Cats – loyalty and pride  by Tove Stoeckel/Dove River

May I tell you a story about a cat’s amazing journey?

A black and white cat needed a home and knocked at my door.

I gave him the name Svarte-Per even though he proved to be of the feminine kind.

Where she came from nobody knew.

I lived close to San Francisco and life was good to cat and Mom.

It’s a myth that cats belong to houses, not to people.

After a few years I moved to Los Angeles where I I worked as an actress, mostly making commercials.

I felt miserable leaving Svarte-Per behind but as I was later going back to Norway where there then was a quarantine of 6 months I was certain she would be better off staying with friends in the same cottage as before.

But when I came to visit staying nearby with people who had two vicious dogs, she refused moving away from me.

What to do? I had put an ad in the movie magazine Variety saying I was available as a house-sitter and received a response from Henry Fonda. The job was mostly caring for his cat and to live in a beautiful house while he and his wife were away

So what about Svarte-Per? I pleaded my case as best I knew; could I please bring another cat into the house?

Henry Fonda,  a sweet and kind man, agreed that if  I made certain that the two cats stayed in separate rooms it could be arranged.  Svarte-Per arrived and my time was shared between the two cats. Peace was restored.

As it turned out, making national TV commercials was a lucrative business and made me able to rent a beach-pad in Malibu which was fine with Svarte-Per; he quite liked sand. Life was good  – until Mom one day was cheeky enough to save a lost dog bringing him inside! Svarte-Per was put in the bathroom for half a day!

The dog had been stolen and the owners who lived quite far away were overjoyed to have their dog returned. But… Svarte-Per’s pride was badly damage.

She left and didn’t return!

Luckily a friend who lived much further up the beach saw Svarte -Per and carried her home. Svarte-Per proceeded climbing a high bookshelf and settled on the very top shelf. Only when hunger or thirst overcame her did she come down – just to hurry straight up again. No communication.

After three weeks spent on the bookshelf I had to take the chance of opening the doors again.

She aimed for the door and disappeared. Yet I somehow got the impression that she didn’t quite remember why she was so terribly mad.

The battle was won. She came back!

Another problem came about as I was about going home to Norway.  No way would I put Svarte-Per in six months quarantine!

I had her examined and given the necessary vaccinations – and made a rather doubtful plan.

I had been given a small part in the movie “Dollars” ( with Goldie Hawn and Warren Beatty) and it was to be shot in in Hamburg. But first I had to meet the director for his approval, hence the doubtful plan.

In Germany there were no laws against animals entering the country when all the necessary papers were filled out…

Svarte-Per and I were going to Hamburg! From there on she would have to be smuggled on to Norway. Sleeping pills to keep her quiet (which never worked) were bought.

 Goldie Hawn was sweet and Warren Beatty was, as expected, very charming.

The real challenge came about smuggling her through the transit hall in Denmark to get her onboard the plane to Norway without being discovered.  Sleeping pills were given yet she never stopped protesting the indignity of it all.

My clever plan included choosing a flight which stopped on several smaller airports as I thought she could easier pass through the pass-control that way.

In Kristiansand all passengers had to leave the plane to let a customer inspector look through the plane.

The sleeping pills never worked – until then. Miracle upon miracle… Finally she collapsed and slept, well hidden in the bag that I had to leave in the plane with the inspector when leaving the plane.

Some petrified thirty minutes followed; until I saw the inspector leaving the plane. He was smiling.

In Bergen the plane was changed for another plane going to Oslo. Safe sailing, we were safe… I thought.

I had made holes in the bag for breathing purposes – and all of a sudden she was standing in the middle of the aisle; she had bitten her way out!

But we had entered Norway and she was just put into another bag. We were home.

 In Norway Mom did another cruel thing; she had a baby daughter.

Svarte-Per refused to look at the new family member, the baby was ignored to the degree that Svarte-Per left the room where ever she was present.

Again it took three weeks for Svarte-Per to realize the folly of her sentiments. One day as my daughter was laying on a carpet on the floor she resolutely went up to her and licked her!

Svarte-Per was now a Mom too, feeling the burden of responsibility. She followed her baby when baby was playing with other children; waited for baby where ever she was to bring her safely home. She was a good Mom.

Divorce is never easy. Svarte-Per was left in Norway with ex-hubby when my daughter and I moved to London.

She died shortly after. But when a clairvoyant friend of mine was visiting she said: Who is the black and white cat that just came in from the balcony?

Svarte-Per will never leave me nor I she. I’m writing this with tears running. I love her.

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