Over Christmas break I started thinking that F and I should get a little kitten so I told myself that when we got back to Geneva I would seriously look into it.
After many Google searches, I found a few pet rescue centers in the area but it seems that they all sell older cats. I hate to sound like an ageist but I was envisioning us getting a small kitten that we could watch grow and that would become more easily accustomed to our lifestyle. Every kitten I’ve ever had – I’ll admit – I treated like a dog (and I mean that in a good way). From a young age, I would cradle them in my arms and flip them on their backs (something cats don’t normally like) so that I could rub their bellies. By the time they were full-grown cats, they would lay down near me, roll onto their backs, and practically ask to have their bellies rubbed. My cats have kept to themselves, as cats like to do, but they’ve also been really cuddly and loving. Something I’m also afraid of is getting an older cat and having it get sick and die in no time. I just had to put down one of my dogs this past year and I’d rather not go through a similar, harrowing experience if I can help it.
Unfortunately for us, it seems that kittens are in high demand in Switzerland. Unlike most other countries where you can find a cat on every street corner, you won’t find any in Switzerland. When you do, they’re usually chubby house cats, as their collars suggest. I remember walking around the park down the street from our apartment and always finding the same fat cat lounging around. One day I saw an old lady bring hers on a leash, which she then took off to let it roam free . There is a certain expectation in Switzerland that cats should be able to roam free (despite the risk of being run over…). Therefore, people who live in apartments without large-enough balconies or a cat door are simply not entrusted to care for a cat, even those that are allegedly ‘indoor’ cats.
Many other cultural differences came up in conversations I followed on expat sites like Glocals.com and English Forum Switzerland, de-clawing being a huge, culture shock issue for the Swiss – someone described it as being equivalent to amputating someone’s fingers at the last knuckle. Gruesome stuff.
Well, if we’re talking about culture shock then I guess I can say that I feel [culturally] shocked at the fact that finding a kitten is so difficult here. Finding a pure bred kitten is not, I’ll admit – but who wants to pay upwards of 1000 CHF for a kitten? I just cannot wrap my head around it.
In the meantime, I’ll have to settle for a more accessible type of [unicorn] kitten:
P.S. After writing this post, F led me to this disturbing article about an alleged Swiss ‘purr trade‘…