8 January 2009

Retirement Heaven

A few years ago when J bought her house in the inner Berlin suburb of Wilmersdorf, it came with a cat. The previous owners were moving abroad to an apartment where they couldn't have pets, so they asked if J would take her. We joke that she paid for the cat, and the house came free.

She goes by the rather cool name of Mata Hari, and we estimate that she's about 12 years old. In typical independent cat fashion, she is aloof most of the time; affectionate when she chooses; purrs loudly when the humans are trying to sleep, and brings in live mice at 2am so that everyone can leap out of bed to play that popular and entertaining game, "Catch that mouse", while she looks on.

After J sold the house, Mata Hari moved to live with our friend S. A series of house moves and the introduction of 2 boisterous dogs into their family meant that the stability in the cat's life was under threat. Time to take her to J's parents in Bad Karlshafen.

Mata Hari now lives in retirement heaven. She has a whole house, big back yard and even bigger apple orchard as her domain in which to live and hunt. Two humans are her servants at will, and the window sills have been cleared so that she can sit on them and stare out at the birds and the other cats on the street.

She sleeps in J's parents bed - often between them, and especially if they make any attempt to have a cuddle! In the mornings, she can be found perched on top of J's father's stomach as they wake up together.

Cat doors have been installed so that she may come and go at her discretion. She has 3 favourite daytime sleeping locales: the choice of 2 stools in the living room, or on top of J's father's desk in his study - right beside where the warm air is vented out of his laptop.

The 3 dogs, who live with J's sister and brother-in-law in an apartment above the main house, are kept in control by this tiny cat. She doesn't bother with them unless they come too close. A quick hiss and a swipe of a paw usually sends the dogs running.

J's conversations with her parents are now punctuated with updates on Mata Hari's latest exploits. The move has been good for the cat, and has provided entertainment and new focus for J's parents - another life to nurture. We'll sometimes receive a phone call filled with laughter, just to tell us what the cat has done.

While we were in Bad Karlshafen over Christmas, Mata Hari would sit on a chair in the kitchen and attempt to hypnotise me as I cooked, willing me to allow pieces of chicken or beef to fall off the counter. Of course, she never succeeded, but I often wonder how the meat did end up in her bowl.

Mata_Hari001She took a liking to my soft neoprene computer case, and would curl up as small as can be to fit onto it. If I moved it, she would be most unhappy; sitting at my feet, glaring at me and making little rumbling noises until I put it back on the sofa.

Spoiled cat!


Jayne said...

Very spoilt by the looks of it! As much as I'm not a 'cat' person, I find it lovely that people like J's parents have taken Mata Hari in. Bless 'em :-)

Aussie said...

I had trouble understanding this line 'on top of J's father's desk in his study - right beside where the warm air is vented out of his laptop' until I realised you were talking about a computer. Lol. Where is my mind?

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

I really can't like cats! Dogs are fine, especially Border Collies, kelpies and mutts. However we've had cats on and off, one time Supercat and Bushcat - one indoor, the other outdoor!
Have you read about the awful Fiji floods? Worst since '72 they say.

nzm said...

Jayne: yeah, I'm not a cat person either, it's dogs for me. But MH is a nice cat and yes, J's parents are wonderful people - not only because they took in the cat!

Aussie: LOL! I can understand the confusion! Have you got a dog to get rid of your cat problem?

Wendy: Me neither, dogs for me. Yes, read about the floods and have seen pics. Terrible.

Floods of '72 would have been caused by Hurricane Bebe. I can remember being sent home from school early when it became evident that the hurricane would hit Fiji. We taped windows, sealed doors, put up plywood over the windows and then huddled in Mum and Dad's downstairs bedroom with candles. The thing I remember most is the noise - it was deafening. When the eye went through, we all came out to check up on the neighbours and then endured another fews hours of raging storm.

We were lucky - pretty unaffected. We helped some of the worst-hit villages through my dad's Rotary Club. I also remember seeing the blue relief tents donated by other countries dotted around Viti Levu for months afterwards.

Qatar Cat said...

Despite appearances, I am not a cat person AT ALL, but I do love watching someone else's cat misbehave! ;-)