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How to know if you’re suffering from phantom cat syndrome

I have a cat. His name is Sandokan. He’s a big, fat tabby that weighs in at around 8kg with a temper to match his size. Everyone’s scared of him, including me. Despite his unexpected swipes and frequent hand mauls, I really do love him. And miss him a lot… because, you see, he doesn’t live with me.

I got him in 2009 when he was just a tiny kitten with big ears, big eyes and a tiny belly and I was in the last phase of writing my thesis. For about six months we lived in bliss, him frequently launching his mini feline body across the room and skidding along the highlighted pages carefully arranged on my bed or desk; me, in turn, insisting on constant cuddles that would cramp his tiny style. We got on each other’s nerves, but always made up just in time for him to find a cozy spot on my head/face/neck to sleep while I lay in meditative shavasana so as not to disturb his delicate rest.

At the end of that year I got an amazing internship opportunity that would send me careering off across the country – from Cape Town to Joburg to Port Elizabeth, and back to Joburg and Cape Town again – for the whole of 2010. There was (and still is) nothing Sandokan hates more than a road trip, so it became obvious that our paths would have to split for those twelve months. I put him in foster care with my parents in Betty’s Bay, comforting myself with the knowledge that he had a huge backyard to play around in, fynbos to explore, field mice to pester and birds to dream of catching.

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Sandokan, the hipster

It’s official. My kittie. Is. A hipster.

I mean look at him. Wearing one of those hipster bandannas, camera tucked in tight by his side.

Sandokan, the hipster with a bandanna. Nadia Krige

Doing that longing, far-off gaze thing to absolute perfection.

Sandokan, the hipster. Nadia Krige

Posing in a well-lit window, showing off how unattainably relaxed and awesome his life is.

Sandokan, the hipster in a well lit window. Nadia Krige

Next thing I know, he will be drinking craft water with weirdo chicks.

Chicks.

Or popping his latest collars on a dedicated Tumblr.

Check out these pics of Sandokan in his rave phase.

 

Snaps: Sandokan

Sphinx

I can lick my elbow... you?

This sun... it's making me...

zzzz

I got to spend some time with my cat, Sandokan, over the weekend. He lives with my parents in Betty’s Bay, and has been living there since last year, because the academy (not the one they thank at the Oscars, just the good ol’ Media24 Journalism Academy) had me traversing the country. And, well, this cat is no fan of the gypsy life. Anyway, whenever I go home, I love bonding with him. It always takes a while, because he’s generally quite haughty, but he soon warms up and becomes a real sweetie!

Since my life has stabilised somewhat this year, I’ve been wanting to bring him to live with me in Cape Town, but my dad keeps convincing me that he is not a city cat, but rather a wild hunter of the coast. It’s kind of true, but I also think my dad just fears the empty nest.

However, the thought of him hating Mother City life and trying to run back to his lovely seaside home all along Kloof Street, Buitengracht, the N2 and Clarence Drive just gives me the hibee jebees! What to do?!

Kitty experts out there, some advice please?

This is him in a very lazy sunny Saturday afternoon mode.

P.S. Doesn’t he just have the cutest little vulnerable pink nose?!

My cat on his thinking post

He stares into the grass, pretending to look for prey.

My cat spends a lot of time sitting on a certain pole that forms part of the fence surrounding our backyard. When he knows we’re around he feels compelled to look as though he’s busy with something constructive – i.e. scanning the bushes and grasses below for a catch to lay at our feet.

But when he thinks we’re not watching, he relaxes. He lifts up his head and stares. He stares at the mountain. Sometimes at the sky. He stares and stares and stares. For hours on end… and I know why.

And he pretends to make a move

BECAUSE…

The naming of cats is a difficult matter
It isn’t just one of your holiday games
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you a cat must have three different names

First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey
All of them sensible, everyday names

There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames
Such as Plato, Admetas, Electra, Demeter
But all of them sensible everyday names

But I tell you a cat needs a name that’s particular
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?

Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo or Coricopat
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum
Names that never belong to more than one cat

But above and beyond there’s still one name left over
And that is the name that you never will guess
The name that no human research can discover
But the cat himself knows, and will never confess

When you notice a cat in profound meditation
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought
Of the thought
Of the thought
Of his name

His ineffable effable effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular name

(From Cats – the musical)

I called him Sandokan, and even though he sometimes seems to love me... I think he is searching for another name