Thursday, March 10, 2011


Today on Bloggers + Cats we have Brak and Alfred, who live with super lovely Laetitia, AKA Mademoiselle Robot. Laetitia is another founding member of the crazy lady cat club, which basically involves everything you'd expect: secret handshakes, clandestine meetings and conventions and an entire code language which cats can understand. I have yet to meet these two plucky felines, but I predict a lot of cat visits in my future and I need to know more about Brak's rubber fixation.

Merci, Laetitia!

The basics: What breed are they, how old, how did you come to live with them, why did you call them Brak and Alfred?

Brak and Alfred are both moggies. They are also both black and white with socks. They are both going to be 5 years old in 2011. Brak in May and Alfred in September.

Once I settled down a little in London, I longed to have pets again. I had briefly had a puppy but my former (mental) flatmate made me give him away so I was petless for a long time... Until one day I decided it was time to get a furry companion again. I spent days and days looking on Gumtree for kittens, or even young adult cats. I had even picked one I thought was the one when I came across a picture of a really sad looking little kitten. Being a bit of a Mother Teresa for any animal that looks like it may need help, I decided I had to have him.

The ad said they had to get rid of the kitten because he gave eczema to their son. When I arrived at their house in Brockley, [Ed note: cough, generally a very nice place full of very nice animal loving people] the poor kitten was on the window sill, looking forlorn. All his white bits were yellow. It turns out the house was full of all types of animals: iguanas, monkeys, cats, dogs and it was extremely dirty. I took the kitten away with me and decided he would live the life of a Prince from then on. I called him Brak because I used to be obsessed with this cartoon called Brak where said Brak is a space-cat with a really stupid voice.

In October 2006, I moved in with Justin and since he had never had a pet and never really saw Brak as a kitten, we would get him a cat of his own. So off on Gumtree we went and we found kittens advertised. No description, no photo. We just went. This time, the house belonged to a gipsy family, complete with vans in the backyard. The cats were looked after really well though and we got to meet Alfred's mum and dad. He was definitely the runt of the litter and the last one left... He looked a bit like a gremlin and made a noise that can only be described as what comes out of the mouth of the Mother Alien in Alien. He looked so pissed off, the name came to us in the car "Angry Alfred" - Alfred for short.

How would you describe their personalities? Are they friends?

Brak is a strange one. He is extremely loving and a little like a dog - he comes when I call him, follows me everywhere (including the toilet). He also has strange fetishes: he is obsessed with latex and rubber. He used to steal marigold gloves from the kitchen and hide them on top of the cabinet. He also always steals rubber bands and eats them. He just has all those weird quirks. He is kinda like the Woody Allen of the feline world I guess. He also purrs like a bitch and drools a lot. He recently started this new thing where he is super protective of me so whenever Alfred gets near me, he growls. Oh yeah: for a while, he used to try and have sex with Alfred. No big deal really. Oh one last thing: Brak self harms because of his food allergies, so he has to spend his whole life taking steroids. So you know, if you see him, make sure you ask him if he's been working out.

Alfred is also fairly strange but more cat-like. He is shy, disappears during the day. He used to be a pretty rubbish cat, but he has grown into his personality (and his looks, thank goodness) and now he is a great pet. He loves to cuddle and he is very patient with Mini Robot, which is good. There isn't as much to say about Alfred as he is way more normal than Brak really! Oh. Yeah. He has a particularly stinky pooper and he is particularly skillful when it comes to stealing from the bin. He is often found with only his back legs sticking out of the bin.

They are friends most of the time, but they also have those massive rows sometimes, mostly for no reason at all.

What are their respective favourite foods?

Brak has to eat wet food because of his allergies and also urinary tract problems. Alfred eats anything, he is like a cockroach. They both love the strangest things though, like broccoli or olives. Go figure.

Do Brak and Alfred have preferred lounging locations? Any signature poses?

Alfred is like a little old man. If by 9pm there are people sitting on the sofa (his bed), he will do everything he can to kick them out so he can go to sleep. His signature pose is "upside down shrimp" or "russian hat". Brak likes to sleep on bags. Especially laptop bags. His signature poses are "amputee cat", "shrimp" and "loaf". He also gives a good "russian hat".

What is a day in the lives of Brak and Alfred like?

They generally start the day by assaulting us in the bed for food around 6am. They use all the known cat techniques: wet nose, loud purr, meows, jumping, fighting. Then they eat and sleep for a while. Brak will often sleep next to me while I am working while Alfred disappears under the bed for hours at a time. They come alive again around 6pm for food.

When we get into bed to watch a movie, TV or to read, one of them comes in the bed for cuddles. Some nights we have both, but Brak always goes with me and Alfred with Justin. They generally don't sleep with us though. Alfred goes to sleep on the sofa after he's had enough cuddles and Brak... god knows where Brak goes. Most probably he perches on the edge of the bathroom sink and loafs there all night.

Do you have any amusing/weird/cute Brak/Alfred moments or stories you'd like to share?

All Brak stories are weird. I can tell you about that one time we ended up with three cats though... Just after we first moved into our flat, we had some work done so the cats had to be kept in our bedroom all the time. We had told the builders to be extremely careful not to let them escape etc. One day, Justin came back home to a very sheepish builder who told him one of our cats had escaped but that he had caught him and put him back in the room. Justin went to check on them and found not 2, but 3 cats in the room. The builder had obviously seen some random neighbour cat and thought it was one of ours. Ever since that day though, Brak looks outside the window longingly whenever this other cat is around. I think he loves her.

Another funny story - again because of the building work, Justin had to take the cats to his parents house for the day. He put them in the large bathroom so they wouldn't go mental and damage the house. The bathroom has no other exit, the window was shut and he shut the door behind him. When he got back an hour later, Brak was still there but Alfred had vanished. Justin looked everywhere in the house, in the garden, EVERYWHERE. But Alfred had vanished. Turns out the little shit had managed to squeeze himself under the plastic casing of the bathtub and was hiding there.

Quickfire round:

Birds or mice?

Flies and lasers. They are both house cats so they can't get anywhere near mice and birds. I suspect they'd be fairly good hunters though.

Sunlight or radiator?

Both. Although given the weather in London, probably more radiator.

Tap or bowl?

Bowl. And occasionally tap for Brak, but mostly to watch water run and try and catch the bubbles rather than drinking.

Lap or laptop?

Laptop bag for Brak.
Neither for Alfred.

Snuggling or stretching?

Both for both.

Cats or humans?

Humans, most definitely.

{All photos: Mademoiselle Robot}


Anonymous said...

I wonder when you'll receive an offer for a tv series.
I'd certainly watch it.

elle :: diana mini love said...

Oh wow, what a lovely pair! The story of picking up little Brak from his previous owner nearly made me cry at my desk. I'm so glad he has such a lovely life with you.

Thanks so much Laetitia and Claire for this fantastic little interview.

I'm a fully paid up member of the crazy cat lady club. We should have badges or something.

Love from Elle (and Lula) x

anabela / fieldguided said...

Aw, these cats are hilarious and so sweet! I loved this interview!

If Jane said...

oh cuties...

Kazuko said...

i've got your blog on my daily blogroll, but every thursday (or friday) it is the first thing in the morning that i check! xo

hila said...

I can't tell you how much I love this bloggers + cats series - even my kitty approves :)

Claire * Lola Is Beauty said...

Thank you, lovelies! x

la femme said...

Super adorable. The tv series thing is a good idea...