Cats are notoriously aloof and elusive souls, which is one reason I adore them so, and why I take such pride in my feline-whispering abilities. When I'm somewhere they're likely to be, my first order of business is to make contact―the Holy Grail being to romance them into getting scooped up and letting me press those warm underneath pad parts of their feet ageeinst mah face! I switch into my most charming reassuring catspeak, and they know that I know: they come chirping, blinking in approval, weaving vigorous figure eights through my legs with almost involuntary affection. (I have the opposite effect on dogs.)
Still I wondered if my game would be enough to impress the strays of old Gorbio, a medieval seaside town in the mountains of the French Riviera where I visited one summer. Across the Atlantic, wandering that twelfth-century village near the clouds, part of me was expecting 'different' cats. Would these old-world French felines be extra snooty? Into cheese and smoking? Or unapproachable feral vagrants ready with flesh-shredding violence should I dare to put the moves on?!
The first encounter along my tour―a grey-and-white tabby who, not only let me hold her, but then bouncily pursued me into a rustic church―allayed any doubt. Deeper into the damp overcast alleyways, a blind orange one with cloudy blue eyes remained remarkably calm as my approaching voice progressed into petting; in the absence of mutual sight, our essences connected.
I gather this primal spiritual communication would be the same with cats in Italy, Australia, Afghanistan...
As with the people around this vast rock.
Not so foreign after all.
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