Yesterday afternoon, I went and found Bertie — he was in the next-door neighbor's yard — and brought him up on the front terrace so we could spend some time with him. I was out on the road and just as I was scooping the cat up, other neighbors drove up, coming back home.
« Ton chat fait la sieste chez nous, tu sais », B. told me. « Là-haut, à l'étage. » "Your cat takes his afternoon nap at our house, you know. Up there, on the second floor." I didn't detect any rancor or disapproval. They were just pointing it out, with a slightly amused expression on their faces.
Just then Madame Le Maire du Village drove up too. She stopped her car in the middle of the street and got out to talk. She invited B & M over for a glass of wine today — she had invited us earlier. I said I didn't remember if I had told her we had a cat living with us now.
« Non, tu ne nous l'as pas dit », she answered, « mais on l'a déjà vu dans notre jardin. » No, you didn't tell us, but we've seen the cat in our yard. I was standing there with Bertie in my arms. I couldn't tell from her words and expression what she thought about the cat. I bet some of the other neighbors had already told her about him.
He is such a friendly and affectionate cat — how could they could not like him? The other neighborhood cats won't let us get close to them. They seem completely sauvages. Not feral but stand-offish. Not like Bertie at all.