Monday, August 24, 2009

In the pink

Or perhaps that should read "orange".

Bonjour, Haricot Blanc, le blogging French cat here.

Comment ça va?

Me, I'm just fine and dandy, back from my hols, "in the pink" and ready for a riot in the house.

Wasn't that kind of dear old (and I use the term respectfully) Hector to share a few of his thoughts?

For sure he can teach me a lot, but I'm in so much of a hurry to learn all sorts of new stuff that it's often difficult to stay still and pay attention let alone actually listen to anything he's saying.

Once again though, I have to ask the question what or who is the PRESENCE?

There have been so many references made that I'm now totally intrigued and cannot wait to discover her (for it's a "she" that much I've ascertained) identity.

Well while I'm waiting, I thought I would share a couple more short videos HMDT took while I was trying to sleep.

If only I could be allowed to sleep

And this is where I have to say that while there's so much mention of me always storming through the house, it seems that every moment I've settled down for some quiet time, I awake to find that lens pointed in my direction, just waiting to take the next shot.

So I'm awake. Now What?

One thing before I forget, I really should extend my thanks to those of you who've taken the time out to read my ramblings and leave comments.

I haven't been blogging for long, and I really appreciated the number of you who dropped by after Poppy Q had made me a Friday Friend last week. That was especially touching.

And finally before I go and wreck the house (gosh it's great to be back on familiar territory) and give Hiro a heap of hassle, is the good news that I'm "in the pink".

Yes I've been given a clean bill of health!

The tests the vet ran for Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) both came back negative, which was a relief all round, although everyone (vet included) is a little perplexed as to what my "malaise" was and what caused it in the first place.

Still the course of antibiotics seemed to do the trick and I'm full of beans......ooh a play on my name there.

Right I must go. I have havoc to wreak.

A bientôt.

Haricot B.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hector's House

Guten Tag. I'm Hector - the senior citizen here at the home of Haricot Blanc, le blogging French cat.

While she's away on holiday with the comfy laps and the lop-eared nutters, I've taken the chance to slip in and introduce myself.

To start with I'm not the PRESENCE, as mentioned by my much younger buddy Hiro in an earlier piece.

No, I'm the much- travelled doyen of the household.

Born in Germany (hence the reason I broke into my mother tongue right at the beginning) and brought up there for the first three years of my life, I moved to Italy with HMDT before ending up here in France..

In fact we've been together now for more years than I can remember and I'm the only four-legged male here among a bevvy of feline beauties.

I met HB for the first time just before she left for her break, and it sure brought back memories of my distant youth.

Not that I'm old or anything, but taking a look at my passport informs me that I've just turned 14.

As far as I'm concerned I'm in the "prime of my life", although the excesses of youth have perhaps taken their toll a little.

In my younger days I was quite the little tearaway, regularly getting into scraps and happily spending days (and nights) combing the countryside and generally making clear who was boss.

But those days are behind me now. I've not many of my teeth left, a slightly raggedy left ear from an altercation, and on top of that I still dearly miss my old pal Hoagy.

He left us three years ago at the ripe old age of 19.

I get on really well with Hiro mainly because she reminds me so much of him - same colour, same enormous purr and same gentle character.

And she was in fact the one who suggested I pop in to introduce myself and helped me upload a couple of photos. I'm not really into all this new-fangled technology myself, preferring to leave it to youngsters.

If my initial encounter with HB is anything to go by then I have to say she certainly seems energetic and full of bounce, but that's always the way with the young 'uns isn't it?

A curious nose-to-nose greeting was followed by a sudden change of gear as she ricocheted around the hall and disappeared up the stairs in a fury of activity.

She didn't appear to be frightened in the slightest, just terribly over-excited at meeting.

We'll get along just fine as long as she doesn't insist on too much rough and tumble and realises that when I'm settled on the sofa between the comfy laps, I really don't like to be disturbed.

As for the PRESENCE. Well like Hiro, I don't want ot give too much of the game away, and I certainly wouldn't dream of influencing HB but let me just say that she (the PRESENCE) is definitely bipolar material.

All right, I feel a doze coming on. It's baking hot outside, so I'm going to try to find some shade for a quiet nap.

I hope to be able to share some wise words with HB when she returns, but for the moment I'll leave her (and you) with a couple of recent snaps of myself.

Bis später.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Holiday encounters

Bonjour, Haricot Blanc, le blogging French cat here, from a very sunny and hot France.

As you might have guessed, and will be able to see from these pix, I'm on holiday.

