We never hear from the French about their cats. Why is that? France is a black hole for stories about the domestic cat. Yet, the French do have cat companions. They must have¹. Do we ever see them? Do we see feral cats in Paris? No. We might see the odd cat on a leash². S’il vous plait, talk to me about votre chat Français.
Peut-étre (perhaps) the French just don’t like speaking English. Or writing English. Or anything to do with the English language because Français est meilleur, n’est pas? (French is better, isn’t it?).
And the language of the internet is pretty much English or Chinese….As the Chinese are not known for their domestic cats I have to say that English is the language of cats. Particularly so as Americans speak English or a slightly different version of it.
Why do I have an interest in the French chat (cat) today? Well, the winning entry, the Palme d’Or, at the world’s first ever Internet Cat Video Film Festival was “Henri 2: Paw de Deux”. The festival took place at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, USA.
The star of the video is the philosophical tuxedo (black and white) cat, Henri, who thinks in French. He is a bit introverted but very intelligent.
The film maker is Will Braden, an American. Henri is also American. And Will does not speak French. But his mum does. I guess they wrote the script together. I had thought that Will Braden was Canadian because his accent is like an American speaking French – which it is. And Will does a great job with his script and the accent is perfect for the video.
The theme of Will’s videos is based on the style of the typical low budget French movie. The French nearly always make “art movies” for themselves. Rarely do they make big budget popular films for the world. Their films are a bit arty and philosophical in style. They must be great companions to their cats because intelligent people like cats. I like French films, by the way, and many are in fact very popular internationally despite being “arty”. There are many very cosy small cinemas in Paris. It is certainly very different to American cinema.
Did you know that Henri (real name “Henry”) does not live with Will Braden? His true human companion is a secret. Henri is a really nice cat and far from a secret.
- There are 9.6 million domestic cats in France, more than the British at 7.7 million at 2007. (source: The Welfare of Cats page 49.).
- I lived in Paris for 2 years in the late 1970s and remember seeing a cat on a leash. Very enlightened. Great to see.