The Bittersweet Freedom of Catlessness [en]

[fr] Visite féline durant le mois à venir. Je garde Kitty, le chat d'une de mes anciennes cat-sitteuses. Juste retour des choses, et occasion d'une réflexion sur ma vie sans chat/avec chat.

Bagha's spot on my desk

I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite a few months. What prompts me to write it now is that there is a cat in my flat, and will be for the next month. Kitty belongs to a friend of mine, who is going abroad for a month. She used to cat-sit Bagha back in the day. So, I’m taking care of Kitty for her while she’s away.

Kitty is a shy character, maybe a leftover of her past life as a stray. I have been trying to coax her out from under a piece of furniture with little bits of ham — and my plan for making friends over the next weeks involves clicker-training. You’ll get photographs once she comes out of hiding.

Over the last months, saddened though I was by Bagha’s death, I have been enjoying the freedom of catlessness. I have travelled a lot (maybe too much), and appreciated being able to stay elsewhere overnight on a whim without feeling bad about leaving my cat alone. (One could discuss how justified feeling bad about leaving Bagha alone for a night was, but that’s another topic.)

Now that I’m clearly out of the acute stage of grief, and that my catless life seems very normal, I wonder how I’ll feel about giving up some of that freedom again for furry companions. Of course, the freedom you give up for an animal when its young and healthy is not the same as when it is old and declining. (Kittens, though, are another story. I’m not sure I want kittens. Kittens are cute. Of course I’d love kittens. But I’m not sure I want to go through a year of having baby cats in the house.)

I’m not finding it too difficult to enjoy my freedom. I thought I would be more conflicted about it. Feeling bad about being happy to be free [because I don’t have a cat anymore]. I was a bit, intially. Now… sometimes I even forget to be sad. I think that’s a good sign.

This month with Kitty, in addition to helping out a friend, is also an opportunity for me to be “with cat” again. Another cat than Bagha. I mentioned that one of the things I needed to do to sort through my grieving emotions was separate my sadness of losing Bagha from my sadness of being catless. Maybe the coming month will be a chance to tie up a few loose ends around that theme.

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What Made Bagha Such a Special Cat For Me [en]

[fr] Un pas de plus sur le chemin du deuil, alors que je m'apprête à éparpiller les cendres de Bagha dans le jardin où il passait ses journées. Tentative un peu laborieuse d'identifier (et de trier) ce qui dans la douleur de la perte de mon chat est proprement la douleur de sa mort, et ce qui est simplement la douleur de la solitude retrouvée.

I started writing this months ago, not long after Bagha died. In India, to be precise. As a way to help me come to terms with his loss, I spent some time trying to write down what made him special for me. What is it exactly that I’m grieving, through him?

Bagha's Floppy Nap 3

I actually tried to blog this once before, and that ended up being the article “Sorting Through Grief“. Like all painful things, it’s tempting to postpone this kind of exercise — but now that I’m preparing to take Bagha’s ashes out of the back of my cupboard to scatter them in the garden he loved, I feel it is time to pick up this list again. I need to move forward. These last weeks, or maybe months, I’ve slipped into a not-too-uncomfortable limbo somewhere along the road of grief. There was a little sideroad somewhere with a bench, and I sat down.

It’s time to start walking again.

What follows is a little raw. It’s also not “perfect” — meaning that I’m aware I’m failing at sorting through some of the things I was hoping to sort through while writing this. That’s the whole point, I guess. Otherwise I would just sail “happily” through grief, if it wasn’t that difficult for me.

So, what made Bagha such a special cat for me? Quoting from my previous post, here’s what I’m trying to disentangle:

  • what it means for me to now be living completely alone (ie, “petless” => by extension, what having a pet — any pet — adds to my life)
  • what made Bagha special, as compared to other cats (his personal caracteristics, pretty objectively)
  • what made Bagha special for me, in terms of the relationship we had and what he meant to me

I’ll start by setting aside the obvious: what kind of cat Bagha was, outside of the relationship I had with him.


