Colette was a French author whose descriptions of life during La Belle Epoch in Paris, and of the countryside she loved brings this period vividly to the imagination, much as Samuel Pepys diary does, in a very different way, of 17th century England.
Colette loved animals, and had a special relationship with cats. Her short story “La Chatte” is poignant and evocative. It tells of the relationship of a young man and his cat. His fiancee and the cat vie for his attention like two 18th century duellers, each female willing to risk all in order to obtain the undivided devotion of the object of their desire.
On visiting New York, Colette met a cat in the street. They held an in-depth conversation, after which Colette announced with delight “At last, someone who speaks French!”
Here are a few of her cat quotes:
Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.
There are no ordinary cats.
Time spent with a cat is never wasted.
My cat does not talk as respectfully to me as I do to her.
I am indebted to the cat for a particular kind of honourable deceit: for a greater control over myself; for a characteristic aversion to brutal sounds, and for the need to keep silent for long periods of time.
Animal trust – undeserved faith; when at last will you turn away from us? Shall we never tire of deceiving, betraying, tormenting animals before they cease to trust us?