Paris Tales: Swinging with the Kitties in the City

In celebration of the upcoming international Pet Travel Safety Day, let’s spend it with a few of my own favorite felines in the Paris, Abbesses (Photo by Theadora Brack)

In celebration of the upcoming international Pet Travel Safety Day, let’s spend it with a few of my own favorite felines in the Paris, Abbesses (Photo by Theadora Brack)

By Theadora Brack

Flying sky high on a lark, I knock. Grab a perch because I’ve got a feathered tale to tell. A great ball of yarn to re-wind, so to squeak. Ever since watching Walt Disney’s “The Aristocats” movie on the family television set at the age of nine, I’ve been obsessed with France and les chats domestiques. There. I have said it.

Ever since watching Walt Disney’s “The Aristocats” movie, I’ve been obsessed with France and les chats domestiques (Image: Moviestillsdb.com)

Ever since watching Walt Disney’s “The Aristocats” movie, I’ve been obsessed with France and les chats domestiques (Image: Moviestillsdb.com)

Set in Paris

A story I tell often, frankly. That cartoon flick was a game changer. Not only did it leave me yearning to be the rhinestone-laden Parisian glamour puss (a.k.a., “Duchess”), but I also fancied running away with her swashbuckling, orange tabby beau, the flamboyant prince of the boulevard, “Abraham de Lacey Giuseppe Casey Thomas O’Malley—O’Malley, the alley cat.”

Oh, c’est très jolie, monsieur Thomas,” I’d murmur again and again at my own reflection in the mirror, channeling my inner-Duchess.

She's a bird watcher: Le Fabuleux Destin de “Kitty” (Photo by Theadora Brack)

She’s a bird watcher: Le Fabuleux Destin de “Kitty” (Photo by Theadora Brack)

And now, I see cats

I see cats in Paris. All the time. Where? Where? They’re everywhere. Heck, once during a winter tempest, I rescued a teeny, tiny tortoiseshell cat found trembling on the wet cobblestones outside the Grand Hotel de Clermont, just a fur ball’s throw from where Édith Piaf made one of her legendary busking debuts in Pigalle. She’s still with me now, in fact.

Anaïs Nin once wrote, “What I cannot love, I overlook,” but I’d push it a little further and say that what I do love, I can’t help but notice. Getting reflective, “Bonjour, dame de chat,” is what I now say to my handheld mirror. With a decade-old Kitty still on my lap, and still purring in French, of course.

Market Mouser finding her center in the center of the red pepper bin (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Market Mouser finding her center in the center of the red pepper bin (Photo by Theadora Brack)

All alone in the moonlight

So in celebration of the upcoming international Pet Travel Safety Day on the 2nd of January 2020, let’s spend it with a few of my own favorite felines in the city. Gifting all with grab-the-phone moments as they work their magic on our hearts, mine eye has seen their glory. When out pounding the pavement, strutting the streets, or slinking down the alleyways, keep your own eyes wide open for cat sightings. After all, cats are practically a part of the landscape in Paris.

As poet Jean Cocteau once wrote, “I love cats because I enjoy my City, and little by little, they become its visible soul.”

Star Struck: Lana the Grumpy Cat on her first stroll through Parc des Buttes-Chaumont (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Star Struck: Lana the Grumpy Cat on her first stroll through Parc des Buttes-Chaumont (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Looking for more cat inspiration?

Well then, treat yourself to a visit with Lana the Grumpy Cat. Based in Paris, the glamour puss was recently given a starring role in a Roger Vivier commercial, shot by Anthony Seklaoui. Dripping in shiny new confections by Gherardo Felloni, our purring pal held her own next to model Sophia Hadjipanteli, not only effortlessly hitting her marks, but also stealing the scene. I’m not at all surprised.

How did Lana prepare for the coveted role?

“Oh, it’s a natural thing for me, no need for preparation!” Lana recently shared with me.

I completely concur, and with a contented purr.

Living her best life: Based in Paris, glamour puss Lana was recently given a starring role in a Roger Vivier commercial (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Living her best life: Based in Paris, glamour puss Lana was recently given a starring role in a Roger Vivier commercial (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Want to be Fan or Stan of Lana?