  • he was big and strong
  • he was a beautiful animal
  • he had a mashed-up nose and ear tufts
  • he had a long non-twitchy tail
  • he slept on his back with his front paws crossed
  • he was long-legged and slim with very sleek fur — had the body of an Indian cat
  • he was a spotted/striped tabby with lovely eyeliner

New Year Bagha 1And also:

  • he slept on his back, front paws crossed on his chest
  • he had a very girly high-pitched meow which was kind of comical for such a big boy
  • he snored gently in his sleep and made little moaning noises when being petted


  • he wasn’t fearful
  • he liked people and people liked him
  • he was smart
  • he was communicative
  • he was dignified
  • he had an attitude
  • he was cuddly without being needy
  • he was patient and tolerant but not out of fear
  • he had a strong character
  • he was very territorial and peed on all the bushes

It's MY computerThings he did (I’m aware we’re in the anecdotal department here):

  • he opened the fridge
  • he drank out of the toilet
  • he gnawed on drawer handles
  • he played with sticks and chewed them like a dog, holding them between his two front paws
  • he would creep into cupboards the second the door was opened
  • he opened drawers
  • whenever possible, he would rest his head on a pillow (proper or improvised — a laptop would do)
  • he would deftly knock over glasses of water to drink it
  • he would knock things off my bedside table if I didn’t wake up fast enough

The cat and his humanHow he was with me, bearing in mind that this is pretty standard cat-behaviour:

  • he loved having his belly rubbed
  • he liked being carried under one arm
  • he liked being cuddled curled up on my chest
  • he’d sleep with his head and paw resting on my arm

More about his behaviour and interactions with me and other humans, which is maybe a little less “cat-standard”, but not yet the stuff that made my relationship with him so special:

  • he would come back home all by himself, right into the flat, and come and say hello
  • he trained the whole building to let him in and out
  • he would patiently let me give him his meds or put his collar on before going out
  • everybody who met him liked him and saw he was not an ordinary cat

Here we are, now. The cat-companion. This is what the emptiness of his absence is made of.

  • he slept with me every night
  • he would follow me discreetly from room to room
  • he’d sit on the table while I ate
  • he’d wake me in the morning to go out with just one meow
  • he would come and lie down where I patted my hand
  • he would come and cuddle when I watched TV or worked at home

Taking some rest

Trying to rise above the mundane details of daily cohabitation (even if they’re important), here are some of the deeper roles Bagha played for me:

  • he would be waiting for me, always happy to see me
  • he kept me company every day
  • he helped me connect to people in my building and neighbourhood
  • he connected me to India and Aleika
  • he was a constant through all the changes my life went through these last ten years

Of these, I guess the fact he kept me company and was happy to see me are more pet-generic than Bagha-specific.

But the role he played in helping me find my place in my neighbourhood, the connexion to India and Aleika, and the ten years of my life that he saw me through — those are things that are uniquely linked to Bagha. No other cat will ever be able to give me that again. He was a living, breathing, purring witness to these things, no lost forever. I carry those years and that part of my life completely alone, now.

Along the same lines, here are two more things I’d like to add:

  • he made eclau a special coworking space
  • he brought me closer to some of my friends who lived in my flat to take care of him when I was away

Eclau will have other cats, and be a “special” coworking space in that respect in the future. Salem, my upstairs neighbour’s cat, has already taken quarters on the couch, and will probably soon have his own page on the eclau website. Some time next year, I’ll be ready to have cats again, and they’ll come to eclau too. It will always be a kitty-friendly coworking space — but Bagha was the first, and his constant presence in the office was soothing for those who worked there.

The fact that quite a few of my friends cat-sat at some point or another when I was travelling over the last ten years made him a connexion between me and them — connexion which is now gone, like some of those friendships. His absence makes their pastness a little more present.

On a more emotional level:

  • I loved him and cared for him
  • I gladly gave up some of my freedom because I loved him
  • I accepted some risks (like losing him to a car accident) because it gave him a better life

These are things I learned for life because he was my pet, and will treasure for ever. His legacy in me. Traces of his life that his death cannot erase, and which — I believe — make me a better person.

I believe there is no meaning in the world other than the meaning we put in it, consciously or not. Beyond the meaninglessness of life and death, we choose to make sense of our lives so that we can keep on growing.

