Moved on, in some form or another

Don’t read on if you were planning on having a happy day. This is not a happy place. But they were all good kitties, so they deserve some space.

Go here instead.

Grumpy Old No-Name

A classic mug-faced, foul-tempered, countryside tomcat. The kind of animal that would not take shit from anyone nor anything, neither man nor dog nor truck.

When we first moved in here and my wife began to work abroad during the week, I had Sunday to Thursday evenings to myself. From spring to fall, the sun setting over the vineyards makes for a tranquil and beautiful background to a relaxing scotch or cigar on the back porch. It does get a bit lonely, though.

G.O.N.N. just sort of showed up one day, plopping down on the low wall next to our patio, chillin’ like a villain. I never fed him, nor tried to pet him, I don’t think my hand would have survived the attempt in any case. But there we’d sit, just two dudes enjoying the sunset. Guys need more guy friends.

I’m not even sure he was a dude, I never checked, nor asked. Whatever.

One day, he didn’t show up anymore. I choose to believe that he’s off terrorising a barnyard somewhere. Fare thee well, big guy, wherever you are now.

I tolerate your presence. Barely.


Lucie was one of the original brood, a skinny, fluffy-footed, ginger little kitten, somewhat out of place amidst his grey and black siblings. He was my favourite, the only one of the bunch who would let me pet him, hanging out on the kitty bed I put out for them on the patio, purring for belly rubs. Within limits that is, after all, they are all pretty wild and barbarous.

I called him Lucie because my (very red-headed) then-coworker of the same name and same degree of cat compatibility took one look at a picture of him I shared during a video call, and, with a very un-dignified little girl shriek of delight, insisted I name him, well, Lucie.

There is evidence that cats full well understand the names we give them, they just choose to ignore us when we call. Either way, I don’t think Lucie gave a toss, as long as he had his sunny spot.

I found him one morning, under the big pine in our garden, dirty-faced and weak. I still don’t know what got him, but he didn’t survive the race to the veterinary hospital.

I’m sorry buddy, I tried, I hope you like the rose bush and the nice view.

Anywhere you could plop, you plopped.


“Oh god, not another one”.

Yes, dear, definitely another one. What will we name him?

Cocaine, it is.

The girls at the vet hospital thought that was very funny. No doubt so did my wife, despite her momentary foul humour at yet another denizen of the Dimension of Cats popping up.

Cocaine was never friendly. It took me ages to coax him out of the neighbouring barn window with little tins of wet cat food (at 59 cents a pop at the local supermarket, the finest pork offal and pureed horse anuses money can buy in bulk). He eventually grew brave enough to come close-ish whenever there was food to be had, but never so much as to be mingle with the other cats.

He did, however, like to lurk on the upper floor of the ruined farmhouse on our property, coming out to enthusiastically swat at the long wire with feathers and bells cat toy / fishing (catting?) rod whenever I visited him on my way to and from the office.

Cocaine disappeared after a few months; our builder spotted him, emaciated and pretty messed up. I managed to grab him and bundle him off to the vet – not that there he put up much resistance in his feeble state.

He didn’t make it through the night. Poor little guy is now resting next to Lucie, with his own white-flowering rhododendron and a view of the vineyard. I left him his favourite toy.

Better days (for the lawn, as well)

Fluffy (Honourable Mention)

That is one angry-ass bird.

Found in the yard, as Rorschach decided it was a toy. No, Rorschach, birds are not toys. Fluffy was a Turdus philomelos according to the excellent Merlin Bird ID app, very common here, and also very loud.

It seemed pretty beat up, but alive, so I put it in a covered basket in a quiet room with some blankets, water, and every kind of fruit, vegetable, cheese bits, meat bits, and whatever else I had lying around that it could possibly want to eat.

The next morning, I called the Rurales (Catalan rural agents), whom I’d already once brought a baby bat, and was told to bring Fluffy to the local vet. Once there, the staff called the agents again, only to be told they didn’t care about this species and I might as well feed it to the cats or throw it on the BBQ. Err, no.

Equipped with a bag of expired parrot food (all the nice girls at the veterinary hospital had lying around, but worth a shot), I put Fluffy into a large cage with lots of pine needles and water and branches to hide in until we figured out what the hell to do with him, or he got better and I could release him without condemning him to an express tour of a cat’s insides – wouldn’t we all love a bird friend?

Unfortunately Fluffy did not make it, and he (she? It?) is now buried in the sad spot beneath the big oak tree, next to Lucie and the others, with a nice view of the vineyard. Sing on, little Fluffy, you were too angry for this world.

Gauche / Miso

Hey, that doesn’t look like one of our usual gray cats.

Also, he’s a lot louder than our usual gray cats.

Oh. Good. Another one.

My wife named him Gauche, I let her come up with what to call them, I reckon it’s a small price to pay for her putting up with the Zone of Cat Shit that was once our lawn before we gave up and stopped watering it last year during an impending drought and the daily great migration of the construction worker tribe.

He’s a big, vocal snugglebunny. It broke my heart to lock him up in a cage over night to make sure he didn’t eat or run away before I took him to the vet the next morning to get neutered.

Ten minutes after I dropped him off, the receptionist from the vet clinic called. He’s already castrated, he’s chipped, his actual name is Miso, and his owner’s been looking for him for ages!

A happy ending, except that his owner then left me a message – partially to say thanks, partially asking me to keep an eye out for the other cat she’d lost. You can’t win.

There is no better picture. It was late