Follow Lana’s adventures: @grumpy.lana. Now, if you’re sharing your photographs on Instagram, please leave a link below. Always keeping my peepers peeled for gorgeous inspiration, I’d love to visit.

Here’s where to find more of my Paris pics: @theadorabrack

Happy Holidays! And Happy Tails to you! 

No big surprise: My childhood bedroom was plastered with Théophile Steinlen posters, Lait Pur de la Vingeanne Stérilisé 1894, Souvenir Shop, Montmartre (Photo by Theadora Brack)

No big surprise: My childhood bedroom was plastered with Théophile Steinlen posters, Lait Pur de la Vingeanne Stérilisé 1894, Souvenir Shop, Montmartre (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Whenever I need to briefly escape the hassles of the world, I seek out the gentle caretakers of the Cimetière de Montmartre, les chats (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Whenever I need to briefly escape the hassles of the world, I seek out the gentle caretakers of the Cimetière de Montmartre, les chats (Photo by Theadora Brack)

The sleek poise and expressive eye contact of the cemetery’s clowder never, ever fails to raise my spirits or touch my heart, Cimetière de Montmartre (Photo by Theadora Brack)

The sleek poise and expressive eye contact of the cemetery’s clowder never, ever fails to raise my spirits or touch my heart, Cimetière de Montmartre (Photo by Theadora Brack)

There is something hopeful about seeing their contagious contentedness in this place of death that makes them all the more glorious to watch, Cimetière de Montmartre (Photo by Theadora Brack)

There is something hopeful about seeing their contagious contentedness in this place of death that makes them all the more glorious to watch, Cimetière de Montmartre (Photo by Theadora Brack)

#TBT (Throwback Tabby): Recognize the kitten? Here’s a shot of the same cat above in 2017. Yes, she’s always up for some Fancy Feast, Cimetière de Montmartre (Photo by Theadora Brack)

#TBT (Throwback Tabby): Recognize the kitten? Here’s a shot of the same cat above in 2017. Yes, she’s always up for some Fancy Feast, Cimetière de Montmartre (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Hear me soar: Levitating cat by Henry Blache, @saxartwork, Abbesses (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Hear me soar: Levitating cat by Henry Blache, @saxartwork, Abbesses (Photo by Theadora Brack)

What’s new pussycat? Favorite greeter at the Cimetière de Montmartre (Photo by Theadora Brack)

What’s new pussycat? Favorite greeter at the Cimetière de Montmartre (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Like a ray of sun: I can see your halo kitty, Cimetière de Montmartre (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Like a ray of sun: I can see your halo kitty, Cimetière de Montmartre (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Jane Goodall may have her chimpanzees, but I’ve got my cats at the Cimetière de Montmartre (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Jane Goodall may have her chimpanzees, but I’ve got my cats at the Cimetière de Montmartre (Photo by Theadora Brack)

La Tournée du Chat Noir by Théophile Steinlen, 1896, Souvenir Shop, Montmartre-Abbesses (Photo by Theadora Brack)

La Tournée du Chat Noir by Théophile Steinlen, 1896, Souvenir Shop, Montmartre-Abbesses (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Did you know that Steinlen rescued and adopted many feline muses from the Montmartre cemeteries? (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Did you know that Steinlen rescued and adopted many feline muses from the Montmartre cemeteries? (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Steinlen’s Chat Noir and the cats of Paris still inspire art, Street art by Liselee, @liselee_art, Abbesses (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Steinlen’s Chat Noir and the cats of Paris still inspire art, Street art by Liselee, @liselee_art, Abbesses (Photo by Theadora Brack)

What I do love, I can’t help but notice: The autumn leaves of red and gold—and cats, of course, Cimetière de Montmartre (Photo by Theadora Brack)

What I do love, I can’t help but notice: The autumn leaves of red and gold—and cats, of course, Cimetière de Montmartre (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Ground Control to Major Kitty: Cat-Related Street Art is still having a moment in Paris, Space Tabby by @_kvich, Montmartre (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Ground Control to Major Kitty: Cat-Related Street Art is still having a moment in Paris, Space Tabby by @_kvich, Montmartre (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Writer and cat whisperer Théophile Gautier wrote: Who can believe that there is no soul behind those luminous eyes (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Writer and cat whisperer Théophile Gautier wrote: Who can believe that there is no soul behind those luminous eyes (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Dear @saxartwork, Thanks for the reminder to stretch and live in the moment, Chilled Cat by @saxartwork, Abbesses (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Dear @saxartwork, Thanks for the reminder to stretch and live in the moment, Chilled Cat by @saxartwork, Abbesses (Photo by Theadora Brack)

