I have a weakness for men, especially for those who spend their holiday in my home town, Mykonos Town. They throw titbits about – so whenever they’re out eating, I dash to their feet.
However, it’s no fun being a cat on a windy day like today. The wind tousles my fur and knocks chairs over, causing many a narrow escape. I’m waiting for today’s first titbit under the wreck of an old boat, right next to the least windy café in town, the Kavos. The other side of the bay looks more interesting, with the town white and fresh and little boats rocking in front of the fish market, a sure sign of fish.
The market, all in marble, reminds me of a sailing boat with three masts. Under white awnings, last night’s catch is thrashing about. An unguarded case contains two monsters, almost a yard long, looking like snakes more than fish. Touching them, I realize they’re already dead. I’m too small to drag them away, so I take cover under a car to think the situation over.
From my hideout, I witness that certain animals are treated better than others. At the very end of the market, the fishermen have placed a bowl of water with soaked bread where pigeons and ducks can help themselves. And the pelican Petros, repeatedly trying to get his giant beak into the basins until a fisherman gives him a whole fish.
I abandon the fish market to ingratiate myself with the men in the cafés of the promenade. Unfortunately, they pay no attention to me at all because of Petros. After a lot of flapping of wings, he managed to take off and is right now gliding elegantly from side to side above our heads. Oh, how I wish I could fly like Petros! I would then get all the fish I could eat, like he does.
A nose for men
At twilight, the men flock to the centre of town, hungry after a windy day on the beach. They smell so strongly of aftershave that I sneeze, waking myself up, just in time to say goodbye to a disappearing blushing sun and start my evening preparations. As tavern cruising requires speed, suppleness and a prepossessing appearance, I get fit through stretch exercises, face wash and the grooming of fur.
At long last, my nose locates roast chicken, in a peaceful tavern where a guy is munching a chicken breast. His table, the last one at the wall, is surronded by bushes at the back, making it easy for me to hide from the waiters. The conditions are ideal, but the man is absentminded. Discreetly, I put my forepaws on the edge of his table – no reaction. When tapping him on the thigh, pieces of chicken eventually come sailing through the air.
Afterwards, it’s showtime. I jump onto the stage, a doorframe beside the table, sit down gracefully and neatly park my tail along the side of my body. Slowly and thoroughly, I clean my face with freshly licked paws and lastly, run the long red tongue of mine three times round my mouth. In return for my posing, the man tickles me, deliciously hard and long, and his farewell makes me purr with joy, “Until tomorrow, Pussy!”
Big taverns have lots to offer, and one of the biggest is situated on the sloping square uptown, popular among men travelling in groups. It’s scary here tonight, the tablecloths fluttering over my head and the wind tearing at the tarpaulin walls, making it sound like a thunderstorm. “How many are you?”, shouts the waiter to a group of guys on their way in. “12!”, calls the first one back. The waiters promptly rig up a long dining table.
Dressed in identical smart shirts and loudly shouting, the waiters soon carry one plate of food in after another. I stay in the background to avoid being kicked. The 12 men certainly love cats – still, they have no eye for what’s happening on cat level as they sit so close that turning round means bumping into their neighbour. The most strategic place for me would be under the table, but all the feet, many in boots, twitch too much.
A square deal
Such is a cat’s life – boots, chair legs and kicking waiters. That’s why we have joined the union “Friends of Animals in Mykonos”. In leading shops, collection boxes welcome contributions toward animal welfare. The union fights for more floor space and demands that action be taken against violent waiters who must learn to turn a blind eye to cats busy eating. We cats promise to appear well-groomed and free from scars caused by fighting, and to carry on with our business silently, without one single meow.
Weren’t the guys so generous, the cats would become skinny and depressed, and the men would get bored and lonely if the cats let them down. Our relationship, until now casual, should become more formal. Apart from showering meat and fish on us, the men should cough up money for the collection boxes, often and generously. I then guarantee they’ll be surrounded by healthy and happy cats, each and every day. With our soft fur, we’ll rub ourselves against their legs, gently tap them on the thigh and never fail to give them beguiling looks.
Copyright © 2002 Terje Raa