Gonzaga Dei Diamanti di Luna arrived in a specially designed backpack on the back of his proud Italian owners.Nervous at first, he walks slowly on the tips of his paws, his neck stretched tall as a giraffes, peering over treetops on the lookout for danger. Soon though Gonzaga is comfortably exploring his surroundings and his humans, Ezio and Danielle get ready to take their leave. Gonzaga dutifully hops back into his backpack and stares up at them expectantly, for Gonzaga is a travelling cat. At Just over a year old he has already travelled extensively around Britain, visited the Dolomite mountains and the beaches of Italy.
Alone for the first time, Gonzaga a classic Siamese with piercing blue eyes, looks at me with a mixture of curiosity and suspicion. He circles the room initially taking care to avoid me, but getting closer on each round until eventually he arches his back and brushes against my leg. I give him a stroke and he looks up at me and blinks, eyes narrowing to a slit of approval he lets out a gentle purr. He is soon tired after the mornings excitement and settling on the sofa opposite me, his eyes locked on mine, he gradually drifts into sleep. On the other side of the room I drift off too, lulled into sleep by Gonzaga’s hypnotic stare. A few minutes later I am roused by a soft paw gently tapping my face. It's playtime. For a while I throw a rubber ball and he bounds enthusiastically after it but he is soon distracted and disappears face first into the cat cave. He emerges with a catnip fish between his teeth and collapses onto his back holding it to his nose, and rolling back and forth. Abandoning the fish he hops into the next room where he first meets his nemesis. The yellow, fluffy, toy bird is hanging by elastic from the doorframe. Gonzaga leaps up and bouncing into the air, bats the toy bird with an open paw, catching it in his mouth before landing and walking away, satisfied with it clenched firmly between his teeth. The elastic is still attached to the door frame and soon springs back and pulls the little yellow bird, suddenly resurrected out of Gonzaga’s mouth. The bird bobs silently in the doorway while a surprised Gonzaga watches from below.
Just then the door bell rings and for an instant Gonzaga freezes. He arrives at the front door in two bounds and growls. It's an old friend and Gonzaga is overjoyed to meet her, rubbing against her legs in a figure of 8 as soon as she sits down..
It's been a long day for Gonzaga and he eventually follows me to bed, curling up by my legs and quickly falling fast asleep.
I wake to a mournful cry and find him sitting by the front door. I collect him in my arms, a warm bundle of fur and tell him not to worry, his humans will be back soon. But he is up and down for the rest of the night scratching the front door and crying out throaty meows.
Neither of us get much sleep that night but as the morning breaks I wake to find Gonzaga sitting on my back ready for breakfast. I follow him into the front room and he weaves his way around my legs tripping me up as I go. I notice a trail of soft fluff and feathers that lead to the legs of the coffee table. Yellow bird has been pulled, together with the elastic off of his perch and tied to the legs of the coffee table. The elastic is wrapped around bird dozens of times and one of his toy eyes is missing. He has lost all his feathers with one side is completely bald.
The remaining plastic eye stares optimistically in the direction of Gonzaga and I, and unable to resist Gonzaga crouches down, focuses, wiggles his bum and pounces, catching bird in his teeth, pulling him as far as he can go on the elastic and letting it bounce back ricocheting off the legs of the coffee table, while a frenzied Gonzaga chases it around.
The next night and the following nights Gonzaga sleeps well, curling up by the side of my body, or sharing my pillow and gently pawing me awake in the morning.
His days are spent leaping after yellow bird who is constantly being repaired and returned to the doorframe, people watching on the balcony, trying to trip me up, tearing around the flat at great speed or snoozing on the bed.
When Gonzaga’s humans arrive to collect him he approaches them cautiously and sniffs their outstretched hands. Happy, his tail curls with excitement as he hops into his back pack and looks up at them as if to say ‘Where to next…’