18 November 2018

The cat

These photos are nine days old. I took them while we were still having sunny weather. For nearly a week now, our daytime weather has been foggy — and I mean the pea-soup kind of fog. In French, they say purée de pois to describe it.

That day, I was taking some photos of our fall colors — mostly yellows —from an upstairs window. This yellow tree is called a tilleul [tee-'yuhl] in French. It's a linden tree, and in some flavors of English it's called a lime tree. That's very confusing, I think, mais passons... And a related tree in North America is called a basswood.

We were having Indian Summer weather then. Anyway, I was taking pictures of the linden tree when I noticed that Bertie the black cat was out sunbathing on the path that runs through the back yard. He was taking advantage of the fine weather and warm sunshine.

So I focused on Bertie with my long-zoom camera and took some photos of him. He'll be 13 years old in the spring, and he's lived with us here for 8½ years now. It hasn't always been easy, but he has stayed with us. Callie the Border Collie, who departed this world in June 2017, never accepted him. The neighbors didn't get along with him. I think black cats don't have an easy life. He's a hunter and a fighter, and he has lost both the upper and lower fangs on one side of his mouth in battles with other local felines.

Bertie, who was named by the English woman who left him with us when she left France to return to the U.K. in 2010, was born here in Saint-Aignan. He is half Siamese and very vocal. At this time of year, he likes to spend time sleeping near a radiator, for the warmth. He and Tasha the Sheltie get along well, so Bert is spending a lot more time in the house than he did when Callie was still with us.


  1. I'm not especially fond of cats, but I make a big exception for Bertie who is such a sweet cat He never fought back when he was attacked repeatedly by Callie.

  2. "Attacked repeatedly" is a little over the top. Callie never gave signs of wanting to injure Bertie. She just wanted him to be gone — out of the house. It was normal behavior for a dog vis à vis a cat. Poor Bertie had lived the first four years of his life with a dog that was born at about the same time as he was, and I think he was mystified by the whole situation. But he coped and is still standing. He could have just disappeared years ago, but he's still here. He was surely the dominant animal in his first relationship with a dog, and now he is in the dominant position again. He has always been a fighter. Callie was an insecure and fairly neurotic, but affectionate creature. That's part of what made her easy to love. Collette was, and Natasha is, much more self-assured and independent.

  3. I don't think I knew Bertie was part Siamese. He's a good cat for sure and these close-ups are nice to see.

  4. What an amazing thing that zoom lens is!

  5. Nice photos of Bertie enjoying his bain de soliel. He looks like he would be nice to pet. Callie wanted Bertie gone, that almost sounds like siblings when the parents bring home the new baby...Glorious colors on your linden tree. Thanks for the heads up on puree de pois; I've also heard the word "brumeur" used for fog (I think).

  6. Bertie is a fine looking cat!


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