Last week the comfy laps stuffed the car to bursting point and headed south to spend some time in the countryside.

They didn't forget me (how could they?) and rather than leaving me in the care of a lovely lady who looks after the house and garden while they're away, decided that I too should come along.

After a three-hour drive, during which I didn't complain too much, we arrived and even though everything is new (again) I've had the chance to do my fair share of investigating and have had some enthralling encounters.

First and foremost was my introduction to the sitting room sofa.

Perhaps not the most extraordinary experience for the more world wise among you, but a complete revelation to me.

Then there was my the chance to explore the outside world, initially from the safety of a first floor window and later during a short chaperoned romp in a meadow.

That's where I came nose-to-nose with one of the Lop Ears.

You might remember my pal Hiro mentioning them earlier, but you can read and see a little more about them here in a piece which includes selection of short videos taken by HMDT while they were splashing around in a nearby lake.

For the moment though, I'll leave you with some shots of me taking my first tentative steps in to Big Outdoors and of course blissfully rolling around on the sofa.

You can also see a few more photos of me outdoors here.

Bonnes vacances.

Haricot B.

Haricot B encounters a sofa

Haricot B. and the Big Outdoors

Les Lop Ears

A holiday bonjour from Haricot Blanc, le blogging French cat.

I mentioned in an earlier piece that I don't live alone in Fontainebleau.

There are of course the comfy laps, HMDT and Toowfu. That goes without saying.

Plus you've already "met" my pal Hiro, the female cat who has no problem with gender identity even though the comfy laps insisted on giving HER a boy's name.

And there was an allusion to the PRESENCE, about which (or whom?) I know as little as you at the moment.

Perhaps though you remember a passing reference made by Hiro to some other four-legged critters whom she called the "lop-eared nutters".

Indeed I've had the pleasure of hearing them exercise their vocal cords - to the delight of everyone else in the neighbourhood - while I've been trying to snooze in the afternoon.

But up until now I haven't actually seen, let alone met, any of them.

That though has all changed.

Holidays are all about relaxing, enjoying the weather, discovering new places and making new friends.

And that's exactly what I've been up to over the past week as I came muzzle to maw with La Grande Dame and watched in amusement from the safety of the bedroom window as les Lop Ears raced around outside.

Meeting la Grande Dame

La Grande Dame is a rather hefty and somewhat sloth-like old gal whose major pre-occupations in life as far as I can tell seem to be eating, sleeping, eating, sleeping, swimming, eating and sleeping (in that order).

She's placid and gentle and like many of her ilk "not quite all there".

Her daughter, Blondie, is a bit of a stunner, but every bit as barmy.

Blondie - not exactly camera shy

The trio of daftness is completed by Silly; the comfy laps must have spent hours trying to come up with that name!

Silly by name, silly......

Yes they're dogs - which explains a lot I suppose - and pedigree English cocker spaniels at that, with monikers longer and more illustrious than their behaviour would seem to support.

Anyway, as promised, here's some short footage HMDT shot of the three of them during a recent splash-about in a nearby lake.

They might look a little half-baked, but they could be fun.

I'll keep you posted.

A bientôt.

Haricot B.

Mother and daughter

Such a racket

More racket

Monday, August 17, 2009

First tentative steps in the Great Outdoors

Haricot Blanc, le blogging French cat, goes walkabouts in the meadow.

And ends up with a little more than she bargained for!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It's playtime!

Bonjour à tous et à toutes. Haricot Blanc, le blogging French cat here once again.

On my mind today are TOYS (intentionally writ large) and especially the shape, size and sheer variety provided, all in the name of keeping me entertained.

After all toys maketh the cat, do they not?

A veritable industry has blossomed to keep us occupied, and dare I say it, one totally unfounded on what we all know we really want and need.

Sure it's lovely to have the odd plaything bought for us, and when I first took up residence here in Fontainebleau at the end of June, one thing in particular struck me about the welcome I received.

I was inundated with a selection of toys the comfy laps had decided were to provide the basis of my "favourite things".

They had clearly raided the local pet store in anticipation of my arrival.

Let loose among the shelves, they had tried to buy a selection of the cutest, most chewable and enticingly dangly knickknacks and playthings that would keep me forever enthralled.

Hah! Perhaps they hadn't realised I have the attention span of a goldfish.

That said, while I'm not going to gripe about the toys (too much) some of them quite honestly defy belief...even to a three-month-old kitten.

