People laugh at me when they hear his name–who would name a kitten after an 18th century composer? But I must have done something right, because I have never had a cat, or a dog for that matter, who so faithfully and eagerly comes when called. Telemann, from the first couple of days, he had mastered that envy of all dog trainers: the perfect recall. All I have to say is \”Telemann, Telemann!\” and, out from under the bed or down from the top of the bookshelf, he waltzes into my presence, tail held high, its tip curved into a question mark, \”You wanted me?\”
He is the most dog-like cat I have ever had, learning not to jump into the litter box while I\’m cleaning it, and not to even think (please God!) of dipping his paw into the Japanese-style tub that is home to my two fan-tailed goldfish, But his most canine quality is his compulsion to be near me: in the sink (yes, in–he adores water) while I brush my teeth, on my lap as I try to type (why do you think it takes me so long to write a post?), on the bed when I take a nap.
If naps with Bisou were lovely, naps with Bisou and Telemann are divine. The minute they see me take the cozy gray comforter out of the closet they both jump on the bed. Bisou settles next to my left calf. Telemann, purring mightily, kneads the comforter for a bit, then licks my nose and subsides against my right ribs. One hand on Bisou\’s haunch and the other on the curve of Telemann\’s back, I fall asleep with the odd but restful feeling that I am a member of a weird interspecies litter.
But he is nevertheless a cat, a member of the tribe of tiger, and our cottage often becomes a miniature Serengeti, with Telemann as apex predator and Bisou as hapless wildebeest. He watches from under the bed skirts, then leaps out on top of her, flings his arms around her neck, and tries to deliver the killing bite. She shakes him off, then runs back to see if he will do it again, which he does.
They paw at each other, stand on their hind legs and wrestle, leapfrog over each other. But in the evenings, when Rachel Maddow alternately mocks and bemoans what is happening in the country, Bisou and Telemann sleep aligned like spoons on the sofa next to me, one of the wildebeest\’s legs draped casually over the former predator\’s neck.
On the days when CFS nails me to the bed, and the news–Las Vegas, Puerto Rico, and my country, Catalunya–sits like a stone on my chest, I give thanks for the two fur-bearing persons who, in exchange for room and board, are content to lie close to me in silence, and watch the afternoon light fade a little earlier each day.