In honor of National Cat Week, I’m pleased to share some of my favorite photographs of cats, all on location in Paris. The city is well-known for being dog-friendly and, indeed, I see a lot of dogs on a leash or quietly lounging under café tables. Since cats roam more freely and don’t have the patience to sit still for table scraps, I usually meet them while walking randomly. Most of my feline encounters happen within the “outer” arrondissements (i.e. the double-digit ones) where car traffic is lighter and the streets open onto private courtyards, alleys, and villas. Let me guide you to some of these havens for cats…
28% of French households own at least one cat, the most favorite animal de compagnie. In 2016, there were 12.7 million cats in France which means that some 400,000 cats might call Paris their home.
The most prevalent “breed” is, of course, le chat de gouttière, a generic tabby. Next down the list of favorite breeds for the French: Maine Coon, Birman, Persian, Bengal, and Chartreux.
Should we expect anything from our matou or our minette besides good looks and entertaining qualities?
Perhaps a cat’s raison d’être is just to simply be… there?
This cat in Montmartre was named Minette, the most popular cat name. The second favorite in 2016 was Maya; in 2017, it seems to be Nala. 2018 will be the year for names starting in “O”: Opale, Olive, Olympe, etc. What do you think would be an interesting French name for a cat next year?
On an early evening, the wandering cat remembers where he settles for the night
Sometimes, helpful signage gives you a clue about what to expect when you meet a random cat.
If you find yourself in Paris and want to interact with cats without wearing out your soles, head out to Le Café des Chats in the Bastille neighborhood for a nice cup of tea and, perhaps, a moment parfait with a dozen feline residents.
L’animal de compagnie: a pet
Le chat de gouttière: lit. a rain gutter cat; alley cat
La profession: occupation
Le chat de garde: watch cat
Le matou: a tomcat
La minette: a female cat
Le chat de garde: a watch cat
Le ronron: purring sound
Le soleil: the sun
La raison d’être: purpose
Chat vorace: famish cat
Chat fort méchant et peu nourri: very mean and poorly-fed cat
Mais où sont les croquettes: but where is the kibble