Maybe Bagha’s biggest gift to me, beyond the ten years of precious companionship he gave me, is in his death. I got to say good-bye. Not at the moment of my choosing, of course — death rarely gives us that — but did get to say good-bye properly. I am saying good-bye.

So here’s the meaning I choose and which makes perfect sense for my life, almost as if it were provided by some intention bigger than and beyond me:

Bagha let me love him for a long time and with all my heart, so that I could learn to love and grieve properly.

Amongst all this, I wonder, what is just the pain of finding myself “alone”, or catless? What does it mean to me to have a cat? I’ve tried to break it down into “plus side” and “minus side”, because part of the grieving process is also greeting the new good things in my life brought about by this loss (I have a blog post draft sitting in WordPress titled “The Bittersweet Freedom of Catlessness” — I will write it someday).

Having a cat means:

  • having company to sleep with me at night
  • having somebody to care for
  • having somebody waiting for me to come home
  • having somebody to communicate with and keep me company
  • having cuddles and affection handy when needed
  • having an attraction for visitors and a topic of conversation to make friends amongst cat-lovers

But it also means:

  • giving up some freedom (no unplanned trips)
  • expenses (food, vet, etc)
  • having to cat-proof the home
  • having to get up to let the cat out, or change the litter
  • worrying that it didn’t come home (or might not)
  • negotiations with neighbours/concierge if it causes any trouble

The pain of losing Bagha is still very present, nearly five months after his death. There is still a terrible pit of sadness in my heart, but it doesn’t overflow with tears anymore when I don’t want it to.

I sometimes try to imagine my future cats, who are maybe not even born yet — I fear that I will not love them as much as I loved Bagha, or that they will not be quite so extraordinary, and I know that I still need to spend some time walking down that road.

Bagha arbre 1

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Two Deaths [en]

[fr] Deux décès, l'un humain, l'autre félin, et mes réactions assez différentes aux deux.

Two heart attacks, even. The first is Bagha, you’ll have guessed. Jean-ChristopheThe second is Jean-Christophe, who was deputy head in the school I taught at and with whom I stayed in touch over the years: fellow blogger and lifter, I enjoyed our lunch-time conversations about social media, web technology, education and the various things of life. He was a really friendly, genuinely nice person. I didn’t know him very well, but we did hang out once in a while. He wrote a very nice piece about me for Ada Lovelace Day in 2009. He died almost exactly a month after Bagha.

I was very, very shocked by Jean-Christophe’s death — and remain shocked. You don’t expect young, healthy people around you to drop like a stone and die in the middle of a basketball match (he was 42, a regular player, didn’t smoke…). I was also shocked by Bagha’s death, but the grief was so great that I just couldn’t stop the tears for days on end, and it took over.

Two deaths, one human, one feline, one of a being who shared almost every single day of mine for 11 years, the other which I would see a handful of times every year. Two different reactions on my part. On a slightly “clinical” level, I’ve found it interesting to observe how I’ve been processing both these deaths. Beyond the obvious animal vs. human difference, I’ve realised that what really counts is the role they were playing in my life.

Jean-Christophe was a truly lovely person. His death pains me, and even though he was somebody I trusted (to the point of collapsing in his office during my first year of teaching when things were not going well at all) we weren’t close. He was somebody I knew and appreciated, a part of my network (our discussions revolved primarily around work and common interests, not each other’s lives). If I think of his family, my heart breaks for them, but I am not touched as if it were my family.

Not seeing Jean-Christophe is the normal state of my life, so beyond the shock of the announcement, I am not confronted much with his death. A couple of times I’ve thought “oh, I should ask Jean-Christophe if he knows somebody who…” and caught myself. Beyond the shock and discomfort of seeing the sudden death of somebody who is just a few years older than myself, and of knowing that a wonderful human being is no more, the impact of Jean-Christophe’s death on my life has been pretty minimal.

Maybe this minimal impact (compounded to the fact I was in India for the funeral so couldn’t attend and therefore share others’ grief) has allowed me to stay in some stage of denial — or maybe the fact he was a rather “weak tie” in my life simply makes the whole grieving process less painful and visible.

