19 December 2010

The Original Cat Woman: Colette


 There are no ordinary cats. Colette

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (1873-1954), the French novelist known as Colette, loved cats. Along with an assortment of husbands and lovers, she enjoyed the company of her Chartreux cats. The "blue cats of France" have wooly fur and copper eyes; they originally worked as farm cats hunting rodents. They were also valued for their pelts and faced extinction in the early twentieth century. Perhaps Colette identified with the cats' hard beginnings which they overcame to become pampered pets of Paris. At twenty the author married the older Henry Gauthier-Villars (1859 -1931), a philandering, writer and music critic. Under his nom de plume, Willy, he published Colette's first novels, the Claudine series. After she left her unfaithful husband she initially earned a living in the music halls of Paris. Among her roles, Colette appeared as a cat in La Chatte Amoureuse. In 1934 the German born photographer, Walter Limot (1902-1984) captured Colette's writing hand and one of her Chartreux cats. Perhaps this cat was the inspiration for the character of Saha, the Chartreux in Colette's 1933 novel La Chatte.

This post is dedicated to the memory of Fayal Boutell:
Halloween 2003~Winter Solstice 2010

7 comments:

  1. leonard D Greco Jr23 December, 2010 08:26

    The Chartreux sounds amazing, my Moses sounds like a poor man's version. He bordered on blue, in the right light, with just the right amount of romance and delusion. LG

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  2. LG~ It is so good to here from you, I'm had to put little Fayal asleep because the cancer has advanced. She was not a Chartreux but some mutt like myself. But as Colette said, "There are no ordinary cats". Moses and Fayal were extraordinary cats. xo, KB

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  3. Leonard D Greco Jr23 December, 2010 08:31

    I am deeply deeply sorry.
    I can only send a far away shoulder to cry upon.
    Please take care and don't hesitate to reach out.
    Your friend,
    ...

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  4. Oh dear.... I am so sorry about Fayal. You will miss her purr, And more than that.... while your loyal friend, Fayal, is asleep, beyond our sight. Does it at times feel like you will love her for a long time?

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  5. Enlightening as always Kendra. Just googled Chartreux cats, beautiful species. Sorry to hear about Fayal. :(

    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and most Happy New Year.

    Cheers,

    Claudia

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  6. I do love Colette and almost anything to with cats. Fayal is honored here.
    A very lovely Christmas to you!

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  7. Thank you Maggie, Claudia and Gretchen for your kind words about Fayal, I love Colette's sensuous economy of words and of course her understanding of the feline nature. Happy Holidays, Kendra

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