There's a little grey hedgehog (er hello, have cat toy manufacturers ever seen a grey hedgehog?) with a pull-out tail (ditto) to make it zip across the floor with me in hot pursuit.

A grey hedgehog - say no more!

Similarly preposterous is the pink bear equally sporting the extendable tail that retracts once at full length.

Pink bear say "hello" to grey hedgehog

A blue hippo (of all things) with an incredibly long tail is regularly proffered to lure me into chasing around in circles to tire me out. I have to admit that I succumb whenever it's waved in front of me.

Tussling with the blue hippo

And then there's a vitiman-packed, green-olive scented scratch post welcomely promising "attraction maximale" (I don't think I need to translate) to prevent me from sharpening my claws where I shouldn't.

All very well-meaning and certainly I have got some use out of all the gifts. But let's face it - and here's the crux of the matter - comfy laps just don't get it do they?

I mean, had they asked me what I really wanted the list would have included the following...and not an extra penny (or centime as we say here) would have had to be spent in the first place.

For starters, I love to get my teeth into the inside of a toilet roll - the cardboard bit.

It's just right for flicking out of the bin in the bathroom, grasping it in my mouth and then parading around the house with.

Better still of course is a whole toilet roll just waiting to be shredded. All right, I know I shouldn't. But it's soooo tempting just sitting there, waiting.

Waste paper bins in general are a toy treasure trove especially the one in the study.

It's full of paper and makes fabulous rustling noises when I leap inside and tip the contents on to the floor.

Perhaps it makes a little mess, but at least it gives the comfy laps something constructive to do as they clear up in my wake.

Shoes, slippers and laces - I've mentioned those before. But honestly, I just can't get enough of them. And there seem to be so many lying around just waiting.

Then of course there's that thing that at the end of my bottom. It has been there since I was born, and even though I know it's there, I still end up chasing around in circles trying to catch it.

Not really sure why.

Because I can I suppose.

So you see. I've only mentioned a few of my really "favourite toys" and already I've provided proof that most of the things I find fascinating are pretty inexpensive (running to "free" much of the time), available and provide hours...I mean hours of fun.

I'm sure I'm not alone.

Now where's that ridiculous blue hippo?

A bientôt.

Haricot B.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Under the weather - a health scare

Bonjour mes amis. Haricot Blanc, le blogging French cat back with you once again.

It probably hasn't escaped your notice that I haven't had much to say since I mentioned my last visit to that place I referred to as "fast becoming something of a four letter world".

Remember? The VETS.

Well that's mainly because I've been feeling poorly and have had to spend a couple of days in the clinic "under obs".

It all started last Thursday when I just felt so pooped. I didn't have any energy, wanted to spend all the time dozing and my normally healthy appetite was anything but.

I just drank a little water et "basta".

The comfy laps insisted that I pay another visit to that unmentionable place, where I was examined and my temperature taken.

Now I shan't complain about where they stuck the thermometer, but REALLY!

Sometimes these comfy laps and their accomplices just don't know the meaning of the words "dignified" and "decency".

Anyway, it turned out I was running a fever - 40 degrees celsius rather than the norm which is around 38.5 - so no guesses as to what came next.

One of those ruddy jabs in the backside, instructions to keep me calm and quiet (as if I really felt like doing anything else) and an anti-inflammatory for a potentially pulled muscle.

Wonder of wonders though, in the car back home I started feeling better, and by the time I had made it through the front door, I was back to my old (young) self, rushing around the house like a Force 10 gale and generally making my presence felt on the place.

Appetite back, motions (hate to mention that, but it's rather important) passing, everything seemed back to normal. And on Friday I was chirpy all day.

But then in the evening I started feeling woozy, not wanting to touch my food and hardly bothering to raise myself from by basket throughout the night.

Once again the comfy laps were concerned, and rang the clinic out of hours early on Saturday, and I was taken in for yet another consultation in the afternoon.

This time I had a flash test which indicated the possibility of the Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) against which I had been vaccinated a couple of weeks ago.

And more worryingly there was the fear that I had somehow contracted the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) against which there is no vaccination!

Blood samples were rushed off to a lab, and I was kept in for two days for observations and to receive a perfusion as I was still running a fever and had no appetite.

That didn't last long though, as by Monday I was wailing to be allowed home (the vet told HMDT all about it when he came to collect me in the afternoon) and gee was I happy to be back where I belonged.

No more silence and calm for me - even if it has been advised. Instead I'm full of spirits, eating heartily and enjoying making mischief.