Eclau oct 2009 24Bagha, on the other hand, even though he was “just a cat”, was part of my everyday life for years and a primary emotional attachment. His loss is a huge disruption in my life, all the more because he was an elderly cat who had started to require care — some parts of my life were organized around him. Making sure somebody was there for him when I travelled, coming back home to give him his meds, being available to take him to the vet when things weren’t quite right.

Except when I was in India, I have not been able to “forget” his death much. The flat is lonely without a feline presence. Another cat naps on the couch at eclau (I’m happy about that, though). I’m still surprised that I can stay out when I hadn’t planned to. I can leave stuff lying around in the flat (even food) and nothing happens to them. Open cupboard doors are not important anymore. I’m not woken up at 6am by somebody furry who wants to be let out.

When somebody asks a group of people “who has a cat?” I have to keep my hand down now. I don’t have a cat anymore. I’m not a cat-owner. I’ve had a cat since I was nine, even though my first cat, Flam, lived at my parents’ for three years when I moved out, and I was briefly catless between her death and the moment Bagha officially became “my” cat. But being a cat lover and owner has always been a big part of my identity, which I feel I have now lost (risky parallel: does it feel like that to long-time smokers who give up the cancer-stick?). Of course, I will have cats again (after India early 2012 is the current plan), but right now, I’m part of these petless people.

Almost everything in my life reminds of his death. I still have a photo of him as background image for my iPhone, because I’m not sure when the right moment to change it would be, and what to replace it with. Though I’m slowly rebuilding a layer of habits and memories of my new life without him, I feel his loss almost every day — some days worse than others.

This makes me realize that in a way, it is less the intrinsec value of the being who died (who would dare put a cat’s life before that of a human being?) than the role played in one’s life and one’s emotional attachment that determines the amount of grief. Sounds obvious, uh, nothing new under the sun here. But it has another taste when you’ve reached the conclusion all over again by yourself.

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Of Grief and Travel [en]

[fr] Retour d'Inde, et je pleure mon chat comme il y a un mois, après une sorte d'interruption où le deuil a gentiment glisser sous le tapis. M'habituer à son absence alors que je suis ailleurs, dans un contexte complètement étranger, c'est une chose. A la maison, cela va prendre nettement plus de temps.

As all of you must know by now, my cat Bagha died just ten days before I was due to leave on a month-long trip to India, my first “real” (understand: three weeks or more) holiday in many years. It’s been a horrible, horrible loss for me — and if at this stage you’re thinking “just a cat”, switch to “11 years of life together”. I cried every day until I left, and was still very upset when I arrived in India.

Ready to Pounce

At some point, in India, I stopped crying. Different context, people around, not much privacy, but mainly, I think, lots of exciting Indian life and people to keep me busy. Over a month, I had plenty of time to settle down in my holiday-life over there — and holiday-life and travel clearly never involved having Bagha around.

When Bagha was alive, I would miss him when I was travelling. The first days would be the worst, and then I would get used to it and stop thinking about it. After a few weeks, though, I’d be really looking forward to seeing him again. It was part of what would draw me back home.

So, maybe I was just following my normal travel-pattern here too.

Coming back has been really hard. In all honesty, it feels pretty much like I’m back to where I left off before my travels. A few things have changed, though — the work of time: I’m not in shock anymore (I’ll talk about shock in a later post about another recent death), and I don’t really expect to see Bagha sleeping on the couch or on the bed when I enter a room. I still have “where’s the cat?” or “I need to get the cat” moments, though. Many times a day. and I’m going through a lot of tissues again.

I don’t know if this “break in grief” was a good thing — not that I regret going to India at all, and I immensely enjoyed my time there — but I remember wishing I had “more time” before leaving while I was preparing my bags and departure.

Bangalore 142 Fancy Buildings.jpgWhat this trip has shown me, though, is that life goes on. Or at least, that I can rebuild a life for myself. This is very similar to what my year in India showed me: that I could start from scratch somewhere and find friends, have a life, be happy enough. (I write happy enough because generally, that’s how I am — “happy” on its own has not often been a general state in my life, though it’s a regular short-term feeling.)

But life elsewhere without my cat and life at home without my cat are not the same thing.

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Bye-Bye Bagha (1996-2010) [en]

My beloved Bagha died last night of a heart attack.

