Monday, 15 October 2007

CATTINESS

Now... I have to explain how it with me and cats: I am - and have always been - allergic to felines. I only had my childhood pet, Tiddles (yes, I know!), for a week before the recurrent asthma attacks dictated that T------ had to go away to live with Auntie Margaret and Uncle Harry...

Since then, cats and I tend to keep a healthy distance from each other - except, of course, for those malicious ones who sense the opportunity of causing an allergic reaction and make a determined bee-line for me as soon as I enter a room!

Even our friend Sophie's new cats, Dylan and (below) Zebedee, who I only ever encounter after taking reasonable dosages of antihistamine, largely ignore me - other than posing for photographs, that is...



It's rather sad really, because I do like cats - it's just that I can't exactly ENJOY THEM...

When we were in Greece we saw a great many cats, but it was only since coming home that I ran across the following...
It is a little known fact that the untimely demise of the Ancient Greek civilisation is attributable to the lack of esteem in which they held their cats.

Compare them with the ancient Romans, who, whilst they still had a way to go before they were properly tamed, achieved the level of civilisation where they were able to have mutually beneficial feline relationships.

Modern Greeks however, are very different to their forbears - everyone likes cats in Greece...
Indeed they do, which accounts for the proliferation of Greek Cat Calendars, books, postcards and even graffiti...


So, today, I've chosen a few Greek feline encounters of my own.

There are guardians...


Sentinels...


Beggars...


Waifs...


And decidedly sinister-looking characters...


As well as those who insist on taking the chair and making their point...


And insignificant little characters who look as though they wouldn't say "Boo!" to a goose...


...but who will still go a couple of rounds with the local cock-of-the-walk!


As for this photo: it's (obviously) entitled Puss 'n' Boots!


Photographer Hans Sylvester astutely wrote in his book Les Chats du Soleil...
These cats, that are domestic cats, are not abandoned, neither wild, they live for centuries with the humans.

The Greek people of these islands like them without really liking them, they take care of them without really taking care of them; but they accept them totally.

These cats are part of daily life, they've always been here, like the wind, the sun, the sea, the day and the night.

Images: © Brian Sibley, 2007

5 comments:

Eudora said...

I have asthma and some medical problems with my allergy to cats and other elements, well I had allergy to cats, years of treatment with vaccines finished some of the problems...

Now I can say that I have two cats, Blimunda and Gabriela, mother and daughter. Blimunda is the embodiment of the stillness...perhaps I will send you a photo, to your webmaster. Bli is like a blessing, she appeared one day, two months old, she liked my house, my garden, I was surprise because she didn´t cause me any problem, nor asthma or runny nose... a blessing

Andy J. Latham said...

"...like the wind, the sea, the day and the night"

That describes our cat. Well it's someone elses cat, but it comes to visit us numerous times every day. It is the result of us kind heartedly offering it some milk one day as it looked a bit sad.

Unfortunately I too am allergic to the things, which is a shame since I love cats. Thus we usually just look at each other from either side of a pane of glass. I'm sure he looks at me like I'm a monkey in the zoo though.

Brian Sibley said...

Thanks EUDORA and ANDY... I often wonder how cats view us -- if, indeed, they do in any sense that we would understand.

Fiona R said...

Reminds me of a poem:

Cat in the Snow

Stepping gingerly,
he goes
through the garden
when it snows,
hoping not
to wet his toes.
And I’m sure
he never knows
every footprint
is a Rose.

Arleen Fisher

I too am allergic to cats but I still love them.

polkadotsoph said...

Zebedee is honoured to appear on your blog and may well compose his own reply later once he has finished writing his novel, "I Catticus" about imperial roman cats and their quest for democracy and an end to all dogma... or was it an end to all dogs? Not sure.

Dylan is playing with a pistachio nut.