The only downside has been waiting for the results and taking some revolting medicine (is there ever any other sort?) twice a day...some sort antibiotic in liquid form, served to me through a pipette unwelcomely (as far as I was concerned) thrust into my mouth.

HMDT and Toowfu are still, as they say, "Keeping an eye on me". Vets instructions apparently, but to be quite frank, I feel in fine this video more than attests to.

Oh yes, and here's a link to a selection of photos I've (rather pretentiously perhaps) entitled "Haricot B - a study against orange" and "The cat that didn't 'sat on the mat'".

A bientôt.

Haricot B.

Whoever said "The cat sat on the mat?"

Haricot Blanc - A study against orange and the cat who didn't "sat on the mat"

Bonjour, Haricot Blanc, le blogging French cat here.

I thought I would share with you a few photos taken of me recently as the sun streamed in through the window and I rolled around on the mat.

At not even four months old, it's hard to keep still, and taking photos can be more than a little difficult.

Of course the easiest time to take a snap is when I'm dozing, or just waking up.

And the best shots (IMHO) are those where the background provides a glorious contrast to the colour of my coat.

Here's a selection I've called "A study against orange" and "The cat who didn't 'sat on the mat'".

Enjoy, and let me know what you think.

A bientôt.

Haricot B.

A study against orange

Stretched out asleep


Half awake


The cat who didn't "sat on the mat"

Mats are made for chewing


Is this my best angle?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

All of a "rage" at the Vets

Bonjour. Haricot Blanc, le blogging French cat, here once again.

Perhaps that should read "sulking French cat" as I'm just back from, what for me is fast becoming something of a four-letter word, the VETS.

Now would someone out there like to enlighten me. What exactly is it with periodic medical visits and needles? Do those, albeit highly-qualified comfy laps get a kick from sticking them into our bottoms.

I, for one, am beginning to think so.

A few weeks ago HMDT took me for my first trip to the clinic. Just a check-up to ensure that everything was in working order (I could have told him that, had he bothered to ask).

A most unwelcome sign

Much hilarity about my "sassy" temperament, "cute" zapping around the house as I get my bearings, how I have a limited attention span and can't quite work out what my tail is for and blah, blah, blah.

There were some wise words from the vet concerning my ears (pink and delicate - sunscreen "obligatoire" in summer) and then...well you probably know what happened next (if not, here's a reminder).

The dreaded "needle in the backside" as I received my vaccinations.

So when we pulled up this afternoon outside the vets, I pretty much had an inkling as to what to expect.

Oh yes they (the vets) are all very kind and knowing, saying, "This won't really hurt" (note already the use of the word "really") and "It's all for your own good in the long run", and then before you know where you are they've kindly grasped you by the neck with one hand to immobilise you, while the other is brandishing that sharp little devil.

Is this REALLY the way to travel?

I tell you, I don't like it. In fact I DON'T LIKE it at all.

It might well be in my own interests and all be part of keeping me healthy, but as far as I'm concerned it's just not fair.

I mean, what have I done to deserve it? Nothing. I've just been me.

This time around it was a vaccination against rabies - or "rage" as we call it here. How appropriate is all I can say.

All right, so I knew it was coming but it still didn't make the experience any the more pleasurable. Once again I let them know exactly how I felt about it.

The good news (yes, there is some) is that I've now got the all clear to venture outside. So I suppose that's something to look forward to.

And all being well I won't be subjected to the same sort of humiliating treatment for quite a while.

Voilà. C'est tout pour le moment.

Yours (still in high dudgeon)

Haricot B.

Back home

Thursday, July 16, 2009

HMDT's "fixation" with ears

Bonjour - a quick question from le blogging French cat.

Do my ears look this basket?

Well a "girl" has to ask doesn't she?

I was just wondering what you thought about them - my ears that is - as HMDT has been pointing that ruddy camera in my direction rather a lot recently in an attempt to "catch the best possible shot" and "the right angle".

As usual I'm not being terribly co-operative but that doesn't seem to make much of a difference.

Honestly though, there seems to be some sort of fascination with them.

There I was having a quiet moment on the chair in the study after having whirlwinded my way around the hall and up and down the stairs when I heard that infuriating digital whirring and clicking.

On opening my eyes slightly, I saw that infernal lens pointing at me

It's not that I'm shy or anything, but really...surely one picture is more than enough.

And what is it exactly with my ears? They seem to be the centre of attention.