Bagha @eclau 3

As all of you who know me can imagine, I’m devastated. Bagha has been my constant companion through the last 11 years — at home and at work, from India to Switzerland, and the cuddly purrball of my often lonely nights.

Bagha was an extraordinary cat with a lot of character and a quite incredible early life story. By some weird twist of fate, in less than two weeks I’m heading back to the precise place in India it all started a little over 14 years ago. My plan is to take Bagha’s ashes with me.

I knew I’d have to write this post one day, but I really thought I’d have more time to prepare for it. Bagha was FIV+ and had a heart condition, and he’d been showing clear signs of ageing and slowing down these last two or three years. But I thought he would continue slowing down, or develop complications due to his FIV status. I didn’t imagine it would be this brutal.

His last day was very normal: out for a stroll, back in for some food, a cuddle, and the beginning of his long day-time naps. He spent the afternoon on the bed while my friends and I baked Christmas cakes, coming over to help us clean egg-yolk mess from the floor (a rare treat for him).

We heard him crying out early evening and found him trying to hide under the bed, in pretty poor shape. Though we rushed him to the emergency vet, his heart was too damaged, his body temperature was dropping, and there was nothing to do but let him go.

Facing life without Bagha is a bit scary. I sometimes said we were like an old couple. We knew each other well, had our habits, and our lives integrated pretty seamlessly. I moved into this flat with him 10 years ago. He’s been the resident cat at eclau for the past two years.

I wonder how much time it will take for me to stop expecting him to show up or be in the garden when I come home. How long I’ll wake up in the morning surprised that he isn’t on the bed, or hasn’t woken me up to be let out.

I miss him terribly.

A lot of people knew Bagha. He was already famous in IUCAA (Pune) when we were living there. He quickly made a name for himself in his new Swiss neighbourhood. He’s had a good handfull of catsitters during the last 10 years, who came to live in my flat and care for him while I was travelling. He has fans online and offline, not least through eclau.

I can’t face telling everybody who knew him personally right now, so forgive me if you learned this sad news through this blog post.

Bagha was a great pet, and I know I treated him well, and he had a great life. There are worse ways to go, too. I’m thankful he was a part of my life for as long as it lasted. And I think that everybody who crossed paths with him, for a few minutes or much longer, was lucky for it.

Bye-Bye Bagha. You were loved. You’ll be missed.

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The Neighbour's Cat Won [en]

[fr] Morsure de chat. Pas mon chat: chat du voisin que j'ai acculé (chez moi, pour le leur ramener) même après qu'il m'ait prévenu à grands coups de griffe qu'il était trop paniqué pour venir tranquillement. Moralité: les chats ont de longues dents pointues et ne se les lavent pas.

**Thanks to everybody for their sympathy and wishes of speedy recovery!**

The Neighbour's Cat Won

Not much typing. Cat bite. Details later. Nice cat. Not Bagha. Silly Steph.

Some details.

Friday Update:

Cat Bite Update

Infected. Another appointment tonight. I hope they don’t leave me in this huge splint too long. Can’t do anything!

**Friday night update:**

It Just Gets Better...

Left arm: infected cat bite. They have long sharp canines and don’t like being cornered in a strange place by a strange person. Splint that forbids any use of my hand — will stick around for at least another 2-3 days.

Right arm: catheter. I had 3 doses of antibiotic through IV over the last 24 hours, and am headed for at least that many over the week-end. There are only so many veins in the arm you can stick needles in.

Now, we hope the long canine didn’t go deep enough to infect the bone — or I’m looking at 4-6 weeks of treatment.

Fingers crossed, everybody, please.

**Video Update:** the story and more details.

How it happened:

The consequences:

**Sunday morning update: I can haz fingers!**

I Can Haz Fingerz!

Still got the catheter, though it hurts less now the tap is on the outside of my forearm.

Great improvement: fingers on my left hand! I can type somewhat! Things are taking a good turn. Thumb joint still very painful, so I’m a little worried it could be inflamed/infected — but gosh, does it feel good to have part of my hand back.

**Sunday evening news: good!**

**Monday update: shower!**

From now onwards, things are on the right track. I can remove my splint if I like, infection seems gone, but it’s still inflamed. So, I can type and do most of what one expects to do with two hands, just a bit slower and more painfully.

