Our apartamento came complete with a gato da casa (cat of the house). A big ugly cat that ruled the courtyard named Chaneco. The property owners lived in Caldas da Rainha, the only ones here full time were us, Lucia the schoolteacher in the apartment above us and the gato.
Once upon a time, ten years ago he was rescued, a small half dead pitiful little thing that was bottle fed. The Grand Daddy of the house was Chaneco’s chosen one, only Pai could pet him and love him. He would hand feed Chaneco sardinhas, they were soul mates. After Pai passed the cat was heartbroken and sat in front of his bedroom door for eight days and cried. Then, he turned mean.
The citizen is a cat person, I am a dog person. I have no idea about cats, except my fat lovable Harry who never raised a paw to me. Chaneco would act all sweet and before I knew it I had two claws and fangs in my arm! The citizen said that was typical of cats, it was the way they played. No, playing is chasing balls and having your belly rubbed, not attacking your people. All winter I made a nice bed outside to keep the little monster warm in the cold wet weather. When the citizen was busy I snuck him into the house when the weather was truly foul. We saved leftovers, even cooked fish for him. He made me bleed, but I still loved the little guy, he had his moments.
He would spend time in the garden with the citizen and knew not to “go potty” where the plants were. Chaneco would follow us up to Asia Bar at night and wait patiently to walk us back home hours later. We learned what his meows meant and chased off the bigger meaner cats that were trying to rumble with him. He was getting older and couldn’t take on the new gang of bigger street cats.
The last of the summer guests left last Saturday, we had a nice mackerel cooked up for the beast. Carla and Paulo the owners of the property and the family are moving back into the big house below us and they were cleaning up. We looked for Chaneco to give him his fish, he wasn’t running up our stairs being his greedy little self. Carla gave him to the guests from Porto! Turns out he was nice to them and they begged for him, even bought a little kitty carrier to take him home. Chaneco was going to be a house cat with another dog and cat. I am truly sorry for the dog and cat in Porto, they have no idea what they are in for.
Three days later and the citizen and I are bereft. I fondly trace the claw marks on my arm with my finger and we had to find another kitty for the mackerel. There is a bright side, now that the family is back home below us, Paulo said with Chaneco in Porto we can have chickens! Just think, fresh eggs. Does anyone know if chickens are mean?