Yes, they're very pink. And yes they might seem a little out of proportion to the rest of me (at the moment), but really...can't a cat have her little bit of peace every now and then.

Anyway, just to show you what I have to put up with and the results of that "whirr, click whirr" hEAR'S (sorry I couldn't resist it) a selection of the photos I deigned to pose for.

Plus a short film taken just as I was coming to the end of whizzing around the hall....

"Sigh" or as we say in French "soupire".

Haricot B.

I was TRYING to have a rest

I said I was sleeping

So, what are you looking at?


OK. "Ears, smile for the camera"

Have you finished yet?

The thing is, sometimes I have the attention span of a goldfish

Friday, July 10, 2009

Keeping healthy - the dreaded "vermifuge"

Do you think comfy laps would like some of this?

Bonjour. Ici Haricot Blanc, your blogging French cat.

De retour as you can see.

Hope you enjoyed the last entry from Hiro.

And it's true what she wrote, we've bonded. Even though she's still huge in comparison to me, she doesn't seem to mind when I invite her for a grapple although she gets a trifle antsy when I forget that my choppers are still a little on the sharp side.

One of the hazards (for her) of my teething I suppose.

Besides she's not around all the time, and when she makes an appearance I like to make the most of it.

Wasn't it interesting what she wrote about the PRESENCE? I wonder why she insisted on capitalising it. And who or what are the "lop-eared nutters"? She has refused to divulge any further details telling me that, "All will become clear in good time."

I'll certainly keep you posted when I know more.

One thing I rather liked was the way she signed off, promising that in her I have, "A faithful friend, playmate and protector."

Now that's what I call true cat solidarity.

And I thought her phrase for describing HMDT and Toowfu collectively as the "comfy laps" was quite appropriate, especially as I spend a lot of time sitting on HMDT's when he's trying to work in the study.

Think I'll use it too in the future.

Actually HMDT's not in my good books at the moment.

It was his turn to give me breakfast this morning, but before doing so he picked me up (ever so gently mind you) and started squeezing something into my mouth.

No word of explanation beforehand and no warning what was coming....and it was just ghastly.

I attempted to spit the lot out and struggled quite a bit with my legs flailing in all directions in protest. But to no avail. He kept a firm hold of me and I had no option but to swallow.

Apparently, as I had explained to me afterwards, it was all "for my own good". Don't you just love it when you're told that?

I was, so I learned "being wormed" or "vermifuger" as it was put to me. Somehow it sounds nicer in French although the experience is just as unpleasant in whichever language you choose to use as far as I'm concerned.

After all that I needed something to get rid of the taste and eagerly tucked into my grub.

But do you know what Hiro told me later in the day? I would have to go through the same procedure in a month's time and then every four weeks until I'm six months old. After that it'll be twice a year.

She gets pills rather than paste - something I hope I'll be given instead in the future.

I mean, do you think comfy laps have even tasted the stuff before subjecting us to it?

Rhetorical question really as the answer is obvious.

Yeeurk. The thought of it still makes me shudder.

I have a sneaking feeling that it was that dreaded three-letter word (the vet) that put him up to it. I'm going to have a few things to say to her about that when I next see her - next week I believe.

A bientôt.

Haricot B.

Oh good shoes....and LACES!

I need somewhere to hide

This'll do nicely

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hiro, le blogging French cat's bigger buddy

Bonjour. Perhaps you were expecting to read something from Haricot Blanc, but she has kindly allowed me to paw away at the keyboard for a while.

Let me introduce myself. I'm Hiro (pronounced "Eero"), le blogging French cat's slightly older and wiser confidante.

I see she described me earlier on as "a supposedly friendly little madam who still seems like a giant compared to me and as far as I can tell is prone to mood swings".

Well I would like to set the record straight. Let me reassure you that I am as HMDT told HB "the gentlest, best-natured kitty around."

In fact if they were handing out certificates in good behaviour and mild temperament, I would be given an A+. And that's not idle bragging.

Admittedly things got off to a hesitant start with HB - she seemed so small in comparison and madly keen for a whole heap of rough 'n tumble. I wasn't really sure what to make of her, and it just seemed easier to show who was boss - rather hissily I'm ashamed to acknowledge.

But now we've bonded, and it looks as though we're going to have a great time together. I just can't wait to help her explore Outside and discover what the world has to offer.

Of course that's all in the future.

I see myself as the quintessential "Kool Kat". Nothing fazes me, well apart that is from HER, the rather - how should I put it politely - "highly strung" and "capricious" PRESENCE that (thinks she) rules the roost here.

