Monday, March 24, 2014

Complete hospitality services of the Casolare include Pepe, our own cat

Friday, March 21
I have written before about how nice our apartment is here at the Casolare dei Fiore. The price is reasonable, and the rooms are modern, clean and warm. The proprietors are congenial and helpful. But there is one service I have neglected to mention, that of our cat, Pepe, who provides all the hospitality that cats are famous for—meowing, purring, rubbing against legs, cuddling, asking for food.

Lucy and a purring Pepe.
She is a semi-wild kitty, but she adopted us when we first came four years ago, and the moment we return each year, it is like we have never been away. She hangs around outside our door and jumps up to say hello when we go outside. If we stop to pet her, she purrs like a little engine. She has lots of other cat friends who sometimes hang around outside the Casolare, but they are all too wild to let us come near, while she moves easily between human society and that of feral cats.

The first year we didn’t feed her, reasoning that all the wild cats around had survived many years without us, but two years ago we started giving her a little cat food morning and evening to supplement her diet of whatever it is feral cats eat. I should also mention that I have seen the people from the Casolare providing free banquets for the local cats using the leftovers from the paid human banquets they periodically host, but that happens infrequently.

We occasionally invite Pepe inside, but we don’t let her stay long. She is not always the cleanest and best smelling cat, being half wild, and then there is the unknown issue of fleas. We have not contracted any from her, but it’s hard to believe that a cat who lives outside in the company of other wild cats could be free of fleas, and we don’t care to test this theory.

Pepe is a smallish kitty, and because of that we initially thought she was young, but she has not grown any bigger in four years. Gilda from the Casolare recently gave us the surprising news that Pepe is about 15 years old. Pepe means pepper in Italian, and it is the name she was given by the family at the Casolare long before we started coming here. Likely it is because of her grayish coloring.

It is nice to know that if we take an overnight trip, we don’t have to find someone to take care of our cat, because she is accustomed to taking care of herself. But it is also nice to be welcomed home each time we return, even after we have been gone for nine months.


Comments welcome.