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Chat perdu? Pas si sûr… [en]

[fr] Poor little lost cat? Not necessarily. Cats can travel upto 2-3km to hunt, and way more for a tom running after females. This cat, who wouldn't quit following me around, is probably just on a (very) long walk, and runs the risk of being kept away from his home if made too comfortable.

A call to the local shelter gave me this information (about three people were ready to adopt him on the spot, so something needed to be done):

  • ignore him completely (no food, no water, no attention) so that he doesn't get comfy and heads back home because he's thirsty, hungry, or wants a cuddle
  • if he's still there after a few days, put notices up in the neighbourhood
  • if he's still there after a week or so, get the shelter to come and pick him up

The bottom line is that cats don't "get lost". They'll go back home, unless they're given a good reason (food, shelter, friendly humans) not to.

Chat perdu? Pas si sûr... (Vallombreuse, Prilly/Lausanne) 7

Me promenant à la Vallombreuse (près de la frontière entre les communes de Lausanne et Prilly), j’entends [un chat]( qui miaule devant le numéro 77. Je regarde, il ressemble à Bagha, il veut sûrement rentrer.

A mon arrivée, il court vers moi comme un petit chien. Trois caresses, un câlin, je lui ouvre la porte mais cela ne l’intéresse pas. Je lui souhaite une bonne journée et m’en vais, mais je viens visiblement d’être "adoptée" et il me suit partout.

Que faire? J’essaie de le semer, sans succès. Après enquête dans le voisinage, il s’avère que ce chat était là la nuit d’avant et que quelqu’un l’a nourri. Pas étonnant qu’il traîne encore dans le coin! C’est un joli jeune mâle très (trop?) affectueux, pas castré.

Coup de fil à la SPA pour demander quoi faire (on soupçonne qu’il est perdu, et devant la mobilisation générale de l’immeuble pour l’adopter…). Conseils avisés du monsieur de la SPA:

– il est sans doute en vadrouille plutôt que perdu — un chat ne se "perd" pas, mais fait facilement 2-3km pour chasser, voire plus si c’est un mâle qui court après des femelles (le chat en question est un jeune mâle pas castré, et — coïncidence — la dame qui l’avait nourri la veille a une femelle non stérilisée dans son appart du rez…)
– ne pas le nourrir, ni lui donner à boire, ni d’attention; en bref, l’ignorer — le but est de ne pas rendre l’endroit "sympathique" pour qu’il retourne chez lui; en lui fournissant un semblant de foyer, même sous forme d’un peu de nourriture et de câlins, il risque de s’attacher et de ne plus rentrer chez lui
– s’il est encore là dans quelques jours, mettre des affiches dans le quartier; au bout d’une semaine environ, appeler la SPA pour qu’ils viennent le chercher…

Certains chats sont plus affectueux que d’autres, s’attachent plus vite que d’autres. Celui-ci… c’est un rapide (il n’a pas fallu grand-chose pour qu’il me suive à travers le quartier).

Sur internet, il y a bien le site [](, mais mis à part une [gestion catastrophique des langues]( “C’est un peu mon rayon…”) le site semble vraiment peu pratique. Difficile de faire des recherches fine, présentation des informations trop synthétique (une page listant les détails de toutes les fiches résultant d’une requête, ce serait pas du luxe), confusion entre animaux perdus et animaux trouvés… Bref, pas terrible.

Dans le Canton de Vaud, les animaux perdus/trouvés sont à annoncer au [registre des animaux trouvés (SVPA, Refuge Sainte-Catherine]( Un animal perdu peut être annoncé sans frais au 021/784 8000; pour un animal trouvé, il faut remplir le formulaire d’annonce se trouvant [sur le site](

Chat perdu, donc? [Pas si sûr.](

Chat perdu? Pas si sûr... (Vallombreuse, Prilly/Lausanne) 2

Surtout, surtout — si vous avez un chat, [faites-le munir d’une puce électronique]( afin qu’il puisse être identifié.

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Kitty Pic Caption Contest [en]

[fr] Photos de chats cherchent légendes.