I don't want to give the game away too much, but HB has rather a surprise in store.

You see we're not the only ones to have adopted the Fontainebleau couple (or the "tin-openers", "biscuit-providers" and "comfy laps" as I variously call them). There's another one she has yet to meet - a grimalkin, if you will, who is....well, exactly as the terms describes.

Plus - oh I shouldn't really - there are some four-legged, lop-eared nutters around. But I'll leave it up to HB to give you her impressions once she encounters them.

After all I don't want to influence her opinion or worry her unnecessarily over matters that really aren't that alarming.

It's all part of the learning process, and I'll let her discover and share with the rest of you, all in her own good time.

For the moment though, back to me. I'm two years old (born on 23 May, 2007 in case you're interested) and as you can probably see, as black as HB is white (although in direct sunlight you can see that there's definitely more than a hint of brown to me too).

I have a thundering purr, which I frequently put to full effect; and an even louder "singing" voice with which I make my presence felt and demands for food known.

Not that I'm a gourmand mind you. Toowfu makes sure that I watch my weight, and I haven't been allowed anywhere near HB's grub, which smells and looks gorgeously rich in protein. Oh memories!

Oh yes, and (again) contrary to what you might have read, I've absolutely nothing against having been given a boy's name. I like to think it marks me out, and it has certainly confused a couple of the comfy laps' friends when they come to visit.

"Oh he's gorgeous," they say on learning my name. Only to be corrected by Toowfu that I'm very much a girl.

Apparently I was named after one of their favourite characters in a US television series called "Heroes".


That's my introduction done. I hope HB gives me the chance to blog here again at some point.

For the moment though, I'll take my leave, and rest-assured, in me she has a faithful friend, playmate and protector.



Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Haricot Blanc speaks out

Bonjour. Haricot Blanc, le blogging French cat here.

Guess who got a little too close to the camera

Just a quick entry as I'm just about to about to be driven somewhere in the car. And that, in my admittedly brief experience, never bodes well.

Doubtless I'll have more to say on that subject shortly.

Now remember I told you earlier that I was bilingual - born and being brought up here in France, but having adopted an Anglo-French couple.

It's no big deal really as the following short video illustrates.

It sort of goes to show that music isn't the only universal language because we cats know a thing or two that we could probably teach those tin-openers, biscuit-providers and comfy lap cushions about in terms of crossing cultural and linguistic barriers.

HMDT kindly shot it a couple of days ago just before my midday meal, although to be honest I would rather less time had been spent trying to capture me on film and more attention spent to the matter at hand.


A bientôt.

Haricot B.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Teething troubles chez moi

Bonjour encore. C'est moi, Haricot Blanc, le blogging French cat.

As you've probably gathered by now I've been in my new home for over three weeks, and while I've definitely settled in - no problems there - I'm now quite literally experiencing what can only be described as "teething problems".

To be precise I've got toothache BIG TIME as I'm starting to lose my milk teeth and the adult ones are making their presence known...and felt.

So it's all rather a testing time - for me and my surroundings - as I plunge my gums into what ever is at hand (or mouth) and attempt to gnaw my way to paradise.

Furniture, towels, cushions, pillows, belt buckles, tassels and (my favourite of all) shoelaces beware! If you're in my line of mouth then you'll soon be making acquaintance with my emerging choppers.

They're not all through yet of course, but I can feel them coming, and so can HMDT and Toowfu, who haven't be spared.

Until now they've both been quite happy to let their hands dangle around my mouth while I've given them the gentlest of nips during a bout of rough 'n tumble.

Now though I'm understandably getting a little bit fractious and sometimes chomp just a little more strongly than intended. No harm meant though - it's just difficult to find some relief.

Most of the time gnawing doesn't present too much of a problem. There's always something to investigate and even if nothing is left lying around, I can usually make sure that it soon is by "bringing it down to floor level".

Soft furnishings have a certain "give" to them. My special toys of course come in more than handy - or mouthy.

Clothes left tantalisingly draped over a chair - sorry but they're fair game as far as I'm concerned.

And I've taken a rather special liking to an ancient pair of slippers that I found by the end of the bed the other day.


Those slippers

Sometimes though, even I get it wrong and can end up with a nasty surprise.

Take the other day for example while Toowfu was taking a shower and I as usual was perched on the edge "minding my own business" and watching and wondering what that green bar might be that was being rubbed into a furious lather.