How much is that mouser in the purple window? (Photo by Theadora Brack)

How much is that mouser in the purple window? (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Happy Holidays! Happy Tales to You! (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Happy Holidays! And Happy Tails to You! (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Marie-Claire Magazine, 1937 (T. Brack's collection)

Marie-Claire Magazine, 1937 (T. Brack’s collection)

 

67 thoughts on “Paris Tales: Swinging with the Kitties in the City

  1. Theadora – what a fabulous post, probably my favourite of yours so far. And why not? Paris and cats are two of my favourite things! Your feline pics are wonderful. I am delighted to tell you that my six year old granddaughter Zadie’s favourite character of the moment is Cat Noir from the French cartoon series Miraculous, Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir (aka Miraculous, Les adventures de Ladybug et Chat Noir). Thank you for brightening up a very unsummery day herein Auckland, New Zealand. I have just read that there was a 319 mile long traffic Jam in Paris- so I guess we can’t complain and hopefully the sun will soon come out. Miss Zadiebug (as we coincidentally call her) is coming for a playdate soon so I must prepare! Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year and I look forward to following your blog and Insta in 2020.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah, thanks for your kind, kind words, Shelley. You made my day. My month of December!

      Miraculous, Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir! Interesting adventures. Fabulous costumes. How did I miss this? Thank you for the introduction to the cartoon. I love the Parisian backgrounds, too. AND the female empowerment message!

      Sharing the trailer:

      Happy Holidays!
      Theadora

      Like

    • Thank you, John. I’ve been photographing the cats of Paris for years, so it took days to figure out the sequence. But I enjoyed every moment. As Colette once wrote, “Time spent with a cat is never wasted.” Cats and dogs.

      Happy Holidays,
      Theadora

      Like

  2. A marvelous, adventurous tour of the most beautiful city and the most exquisite cats, each with their one personalities and opinions. Have you heard of Henri – I’m sure you have. I thought of him when I came on your photo of La Tournee du Chat Noir by Theophile Steinlen. (You have the best souvenir shops) https://youtu.be/Q34z5dCmC4M

    Liked by 1 person

    • I absolutely love the Henri clips. Created and shot by Will Braden, the existential mews-ings are terrific. Brilliant. From start to finish, I laugh and weep. Jean-Luc Godard would have approved, I do believe. Thanks for sharing! (I did some digging. Apparently, the black and white kitty was adopted from the Seattle Animal Shelter. He is a beauty!

      Here’s another favorite Henri clip:

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Paris Tales: Swinging with the Kitties in the City — Paris: People, Places and Bling | Rethinking Life

  4. I, too was obsessed with The Aristocats as a girl. And I stalked these Cimetière de Montmartre chats when I was in Paris last May. Loved this. Joyeux Noel!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The cats at the Montmartre cemetery are wonderful.

      Back during the 1970s, in an attempt to control the feline population here, the city banned local cat lovers from visiting with food. But after photographer Michel Cambazard witnessed one too many vicious cat chow shakedowns at the entrance gate, he created L’École du Chats.

      The organization not only feeds the cats, but also administers vaccines, identification tattoos, and arranges spay and neuter operations. They’ve also installed sturdy cat shelters.

      They’re my super heroes. The cats and caretakers!
      Theadora

      Like

  5. City Kitty … There is something magical about a kitty sleeping on a shelf in a bookstore … maybe looking up to see if you are looking in nature or spirituality … Love your photos, there is something so clearly defined in the feline form, like sacred Egyptian geometry !

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree with you. There is something magical about a napping kitty. By the way, writer Théophile Gautier is buried in the Montmartre Cemetery. Apparently, he was a cat lover. In fact, there’s sleeping cat sculpture on his gravesite.

