by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
When we brought Aragon home in her SPCA cat box, she had a lot to say. Henry looked at me with eyes like saucers – did you HEAR that? We took the box into the garden, out hopped Catherine of Aragon, swore at Henry – get the f%$% out of my garden! I explained, this is Henry's garden. Henry was a gentle, kind soul.
All of our cats have been rescued animals. So sad that as a society we ask, those who work at animal shelters, to put down healthy animals! Pickwick and Aragon came from the SPCA, Sparkles was fostered, while Henry and Chocolat knocked at the door – I heard you were looking for a cat??
She has a little white patch on her front leg, where God was holding her still while he painted her striped coat. Henry could never understand whiskers. He was always saying to Aragon - hold still, while I chew off that loose thread. She came with spectacular sets of whiskers, like false eye lashes. Two sets, the upper ones black, and the lower ones white.
Henry served Aragon till he faded, when skin cancer devoured him from the white nose. White ears and nose don’t mix with sun. Aragon used to fish in the pond, then come in, and raise her paw imperiously to Henry – wash me! I smell of POND! Half an hour later she would go to him again.
Just after we got her, she snuck up on the Ungardener, who was dozing. She patted him very gently on his bald pink head, and he shot up like a rocket, while Aragon and I giggled. She used to come into the kitchen, and nibble the back of our ankles, when she was hungry, feed me! Now she is much more refined, backs up to the cupboard and shimmies her tail hopefully – dinner? When she wants a cuddle, she raises one of her front paws, and stands on three legs.
I explained to Chocolat, that we don’t knock little old ladies over. But she gets her own back. He was sitting in the garden, lost in thought. She was on the bridge, hidden behind a clump of grass. So she snuck out, dashed past, and HIT him. He went whooshing up and came crunching down on the gravel. I have to muffle my laughter, because cats don’t like to be laughed at.
|Aragon remembering the boomslang in Camps Bay|
Collage using BeFunky
In the Camps Bay garden, after wildfire on the mountain twice we had boomslang (tree snakes) in the garden. Beautiful animals, glowing lime green and lemon yellow. I remember Aragon produced a very strange and distinctive meow, “Snake! Snake!” She was not in danger, but she was warning us.
While she is waiting for 'her' cushion, as the first rays of sun hit the verandah, there our cats are. Aragon in her elegant cashmere coat feels the cold, and keeps her old bones off the cold stone tiles, sitting on the cabin trunk that travelled from Dannevirke in New Zealand with my father. Chocolat is younger with a thick sheepskin coat, and unconcerned by cold feet.
Late on a winter afternoon, Aragon and Chocolat, eyes nearly closed. 'The smile on the face of a tiger'. Soak up the last warmth of the setting sun.
|Aragon in October 2006|
In 2016 when she was 19 years old, Aragon crossed over the rainbow bridge.
Pictures by Diana and Jurg Studer
of Elephant's Eye on False Bay
(If you mouse over teal blue text, it turns seaweed red.
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