Aby-a-Day – 7 Juli: My first visit to a cat cafe…in Paris! (Special Sunday(

As I mentioned yesterday, whilst we were in London, we took a daytrip last Tuesday to Paris.

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Our first stop was Le Café Des Chats, my first ever cat café!

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I know, I know…cat cafés are a thing…but this is the first one I’ve ever been to.

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They had laminated cards with photos and backstories of every cat. Those came in wicked handy.

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One cat, Simba, decided it was his job to manage the front desk.

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Simba was up there, managing, most of the time we were there.

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It was so adorable, how seriously he took his self-appointed job.

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Then there was Zan.

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Zan spent almost the entire time we were there (from the café’s opening at noon) up on his shelf on the wall.

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The café has an ingenious system of steps, bridges, and old furniture mounted to the wall to create a “cat superhighway” (™ Jackson Galaxy). Seems like it’s working.

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The resident cats clearly knew that they were in charge. The only rules were “don’t feed the cats” and “don’t wake a sleeping cat.”

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This is Salem, owning his chair.

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Here’s Alaska.

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According to his bio, he was born in the street to a neglected housecat. Not sure why he’s called Alaska…but it suits him.

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The table we sat at had books that patrons could read. This book, “Secrets of the Cat,” was one of them.

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It had a two-page spread dedicated to the “indefatigable players” – notably, the Abyssinian and the Singapura.

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Abys’ playfulness needs no explanation…

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…But the part about Singapuras is particularly adorable. It says, “The Singapura is an expert in clowneries.” Sounds about right.

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The café also has this brilliant poster featuring famous felines.

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And it really is complete. Look at #62: It’s Zunar J-9/5 aka Jake the Cat From Outer Space!

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Then there was this old print in the washroom. That “wild cat” looks a lot like an Aby, don’t you think?

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But the best part about the café was this lovely lady.

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Her name is Izmir.

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At first, she looks like a white longhair…but she isn’t. She’s a lilac Turkish Van; you can barely see it in photos, but her tail is lilac, not white. She also has one yellow eye and one blue one.

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Izmir was a very polite cat. She came up to me and sat on the table, waiting for permission before engaging.

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Then, a gentle headbutt.

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Then she decided to crawl onto my lap.

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She has the longest whiskers I have ever seen on a cat.

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She settled down and made herself comfortable. The leather couch was rather slidey, so I was half sitting, half lying on it when Izmir settled. It was a bit awkward.

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But how could I move? She was so comfy.

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And she was purring!

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She stayed on my lap, purring and kneading, for the longest time. I didn’t really get to interact with many of the other cats…but after almost a week of not having any kitties to cuddle, she really made my day.

Aby-a-Day – 6 July: Poetry in Paris (Special Saturday)

On one day of our trip to London, we took a daytrip to Paris on the Eurostar.

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We were only in Paris for nine hours. Not long; just enough time to see some sights, grab a bite (about which more later), and wander the streets looking for adventure. At one point, we came upon Shakespeare and Company, the famed English bookstore and sister store to San Francisco’s City Lights Bookstore (you can see a tribute to the SF store above the door). I used to walk down Jack Kerouac Alley, alongside City Lights, when I was living in SF and swing dancing almost every night. So seeing this bookstore kind of resonated with me.

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They have interesting snippets from news articles written on chalkboards on either side of the storefront. This was my favourite.

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But the best thing about the bookstore was this guy outside with his manual portable Remington typewriter. His name is Leo, and as you can see, he would write you a poem upon request. Leo only asked that you decide to pay what you think it’s worth only after you’ve read the poem. So I asked him to write a poem based on my tattoo of Gun-Hee and Logan. He was impressed with the concept, and only asked what the breeds of the cats were, and confirmed that the plants were maple leaves and pussywillows. Then he thought a moment and started typing.

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This is what he wrote:

singapore, abyssinia
maple leaf and pussy willow

meeeeeoooooow

stare into these eyes
deeper than the wisdom
collected through the course of
nine lives
wider than the stream of
time into which so much is
washed away

meeeeeeoooooow

we are they who traverse
the limits you imagine

we are they who were once
worshipped and are glorified
still, have you discovered
why, in the course
of your one
life?

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Leo signs the back of every poem he types.

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Of course I loved it, and I paid him 10€ for his work. I also explained the story behind the tattoo, how these two boys died ten years apart from the same awful disease. About a year or so ago, I found an awesome antique glass frame that I’ve been saving for the perfect thing to put into it. I think I finally found what the frame has been needing.