Pets of any kind, including cats, are not allowed in our building. We found this out when filling out our application for this place. The realtor looked at our form and – screwing her face up into an imitation of sympathetic dismay – asked us if we had a cat already. When we said we did not, she suggested we rethink our plans and cross out the ‘C’** word on the application because the landlady was dead-set against them.

Legally there wouldn’t be much our landlady could do about it if we did get a cat. The laws here are strange and one of them covers this situation. Last I heard (these strange laws change all the time too, so grain of salt here), although a landlord can decide not to rent to someone because they have pets, and can go so far as to forbid them, there is nothing they can do if someone moved in and went ahead and got one anyway.

Rental laws are like that: once you’re in, the landlord can eat shit and die. Tenant is king and rules with a heavy hand in Germany.

We got the apartment and began plotting our first pet together.

More than two years later we’re still at that stage because this apartment is so small and lacking in a balcony that would give a cat the fresh air it deserves (or teasing glimpse of the other side of the fence – however you choose to look at it). Because there’s no way a cat could roam the streets of an inner-city, and survive/return with any certainty, this is essential.

That was our decision: If a housecat, then we’d have to provide better housing. What a sad decision that was. I still torment Oliver sometimes when the subject of Christmas or birthday presents come up. He’ll ask what I want and get the same, impossible answer: C.A.T.

We would love to have a cat but we’re too damn conscientious.


It’s no surprise that we jump at the chance to babysit our friend Nina’s cat Mona. One summer we stayed a month in Nina’s apartment babysitting her cats (when there were two), living vicariously in her huge apartment. Now that there is just Mona we take her to our apartment to stay with us,

She’s a nutty cat but always behaves beautifully when she’s with us. Cuddly and sweet, she also has ADD and the memory of cat litter – a few things stick but most of the rest of her memories crumble away pretty quickly. This means that although she gets mad at you, ignoring you for few hours, it quickly dissolves when something distracts her.

Sometimes she also gets this look that clearly shouts: WHO THE HELL ARE YOU AND WHERE THE FUCK AM I???!! Then she runs all over looking for escape or cover until her reality button reloads and everything makes sense again.

Poor kitty, too much acid in the 80’s.

Thr first time she came to visit we enjoyed her so much that we ran interference when her ‘real’ mom wanted to come pick her up. Oliver and I agree now that it was a low point. We were throwing a party when Nina was due to return. She was invited and made sounds like she would like to come by earlier to pick up Mona beforehand. We discouraged that using shopping as our excuse. Ok, she said, she’d take Mona home after the party. Sure, we said, if the cabbie agrees, but it would also be fine to have her one more night and then Oliver could driver her home the next day.

Before the party we fed Mona sashimi tuna so she’d remember who loved her most. We served a liberal amount of wine to our guests, particularly Nina. When she went to say hi to Mona she was ignored – the penalty for abandonment and not having sashimi on hand. We gleefully passed knowing looks to each other. It seemed like we had managed one last night.

Despite our best efforts a meowing Mona was carried out, locked in her whicker basket, on a tipsy Nina’s arm into the waiting cab at the end of the night.


Since then we are much better behaved and no longer try to break up happy homes. Mona will be staying with us for two weeks and hopefully the landlady will be none the wiser. She needed about 10 minutes to rediscover her favorite places and settle in.

It IS nice having a cat.

**actually in this case it was ‘K’ for Kaetze.


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