Hugo and Oskar

Happy Tuesday!

We finally have some beautiful weather today in Frankfurt. Blue skies, warm sunshine… I could get used to it!

Today I want to share a bit about the two little guys in my life, Hugo and Oskar.

Hugo has been around for awhile now – we came together when he was four months, and he is soon six years old.

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Also Hugo has already been through more than most domestic cats can say. Two years ago, the apartment building where I lived in New York had a fire while I was away during the weekend.  After the firefighters’ extensive efforts to be sure the fire was contained, including breaking down the doors and all of the windows, and smashing through each wall and ceiling (it was an electrical fire), a scared-enough Hugo took off. Of course by the time I heard of the fire the following morning, Hugo had already run down the stairs through the fire and taken refuge somewhere safer. My poor cat-baby was surely traumatized. After I dealt with the pressing issues in the apartment, I was able to post fliers outside of the apartment building, and within five minutes I received a call saying he was seen. Hugo was only halfway down the block hiding in a lower level window dugout soaking and dirty in a puddle. But he was found. That was one very unlucky but lucky day.

Oskar is soon one year old. I might add that both of these ages are somewhat estimated by the rescue group they came from.

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And Oskar is truly a joyful cat – it’s similar to when people say their baby is so good… never cries, always smiles, and always in a good mood. Oskar is the cat counterpart to the perfect baby.  He’s our one-cat- welcome-home committee and is soon flipping around in circles on the floor. He loves raw meat, and recently we found out it brings out his territorial nature. First time we ever heard him growl and hiss was when he began devouring the meat in front of him, and Hugo started to approach. I think finally after a few weeks, the cats have established that Hugo shouldn’t even consider going after Oskar’s meat. Good thing he has no interest in it.

But the guys are quite settled here in Frankfurt. They are becoming familiar with German food, but it’s been a challenge.  Probably, it doesn’t help much that we have accelerated the process of them becoming spoiled. But now we stand in the middle of a power battle. M and I realized we can’t let the cats rule us, so the human team and the cat team are both insisting our expectations on one another. The cats will go up to the food and sniff it – in Oskar’s case, scratch at the place mate attempting to cover it similar to the action he does in the litter box – and walk away if it’s not the food they wanted. But now we have decided we won’t be broken down! They will eat if they are hungry enough, we declared.  And we declare it and declare it… we’ll see who is the final winner!

But getting here was an ordeal in itself. We acquired and tested some sedatives for the plane, but the effect on the cats was very tough to watch. Seeing our cats stagger around like little drunken men certainly pulled on our heart strings. So we decided to hold off on using them until we may really need them. Everything was moving along smoothly – we had all the cat documents prepared and notarized, all of our last belongings packed up and we headed to the airport with the cats. On the way, we received notification that our flight was cancelled! After some negotiations, we ended up in the business lounge and booked on the next available flight 8 hours later. So the four of us waited. Oskar preferred to cuddle up with Hugo in one of the little bags, so we allowed it, not really considering how much of an inconvenience it was to Hugo.

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A few hours later, we finally boarded the flight. After take off, I brought Oskar out for a moment and was quickly reprimanded. Back in the bag he went and he began to cry. We already had figured out it calmed him when he was in with Hugo, so of course, we tried it again. And then the crazy came out of Hugo, and continued for the rest of the flight. He fought the bag, cried and yelled, only pausing when one of our hands pet him. When we made it to Frankfurt, the cats had been in their bags for a full 20 hours by the time we arrived to the empty apartment. Imagine what happened once we let them out in the apartment where there was no place to hide… they ran back in their bags!

Despite the food wars, the scratched up couch, and concerns for cat care when we are traveling, we do love these guys a lot!

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