As though my musings had been heard, there was a sudden thud as it slipped out of Toowfu's hands and on to the floor in front of me.

Ever the curious one of course - after all we cats have a reputation to live up to - I leant forward to investigate and without thinking eagerly sank my teeth into it.

You can probably imagine my horror when my gnashers made contact with what I now know to be the rather disgusting taste of soap. Not to be recommended under any circumstances, and I beat a hasty retreat.

Toowfu was in hysterics, which I didn't think particularly fair. After all it's not kind to those just starting out and don't know any better.

Doorstop, toy or chest of drawers? Decisions, decisions, decisions

Oh well, the best that can be said I suppose is that we all have to learn somehow.

And not everything that falls from on high is worth sinking one's teeth into, even if one has the desperate need to gnaw.

How profound is that?

And with that thought, I'll leave you for now.

A bientôt.

Haricot B.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Le bilingual blogging French cat

Bonjour everybody encore une fois. It's Haricot Blanc, le blogging French cat.

I've been asked why I blog in English.

Well to be honest, it's the language that comes most easily to me.

It's the one in which HMDT and Toowfu choose to address me.

The fact of the matter is that I'm bilingual. One of the pair (HMDT) is a native English speaker, the other one (Toowfu) is French.

Whatever the case might be, and whichever tongue they might choose, I feel more than free to ignore them at will, according to my mood.

That said, I thought now might be a good chance to share with you some of the diminutives I have to put up with from the pair of them, and some of the expressions or words I've learned in my short time here. Treat it as a feline dictionary if you will.

The most obvious terms of endearment for French cats is "minet" (silent "t") for puss and "minou" for pussy or kitty. I quite like those.

I get called "Ari" (short for Haricot Blanc, which is let's face it, a bit of a mouthful. And yes as you've probably noticed the "H" isn't pronounced.

That's often the case with many words in French, so Hiro, the "supposedly friendly little madam who still seems like a giant compared to me" I mentioned in my last blog becomes "Iro".

"Strike a pose" - Hiro

As for cat, well that's "le chat" (silent "t") for all of us in general, which is a bit sexist I find as it's a masculine noun. Still, there is a she-cat equivalent used for we gals - "la chatte".

Oh yes, by the way as I'm not yet three months old, I'm clearly still a "chaton" or kitten.

Time for din dins (yes HMDT really does use those words) becomes "l'heure de mon repas" or "miam miam" (yummy) and it's always served to me in my "gamelle" (bowl or dish). At the moment I'm gobbling up meals whenever I like as there are always biscuits or "croquettes" on hand and I have the feeling that's pretty much going to be my standard diet in the future, and they're washed down of course with "l'eau" or water.

When I'm purring (which I do an awful lot of the time) Toowfu tells me that I "ronronne", and if I'm feeling sleepy "j'ai envie de faire dodo" or I want to go beddy-byes, I head off to my "panier" or basket.

Admittedly it's not the most glamourous of beds and has certainly seen better days, but it's apparently a bit of a family heirloom and therefore much loved.

And that has to be a good sign doesn't it?

So there you go, a look at some of the words that might come in handy for fellow cats should they make a trip to France.

If you would like to learn some more, just get in touch and ask me.

For the moment though j'ai envie de faire dodo so I'm going to make myself comfy in my panier.

A bientôt.

Haricot B.

Some more photos of me in my "panier"

Friday, June 26, 2009

Have passport, can travel.

Bonjour again everybody. It's me, Haricot Blanc, le blogging French cat.

Have passport, can travel

They're out - remember HMDT and Toowfu? So once again I've grabbed a little bit of computer time.

I've been installed chez moi for a week now, and you know it isn't half bad.

Admittedly I don't have full run of the place yet, just the master bedroom (of course) and the massive en suite where I can tender to my needs.

It's something about "being introduced gently to the others", and "not having had all my shots yet".

Ah yes regarding the former. My suspicions have been confirmed. I'm not alone (with my adopted humans) in this adventure.

There are more four-legged friends around. I actually made the acquaintance of one of them the other day; Hiro, a supposedly friendly little madam who still seems like a giant compared to me and as far as I can tell is prone to mood swings.

Actually HMDT was quite surprised when he first introduced us to each other, assuring me that Hiro was "the gentlest, best-natured kitty around."

That wasn't exactly how it came across though as after some initial snuffling and delicate head rubbing she became more than a little hissy for my liking. It probably has something to to with being really peeved that I'm around. That and the fact that as far as I can tell, she seems to have been given a boy's name.