      I’ve always enjoyed Gautier’s words from his 1869 Ménagerie Intime: “Winning the friendship of a cat is a difficult business. The cat is a philosophical creature . . . who does not scatter his affections about indiscriminately . . . He is quite ready to be your friend, should you prove worthy. ”

      So true!
      Theadora

      Like

  6. What an overdose of delight! Your Kitty is just lovely — we’re biased as we have a Bean, just the same 😀 Paris and cats? Who could ask for more. And to think that we didn’t know it was International Pet Travel Safely on 2 Jan! We’ll have to get involved with that. Lovely post, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I found your Facebook page. Do you have an Instagram account? Let me know. I’d love to follow your heroic rescues. Thanks for all you do.

      According to Carocat(Companion Animal Responsible Ownership), Colleen Paige’s Pet Travel Safety Day was created to “highlight the dangers of unsecured pets in vehicles and educate the public about how to make vehicle travel safer for people and the pets they love.”

      Such a great idea. Happy New Year!
      Theadora

      Like

  7. Love this post with all the kitties, Theodora. I wish you a wonderful 2020 and I appreciate your likes and comments on the blog. Thank you from Pittsburgh. Ruth

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh Joy. Oh Rapture. Cats wonderful cats. Paris cats. Purring their way through Paris. Prowling the streets. Perfectly perfect cats. Every single one. One lingers longingly over the fabulous felines of the City of Light. Dear Theadora, it warms ones heart and brings a smile to our world just to say the word – cats. Our precious cats, Sybil and Basil went to kitty heaven after 16 sweet years. Impossible to replace them. However, in the new year we will open our home and foster cats waiting adoption. Happy happy holidays with those you love, Virginia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about Sybil and Basil. What wonderful names. And I love your plan for the 2020. You are my hero. Will you be working with a local shelter?

      A few years ago, a friend built a Purr Generator.

      Here’s how Duncan described the machine: “The purr generator is a device which generates a signal at approximately 25 Hz. This coincides with the frequency of vibrations given off by a “happy cat” and has long been thought to be therapeutic.”

      It works!

      Link to the website: https://www.duncanlaurie.com/technology/purr-generator

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dearest Theadora, If one doesn’t have a furry cat child and “purr generator” would be just the ticket. It’s a happy sound. It calms the mind, brings joy to the heart, and of course lulls one to sleep. Nothing like cuddling up to your kitty to send you off to dream land. The SPCA is a local … a short drive away. They cover all vet bills, medication and food. We provide a loving home and either Lar or I will be at home to shower adoration and entertainment to our foster cat. All good wishes for a happy holiday and a bubbly New Year. Hugs Virginia

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I’m already looking forward to a kitty dispatch. So your local SPCA covers all vet bills, medication, and food? That’s amazing! I needed this positive news. Keep us in the kitten loop.

        Happy Bubbly, Bubbly New Year (with a great deal of purring, of course),
        Theadora

        Liked by 1 person

  9. What fun this post is, T! Our younger daughter rescued a cat from the streets of Philadelphia. Fetty is black with those fantastic yellow-green eyes and is a bit like a dog in that she loves to sit in laps. It’s been a blessing for both of them.

    I hope you’re having the most fantastic Christmas season and that your Christmas will be filled with joy and blessings.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great to hear from you, Janet! Fetty from the streets of Philadelphia! Rescue cats are the best. Yes, my bird-watcher is also a lap cat. Your daughter is lucky. Not all cats enjoy the lap snuggle.

      Happy Holidays! And as always, thanks for the daily inspiration!
      Theadora

      (Are you posting on Instagram?)

      Like

  10. As a cat lover, definitely a fun posts for me! We had 3, and the black ones reminded me of our Spencer. No more as we stopped due to my wife’s allergies. The pic of the cat in the produce bin made was my favorite! Cheers to your bird watcher. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Spencer. Another great cat name. Yes, I also love the market cat. For some reason, he’s completely smitten with the red pepper bin. I guess we’ve all got our favorite territories. The cats at the Montmartre cemetery tend to watch over the dancers in the 22nd division. The life-sized sculpture of Vaslav Nijinsky is a coveted perch.

      Speaking of favorite beats, do your beach walk shots on Instagram? If so, do let me know!
      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cheers again to your cat collection!

