He showed up at the neighbors’ house at the end of March 2020. The province had just gone into containment mode. There were rumors that cats were spreading COVID-19, another of those stories that, like toilet paper, occupied people’s minds for a while. It’s a beautiful black cat, with almost perfect lines. It immediately made me think of Toulouse Lautrec’s cat on the poster.
It is not the first stray cat who wants to take up residence with the neighbors. Already they had taken in two a year earlier when the little female Aria came to present her offspring to Laurent and Yves. Just before, a troubled cat, also black, had caused us some trouble, locking herself in the attic or taking refuge in impossible places. Although very fearful, my neighbors had managed to tame her for a while until she had her first heat. We never saw her again, but the damage was done. The neighbors had both been struck by the cat’s bite, a disease from which humanity has not yet recovered.
There was also Arthur, the beautiful tiger cat, who will have spent a whole winter in a heated hut bought especially for him. There again, Arthur had finally made his little tour of the house, creating a diplomatic place for himself among the three other cats that my neighbors own.
Let’s not forget the kittens abandoned by Aria following the death of the neighbor. Those could have stayed at my house. I’m glad I resisted.
So here is the beautiful black cat, obviously well treated, therefore coming from a house that will have fed him well. He never seemed desperate. We thought he was just passing through, but he came back the following days. Not at all aggressive, he was already letting himself be taken in our arms. The other three cats ignored him, as they should, at first, and then probably lifted their cat shoulders. They had seen others, especially Minette, the oldest, strongest, it is the case to say it, with her big angora coat.
Cats have names, but nobody really calls them correctly. I don’t even remember Minette’s real name. I think it’s Clito. One calls her Princess, I called her Big Fatty for a long time. As for The White One, well, maybe that’s her only name after all. And the nimble Little Grey who wants to go out so badly and go on a five‑, ten-minute adventure.
Finally, here comes Virus, the newcomer. I instead call him Covid and Laurent named him Placid because he’s so calm. In short, PCV, Placid-Covid-Virus.
The cat remains officially wandering. He gravitates around the house, sleeps in the house, wakes Yves up at 4:30 am because he’s hungry, lies on the couple’s bed. He is at home.
Often, in the morning or during the day, he comes meowing at my window, and not discreetly either. It is urgent, he seems to say, he wants to come in. After five insistent minutes, I decide to get out and go down the back stairs. Covid doesn’t let himself be prayed for, often taking advantage of this to turn me around, just to pass on to me all his parasitic love. I open the door of the neighbors who have started working in the front of the house, each in their own office.
Sometimes, one of them sends me by iMessage a “Thank you”.
What will happen to Covid this winter ? He probably won’t want to go out anymore. He’s not fat, and he doesn’t have Minette’s fur. But maybe he will do like Arthur or the others. He will go to live his destiny, blindly submitting to Darwin’s laws. You can expect anything with viruses.