Apparently, February is "Cat Appreciation Month," a fact of which I was completely unaware until I saw it on-line yesterday. (And if it's on the internet, you know it must be true.) I find it utterly amazing that mothers and fathers have been allotted only one day a year to be appreciated, but an entire MONTH has been dedicated to CATS! However, in the spirit of February's feline focus, I decided to use today's post to tell you about an interesting cat that my husband and I met in Amsterdam back on January 21.
We capped off a whirlwind day of sightseeing that Sunday (touring the canals and the Anne Frank House) by going out to dinner at a charming little Italian restaurant called San Remo's. We were escorted to our romantic little table-for-two by the window; and as we were getting settled, we realized that there was a cat on the windowsill, lying there warming himself behind the neon "Open" sign. Okay, first of all, have you ever seen a cat hanging out in a restaurant in this country? And secondly, if you did see one, wouldn't you expect the proprietors to shoo it off the premises? It's different in Europe, I guess. This cat was obviously a pet of the owners or something--and he obviously had no intention of leaving his cozy perch on the windowsill. He looked pretty comfortable there, as if sitting and watching diners eat was something he did every night of his life.
I have to say that this cat was very polite: he didn't jump on our laps, or up onto the table; he didn't try to get at our food or pester us for a hand-out, the way any dog would undoubtedly do. But he did spend much of the time we were eating just sitting near the table, quietly staring at us. You know, in that cold, calculating, cat-like way--which is so different from the way a big, slobbery dog stares at you, with his eyes full of unconditional love and devotion. This cat's eyes looked anything but love-filled; I tell you, if looks could kill, we'd have been dead. I kept thinking, "Shouldn't someone make this cat go away and leave us alone?" And yet at the same time, my husband and I both found the whole situation quite amusing.
Although the San Remo's cat grew on me after awhile (I mean, he really was kind of cute, and he didn't bother us at all during our meal), I didn't want to pay too much attention to him while we were eating, because I was afraid he'd get too friendly with us. I needn't have worried about that, as you'll see. As we were putting on our coats and getting ready to leave, I leaned down to pet him. He didn't purr contentedly and become my best buddy for life--no, far from it; in fact, he wouldn't let me pet him at all. That cat's claws came out and he hissed at me! Message received, spawn of Satan!
That, to me, is typical cat behavior (whether here or abroad). It gave me flashbacks to a terrifying incident in the 70's, when I was stalked and attacked by our family pet, a psychotic black cat named Harvey. (And that's why I'll always be a dog person!) But I'm supposed to spend the whole month of February appreciating cats? Sorry, but I don't think that's going to happen.