrun by them, that “one cat lead to another”.

Today, there are 45 six-toed cats on the grounds of Hemingway’s house, all of them Snowball’s descendents.

Without further a do, here are some snaps of them:

See 'em toes?

See ’em tootsies?

Big feet or what?!

You need big feet to accommodate all of them!

Sorry lady, your toes may be all pretty and painted, but they are not nearly as interesting as mine!

Sorry lady, your toes may be all pretty and painted, but they are not nearly as interesting as mine!

The pampered creatures claim the best snoozing spots around the house, safely out of reach of the tourist hordes trampling through.

Like in the middle of Hemingway's bed

Like in the middle of Hemingway’s cordoned-off bed

...and on the chairs in his writing studio.

…and in a sunny spot in his writing studio.

This doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy a good scratch behind the ears.

Spoiled cat

Sometimes they like to pose:

Quite regal, aren't I?

Quite regal, aren’t I?

Sometimes they can’t be bothered to pay us any attention at all:

Bottom cat

They get into skirmishes, as cats do:

I'm the boss around here, you gangly git!

I’m the boss around here, you gangly git!

Nobody messes with me...

Nobody messes with me…


The six-toed kitty walk of fame???

And for all those who’ve slinked through the big cat flap in the sky, there’s a shady spot:

Cat cemetery Cemetery

This Cat Sure Knows How To Pose!

A couple of weeks ago, my dear friend, who makes a regular appearance as “Northern Star” in this blog’s comments section, sent me this hilarious link, which some of you have already seen:

I’ve no idea how long it must have taken the author to put this masterpiece together – it totally had me in stitches. (My faves are no.10 and no.13).

Now, this made me think of my friend Bev’s outrageously photogenic cat. He’s called Leo, and he’s a total pro, just look at him(!):

A hard day at work at the office

A hard day at the office. For some. Not so much for Leo, artfully sprawling himself across the desk. Those legs go on forever! And I think he’s pouting…!


No contest really, is there?!


King of the fruit bowl. Who the hell eats fruit anyway?

Perfect paw position! Just missing the hat...

Paw in perfect modesty position! Just missing a hat…

See what I mean...?

See what I mean…?

Now, before anyone starts giving me stick for googling dodgy stuff on the interwebs, I’d just like to point out that I’m not alone. Proof comes in the form of Lola, “Northern Star’s” little black cat, caught red-pawed on the dining room table:

Now if that isn't the look of abject guilt!

Now if that isn’t the look of abject guilt!

Nice try, Leo,

Nice try there with the bedroom eyes, Leo, but don’t get your hopes up… Lola clearly has a thing for raaawwwrrrrrrly brawny stripers!

Should Leo have his own blog? I think so!!

[Want more cat pictures? Click here]

Cat Talk: Dignity

Been sneaking up on Toledo’s unsuspecting cats again… these creatures are endlessly entertaining 🙂

Cat games

“Ahrgh! There! Take this, you stupid stupid stupid post!!!!”

You've not a shred of dignity, have you...?

“You’ve not a shred of dignity, have you…?”

“Eh…? Why don’t you go and stick your head into your plant pot? Looks like it could do with some more compost!”

The cat in the middle pic belongs to a friend of a friend, where we had dinner on Saturday. The cat’s name is Lila, and that window is her absolute favourite vantage point, she sits there all day long.

For more Cat Talk, click here.

Kitty Litter

If you’re not a cat person, you may cover your eyes now. I promise I won’t go on for too long.

In a previous post, I mentioned that the streets of Toledo’s historic town centre are largely impassable for vehicles. And neither is there any space for rubbish containers to collect household waste.

Toledo Street

Where would you put your wheelie bin? And a standard rubbish collection truck is hardly going to climb up those steps…

Toledo Street

…and nor is it going to squeeze through there.

Toledo Rubbish Collection Truck

So, what happens is that the residents put out their trash every night in a pile, and around midnight, a squadron of custom-built midget-sized rubbish collection vehicles picks it up. (See above. Refuse from local businesses, such as shops and restaurants, is collected during the day)

Toledo Trash

In the evening hours, when the garbage bags are multiplying on every street corner, Toledo’s enormous population of feral cats comes looking for tidbits.

This tortoiseshell (calico) cat is the alpha female of the trash collection point outside my front door.

This tortoiseshell female rules the roost at the trash collection point opposite my front door.

One of my neighbours leaves our a pile of food on a piece of aluminium foil. The ginger tom on the right is the male boss cat. The two cats in the centre are two of the many kittens he's produced with the female in the previous picture.

One of my neighbours leaves out a pile of food on a piece of aluminium foil every night. The ginger tom on the right is the male boss cat patrolling my corner. The two kittens in the middle are but a small sample of those he made earlier with the aforementioned female.

And to finish off, a couple of random pictures of Toledo’s cats, taken at a different location.

Toledo Cats

Nicely lined up and all snuggly

An exotic beauty...

An exotic beauty with a forlorn stare… moggies beware!