C'est la vie, I suppose.

Oh yes, and that brings me to my other news for this week. The "shots" I mentioned earlier.

HMDT chauffered me to the vet the other day for my vaccinations.

Shots against cat ‘flu. (coryza) and feline infectious enteritis (typhus), are pretty much standard here in France, even for cats who are never going to venture outdoors. And for those who'll be allowed beyond the front door at some point, an injection against feline leukaemia (leucose feline) is also recommended.

I got the lot with a needle jabbed into my backside. How undignified! And I let them know my complete displeasure at being treated in such a manner by letting out the biggest of yowls.

That'll teach 'em.

There's worse to come though, because if I understood correctly once I turn three months it'll be time for another jab; this time against what they call "rage" here in France, or rabies in English.

Plus it's an experience I'll have the pleasure of being subjected to annually. Huh.

While all that was going on, do you know what I overheard the vet say?

"She's already quite a sassy little one and I think she (me) is likely to grow up to be 'full of temperament'."

Would you credit it! Talking about me like that, and immediately after having shoved a needle into me. The cheek of the woman.

I mean, how dare she. I'm just too adorable. "Full of temperament," indeed.

After more prodding and poking me gently, she also mentioned another couple of things that I found quite interesting.

Apparently a fair number of pure white cats are deaf. I'm not though as she discovered by testing out my hearing.

Another thing is that in summer I should have sun block applied to my delicate little (pinkish) ears as they're susceptible to sun burn.

Anyway she confirmed I was fighting fit and in perfect health and issued me with a brand new passport which contains my vaccination history, the personalised number of the electronic chip I had implanted when I was just a couple of weeks old and other personal info (such as who I "own" and my address).

So there you go, I'm a fully-registered French cat now, ready for much more mischief and looking forward to making my presence felt.

Right, I think that has pretty much brought you up-to-date for the moment.

I feel a nap coming on, so I'll sign off of for the moment.

A bientôt.

Haricot B.


Friday, June 19, 2009

A new arrival

Bonjour everybody. Let me introduce myself.
I'm Haricot Blanc - a French cat. Well a kitten at the moment. And this is my blog.

I've just found a new home with His Master's Dulcet Tones and The Other One Who Feeds Us (henceforth to be referred to as HMDT - heavily capitalised because there's always one isn't there? And Toowfu) which kind of gives the game away about what is probably awaiting me down the line.

I have the feeling I'm not alone here in this adventure, but I've not yet happened upon any other creatures great or small, so I can't really tell you much about what is, after all, just an inkling at the moment.


Anyhow I only moved in two days ago and am quickly getting the lie of the land.

So while they're both out I've slipped into the study to investigate. While the cat's that's not quite right is it?

Not only have I adopted a couple of humans, but as you can see I've also discovered the joys of this computer thing.

So whenever they're not around I intend to make full use of it to tell anyone out there reading what life's like here in France....for a cat that is.

Oh yes. In case you were wondering about the name, it's French for "White Bean". Original huh?

I didn't choose it of course. They did. HMDT and Toowfu.

You would be right in asking what they were thinking of at the time. Yes I'm white, and definitely very cute, but I don't look anything like a bean. Do I?

Apparently they wanted a name that began with "H" because it's a kind of a family thing. I'm not sure that I understand entirely, but I guess it'll become clearer with time.

So it looks as though I'm stuck with it. Little do they know though that I actually already have a name. Proof I suppose that neither of them has read T. S. Eliot's "Old Possum's book of practical cats".

Had they done so they would have known that while we cats require THREE names, the most important is the one known only to us. I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about.

In a sense though the pair are rather bucking the trend here in France because tradition has it that when choosing a name for cats and dogs a specific letter should be used depending on the year.

It's really only strictly applied to those with pedigrees, but it's also common practice when naming those of less - how shall I put it - "reliable lineage" - and that includes me.

This year's letter is "E", which might come in quite handy when I'm a little older as it means that should I feel the need to lop a few years off my age at some point in the future I can quite easily turn around and say, "Hey, my name begins with 'H' so of course I'm not quite that old yet."

Hang on a moment, I can hear the key in the front door. I think it's them. So I'll have to rush back to my basket to pretend I've been sleeping while they were out.

After all I don't want HMDT and Toowfu discovering my hidden talents.

This blogging thing looks as though it could be fun. When I get the chance I'll be back to tell you a little more about life here.

For now though, as we cats say in France "miaule".

A bientôt.

Haricot B.