It’s no secret for anybody that I have a thing for cats, and from what one can see on the internet, I’m not alone. [Twitter loves cats](, for example. My friend Sarah and I nearly laughed till we cried looking through [The Cat Page]( last night. Oh, and don’t forget [Dunecat](, [Pursecat]( or [Bedcat](

Anyway, I took a couple of pictures of Bagha yesterday which clearly deserve captions.



Inspired? Post your captions in the comments, and let’s have a laugh.

PS: a couple of [these]( (like the [DVD one]( probably deserve captions too… take your pick!

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Travel Adrenalin Rush [en]

[fr] Projets de voyage: 28 mai - 5 juin, Copenhague pour la conférence reboot. Puis un ou deux mois à San Francisco (encore à déterminer) dès le 18 juin. Décision pas facile, parce que je dois me décider vite (sinon je perds l'option) et que ce sont des billets non remboursables et non modifiables.

On the way back home from judo by this bright sunny springy afternoon, I decided it was high time to hop in at the travel agent’s my brother had recommended and give a little bit of substance to my travel intentions.

Well, oh my! I wasn’t quite expecting as much substance. I’ve got a pre-reservation for [San Francisco]( (June 18th to August 19th — two months!) and one for Copenhagen (May 28th to June 5th), for [reboot]( (is reboot happening this year?) Both are quite cheap, but the downside is that I have to give confirmation very soon (3 days for SF, one for Copenhagen) and that there is no flexibility in the dates (I can’t decide to fly back a few days later), and if I cancel I still have to pay the full price of the ticket.

I’m thinking now that maybe two months in San Francisco is a bit of a plunge. There are two issues:

– money (most of my paid work is done face-to-face — speaking engagements, consulting, training — so I can’t really “do stuff through the internet” for my clients here while I’m away)
– the cat (he’s 10 now, I’m very attached to him, and a bit torn between leaving him here and being afraid something will happen to him when I’m gone — I have a good cat-sitter *and* a good cattery, so there are options open, or taking him with me and having him not be able to go outside in SF, depending on where I’m staying)

So, maybe one month would be more reasonable. Specially as I’ve been told summer could be quite cold (50F=10C?! can anybody confirm that?) in the city, whereas it’s beautiful in Lausanne during July and August. And maybe come back in autumn? Heck. I need to go to Montreal and India too.

Now, just in case I *do* decide to come over to SF for a month, starting June 18th… Are there any events taking place mid-July that I should know of? As I said, once I fix the return date, it’s set in stone — and I would hate to be biting my fingers off because I’m leaving *just that one day early* and I could have known…

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Cours de psychologie féline — euh, humaine [fr]

[en] Most efficient way for dealing with humans who complain that your cat is excerting revenge on them by peeing on doors: don't try to explain that cats don't have human feelings or attitudes. Instead, tell your cat sternly off in presence of the complaining person (just talk normally but firmly, of course, no being nasty), and say something like "Now, Puss, have you heard that? You can't go on peeing on doors like that. I want you to behave, understood?" And tell the person that you're going to have a serious discussion with the guilty feline about the situation.

Un truc infaillible pour régler le sort des personnes bien intentionnées qui se plaignent de problèmes avec votre chat en l’anthropomorphisant à outrance (concierge, voisine du dessus, etc.) Exemple: votre chat se venge des gens qu’il n’aime pas en allant marquer sur les portes des appartements quand il les voit. Tenter d’expliquer que ce genre de comportement ne correspond pas à la psychologie féline se solde en général par un échec cuisant et du temps perdu (conversation tournant désespérément en rond).


Ramasser le chat, qui durant la conversation est venu voir de quoi il s’agissait. Regarder ensuite sévèrement le coupable qui ronronne dans vos bras et lui dire: “Bon, Bagha, tu entends ce qu’elle dit, hein? Ça ne va pas du tout. Faut vraiment que tu apprennes à te comporter correctement, c’est compris? A partir de maintenant, plus de marquage sur les portes que la concierge vient de nettoyer, d’accord? Sinon, je vais me fâcher!”

Et préciser à la personne qui se plaint que vous allez avoir une discussion sérieuse avec votre chat et que vous comptez bien lui faire entendre raison.

A problèmes humains, solutions humaines.

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