What can I say.....we are cat people. Especially Johnny. Cats come to him like moths to a flame. I kid you not. I thought I was the "cat whisperer" until Mr. J came along. He is a total cat magnet. They always come right up, all rubby and what not. Makes me down right jealous, I must say. Perhaps he was a feline in a past life.
On the other hand, dogs tend to hate us. It's a mutual relationship.
Panicale has it's fair share of feral cats, like most towns we've visited here in Italy. The cats are part of the local scene. I love how there are plates of left over pasta for them tucked here and there. At the same time, I know that the locals are driven coo-coo by the constant spraying, weeing and pooing of these wild critters. They tend to be a bit out of control.
That being said.....
Let me introduce you to Mitchell, the shyest, and sweetest cat in Panicale.
Mitchell (pronounced "Meetchell) belongs to the darling mother of Linda, the owner of the local market in town. Our sweet apartment was right across the way from Singnora and Mitchell.
|From our stoop,|
Mitchell in her usual spot, checking out the 'hood.
We became very aware of Mitchell right away. We would hear her meowing in the early morning, right on cue, at 6:55. Next we would here Signora open her shutters to the day. 7:00 A.M. on the freaking dot. Like clockwork. We loved it.
We are early risers, so it was sweetness, experiencing this routine.
Mitchell was put in the cantina downstairs every night, and then she could come out in the morning. It seemed like a pretty good deal, all around.
For the first few weeks, we just got used to Mitchell's shy demeanor, and gave her space. We loved how she kept her eye on the neighborhood from her doorstep......She rarely strayed from this spot.
|Mitchell keeping an eye on things...such as they were....|
|Just making certain all is as it should be.|
|Mitchell, don't get too excited now.|
After several weeks, and a little treat of some pecorino cheese, we eventually broke through the steady stare of Mitchell.
I must say, it was monumental. Mitchell was a tough nut to crack. But we did it. We played it real cool....not too pushy..........
|Mitchell checking me out while I was puttering in my little stoop garden.|
She was a real piece of work, I gotta tell you.
|One shy kitty....|
|C'mon, Mitchell.....lighten up!|
Was it the flowers? Was it the constant wooing? The pecorino? Who can tell with cats...All I know is this:
One week she was hanging out in the doorway of her house, and then.... BAM. She's on our doorstep, all lovey-dovey, wanting nothing but love.... and scratching under her chin.
|What the? Mitchell!!! On our steps!!!|
|I still believe it was the un-resistable cat magnetism of|
Johnny Apodaca, Cat Man Do.
|Seriously, cats have no chance against the irresistible allure of Johnny Apodaca.|
(though it may just be the shoes.....)
The last couple of weeks we shared some very sweet moments with dear Mitchell...she would come running up to us as we came home, or when we first came outside in the morning. She knew there would be ample petting and loving going on...lots of extra rubs and such. She really got under our skin.
Thing is, her owner, Signora, wasn't able to bend down and give her all the touchy-feely stuff that we dolled out by the bucket full. Mitchell was just so happy to be rubbed and pet. I'm telling you, it breaks my heart to think about it. Such a sweet little ball of fluff.
Even though she stays in the same place, pretty much all day, we still had a sense of who she is.
Mitchell keeps an eye on things. She makes certain that everything is in it's place in those ten feet around her. She is serious about her job.
|Making sure all is well in her world.|
|I admire Mitchell's steadfast attitude towards life.|
Though I shed a few tears, really, I took a last shot of dear Mitchell on our last morning in Panicale.
I hope she is still keeping watch over her domain next year. I just know that one of my first stops out will be to check up on Mitchell. She was a real pal to us, though it took time to wear her down.
She was just waiting for someone like us to come along and share the love. She was only playing at being the tough girl.
|Oh, Mitchell...you had no idea who you were toying with.|
See you next Spring, little one!