15 November 2010

Il n'est si petit chat...

...qui n'égratigne. That means: "No cat is too small to scratch you." Never underestimate your adversaries, in other words. Not that I have any!

Let me say this about the neighbor whose only solution to the Bertie situation is to take him to the SPA (the French counterpart of our SPCA and RSPCA). She doesn't seem to be anybody's favorite neighbor. She and our other neighbors across the road have been on the outs with each other for years... decades, actually. I wouldn't call it a feud, but an icy silence reigns.

From what I can glean, she is also on the outs with other neighbors too. I surmise as much from her absence when there are neighborhood gatherings and she and her daughter are about the only neighbors not in attendance. A few years ago, some people invited us and them over together for a New Year's cocktail, but they first asked us to assure them that we were all were on speaking terms. That was a clue.

So I do consider the source of the cat-handling advice. And I hope none of them reads this blog!

It's interesting that two other neighbors have told me that one of these neighbors' cats — a beautiful, pure white one, the polar opposite of Bertie in appearance — is also very aggressive. One neighbor says that several times the white cat has come into her house through an open door or window, and she says the cat gets pushy and uncooperative when she tries to shoo it out. Another described the white cat as « effronté » — the dictionary gives "insolent, impudent, cheeky (Brit), sassy (US)" as translations for that term.

As for Bertie's aggressive behavior, I of course have no idea why he mounted a sneak attack on the neighbor woman's legs. I can't know whether she did anything to provoke him. I am really glad that she and her mother witnessed our interaction with Bertie, when we found him up on their roof the other day. I called him and he came to me immediately. He almost jumped into my arms. I handed him off to Walt and their was no struggle or commotion. He was docility incarnate.

I appreciate all the advice and information in the comments. I don't want to keep Bertie confined, especially since he and Callie don't mix happily. Chats et chiens, mauvais voisins, they say. Bertie is too independent to become an indoor cat now. I also don't want to give him up, and I certainly don't want him euthanized. We've become really fond of him. Besides, he hasn't committed any crime, and he doesn't have a terminal illness.

"Day by day..." is my blog tagline. So that's what it will be.

It's time for Bertie to go to the vet's anyway, so I'll take him this week, if I can figure out how. He needs some booster shots and a general checkup. It'll be a good chance to talk to one of the vets about his behavior, cat behavior in general, and our options.

By the way, looking around I found French this blog written by a cat. It's called "in the eye of a cat" — as the cat sees things.


  1. We have a cat saga in our neighborhood. It is rumored that one crazy lady is poisoning cats that dare wander her yard, but no one can prove it's her behind the disappearing cats mystery.

  2. Youpiii for all four family members chez vous :))

    Silly neighbor. Although, it's sad to know that she's on the outs with everyone. It makes you wonder if she isn't just cranky from being lonely. You could just imagine this as the start of a children's book... ending with the elderly lady softening up despite herself when the neighbors begin to dote on her and bring her goodies and pay attention to her :))


  3. yay for keeping bertie......cats are just territorial and there will likely always be stand offs with neighbor cats......maybe bertie will get the picture to stay away from that neighbor ...esp if she hoses him down a couple more times.....she might be making a mountain out of a mole hill too (one of my neighbors did that and i was guilted into paying for a vet check on his cat when it was nothing at all)

  4. Oh, now I know the rest of the story. I take back what I said about finding a new home for Bertie. Your neighbor sounds like the problem from what you've posted today.

    Your idea of talking to the vet sounds like a good one. I hope that this situation will be resolved without any more flare ups from the neighbors.

  5. Evelyn, hi. I don't know. We've tried to be friendly with those particular neighbors, and the younger woman (my age or a little younger) has been understanding. She's the one who got scratched. She disagreed when her mother said we should take Bertie to the SPA immediately. I hate conflict with neighbors. I just wish I could modify Bertie's behavior somehow.

    Judy, yes, I wish we could "soften her up." We've been friendly and we've had mostly friendly relations with her, and more so with her daughter.

    Melinda, I think you've put your finger on it. Over-reaction on their part. I do however worry about Bertie's safety, fearing something like Meredith mentioned in the first comment. Especially since Bertie was injured last spring, just after we took him in. I'll never know whether somebody clubbed him, or if he got hit by a car, or what. He did recover, obviously.

  6. Also Ken... don't forget that cats can recognise cat-people! Equally, they recognise cat-haters... our two will slink off elsewhere if a cat hater appears... I had a ginger and white [tom] that would appear to do the same and attack from under which ever chair the person was sitting on [which meant ankles got it first]... another cat, inherited from my brother when he moved into a flat, knew from old that my mother hated her.... so she always made a bee-line for her lap!! Such are the subtle ways [or not] of our feline chums. Butter wouldn't melt.... like HE**!!

  7. I hope Bertie will be fine. You would think the neighbor would get the message after a year or two.

  8. Hi Tim, the woman Bertie scratched loves cats! She keep three of them. That's the part I don't understand.


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