Excerpts from Article by: Maria Ossowski, Cultural Correspondent @ RBB Rundfunk Berlin, Brandenburg
It is by far the most popular pet: a good 15 million house cats live in Germany, and 170,000 are said to live in Berlin alone. Cat lover Maria Ossowski with a tribute to their fur personalities.
My first cat half a century after a cat-loving Grunewald childhood in a cat-crazy Berlin family was named like her fur color: Bernsteinchen. She came from Rheinsberg in Brandenburg, the place for lovers, and if she had been a tomcat, I would have named her Tucholsky. The Berlin writer and cat nut even wrote a letter to his cat Mingo during a stay in Paris in 1927: “A greeting to you, Mingo, to you and to everything that is beautiful and enigmatic, superfluous and curved, unfathomable and lonely and eternally separated from us. So to the cats, the fire, the water and the women. With a hearty pat on the fur, your Peter Panter.”
Magical creatures into whose fur I sink my hands
170,000 cats are said to live in the capital. In my childhood, most of them roamed through gardens, small parks, even through the last ruins. Today we know that free-roaming cats only live five years on average. Bernsteinchen, this elegant, tender Rheinsberg magic creature, into whose fur I could sink my hands and thus forget everything wrong, made us happy for twelve years.
Learning to live with cat goodbyes is almost impossible. After an appropriate period of mourning, a Greek emergency fur moved in with us, a skinny street cat with the best manners and black-blue eyes. We named her after another musical pillar saint: Maria Callas.
Callas from Athens is by no means replacing our Rheinsberger. She complements the Charlottenburg cat happiness, occupies beds and balcony furniture and is otherwise a thoroughly discreet representative of her kind, and also unusually quiet.
Otherwise round and healthy, Callas lacks meow. She has no voice. Which fits, because cats rule quietly.
Amber pressed the button on the CD player for hours
“Humanity can be roughly divided into two groups: those who love cats and those who are disadvantaged by life” postulated the great humanist Francesco Petrarca as early as the 14th century. I belong to the first group and had spent my erratic life as a reporter far too long without these meaningful furry personalities.
So Bernsteinchen and her litter sister Springsteinchen moved from Rheinsberg to my apartment in Charlottenburg. There, not surprisingly for a cultural journalist, they developed into music experts. Amber pressed the button on the CD player for hours to see the bracket slide out and chase and fight it for lack of mice.
Both, like their roommate, loved Mozart in the interpretation of the equally cat-loving pianist Clara Haskil. In the case of Richard Wagner, however, who adored dogs, both fled to the attic with their tails puffed out.