        Regarding the beach walks, no to Instagram or all other social medias. Strictly a WordPress exclusive. 😉

        In case you don’t know, I’ll be signing off sometime in the last half of January – possibly early February. It’s been a good 11 1/2 years, but it’s time to go. I will have a final retrospect series, and thoughts about beach walks will be included – actually, I think in the finale.

        Like

      • Short Version of long timeline. Idea first entered my mind last Jan/Feb. Stewed on it for months. Spring/early summer I first mentioned the possibility on the blog. Late Sept (while on vacation), I drafted my closing. It felt right. So, not a rash decision. 11 1/2 years enough. I will have about a 2 week closing as a sharing various thoughts and fun. Stay tuned.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Great kitty pics! I grew up with cats, so I’m definitely a cat person. Unfortunately, my cat Takeshi hasn’t adjusted well with moving from the UK to Canada, so he’s not very well at the moment 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Poor Takeshi. Sometimes it takes a while for kitties to adjust to a new place. They love routines. Sudden changes are not in their squeal house. Did you change foods?
      Additional treats often lift spirits. New cat bed, too. Keep us posted.

      Your recent shots of Canada are wonderful. I’ve been enjoying following your Instagram posts. Loved yesterday’s Squirrel portrait!

      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks. He’s a rescue cat, so has always been very anxious and skittish, and being transported on plane was obviously a very traumatic experience for him. We’re trying a lot of different stuff to help him settle in, including relaxing cat music! But he’s developed a nasty skin infection from over grooming, so now we have to shampoo and medicate him 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • For anxiety and over-grooming, my vet recommends Feliway Travel Calming Cat. Warm water neck rubs also work like a charm, says my rescue Kitty the cat.

        Relaxing cat music? What are you playing? I love this idea.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Our vet recommends the same, so we have a bunch of Feliway products.

        I bought an album called Music for Cats by David Teie. It’s essentially very chilled classical-style music mixed in with cat noises, such as purring. He supposedly developed it in collaboration with some animal scientists. But I also just play Takeshi some general classical music complimations. And obviously our upstairs neighbour is always playing piano concertos!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. What a lovely post, Theadora. You (and I) must have been a cat in a previous life… (Purrr)
    And I love the idea that you came to Paris because of “Les aristochats…” How sweet.
    Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année to you my dear.
    Brian

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année to you, Brian! Yes, I completely agree. We must have been cats in a previous life. It’s true. Heck, I might even watch the new Cats the musical . . . I’m currently on the fence . . .

      Thanks for your sweet words!
      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

  13. A purrfect post, Theodora! Paris seemed a perfect home for cats as they have so much class. I love it when I find a store with a cat in residence. And I would have guessed you for a cat lover. The photos were like cat portraits. I really like the Market Mouser and your rescue city. I watched the movie with my children. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jo Nell! Yes, quite a few shops and little boutique hotels in Paris have mascot kitties. I often see them in the doorways and windows, too. I tried to attach a shot of the André Gill Hotel mascot. For some reason, it misbehaved.

      Happy Holidays! Happy New Year!
      Theadora

      Like

    • Ah, Thank you, Alexander! I’m always on the hunt for the cats of Paris. It was great fun spotting Lana the Grumpy Cat in the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, rolling in the green, green grass.

      By the way, I loved your recent shots of the vitrines of Toronto’s Bloor Street. What a treat!

      Happy New Year,
      Theadora

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve been missing summer in Paris today and wrote a blog post about it, then saw this…you transported me instantly to the City of Lights! These cats all have class and sass and I can see virtual berets on them. Thank you for the postcard and the happy feelings you and the cats have give me this cloudy afternoon here in Southeast Texas.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. As an animal-lover, any pictures would satisfy me but yours are so evocative and creatively composed – they also make me nostalgic for Paris. Pet Travel Safety Day! What a wonderful thing!! I was not aware of it, but too painfully aware of how many animals are harmed or killed when being transported. This is so needed and I’m grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Delightful post, Theadora. The cats are beautiful, and great photo’s . I love that poster of the cats on the roof tops!
    Thank you for sharing. Take care ❤

    Like

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