Montag, 11. März 2013

THE TRIPLE ZINGO OR WHAT A SWEDISH SOFTDRINK HAS TO DO WITH A BOXING CHAMPION AND OUR CAT


Who is that? There can be only one! 
(Note: This is the first ever post in English on my blog, für die deutsche Version bitte hier klicken!)

In order to explain the headline I need to backtrack a little: As you perhaps already have deducted, J. and I have a feline room mate. When we decided to get ourselves a cat, we quickly agreed upon that it should be a grown up one that was in need of a new home for one reason or another. Kittens usually find a home quickly. Grown up cats don’t. So I dug into the classified ads site blocket.se and stumbled upon a tomcat that had to be given away because of “health reasons”.

He lived not far from our place, but since my car was in the workshop to be restored after having been run over by a (probably blind and mentally challenged) Swedish garbage truck driver, we jumped on our bicycles and pedaled away to the Helsingborg suburb Laröd a few kilometers to the north. And we were in for a surprise. I always had a weak spot for big and round tomcats, but I was entirely unprepared for something on this scale. Neither I nor J. had ever seen such a large housecat. He was unbelievably long (around 90 cm) and his Body Mass Index must be on par with Oliver Hardy's. In addition to that he possessed what, in relation to his massive body, could only be described as an almost grotesquely thin and pathetically short tail. But he purred with a loudness and intensity that I would have assumed only a lion could achieve – and so he immediately won our hearts. (J. recently “employed” him for the recordings of his band’s upcoming album and made an absolutely unbelievable sound from the purring: you can read more about that here, including photographic evidence. To listen to the sound click HERE. Talented fan Marina even dedicated a very special band picture to Zingo afterwards)

The rare chameleon cat blends in perfectly
with the furniture
The elderly couple had only had the cat, which was about six years old at the time, for a couple of months. Exactly why his first owners gave him away was not quite clear, but we gathered that he’d been bullied by a couple of other cats. His current owners used to have a dog which died. The old woman suffered from cancer and she couldn’t care for a new dog while her husband was away on one of his frequent business trips, so they decided to get her a cat to keep her company. They reasoned that cats can take care of themselves and they come and go as they like. But then they worried that he would be left alone too much as she had to spend increasing amounts of time in the hospital.

J. and I were immediately sure that that was only part of the truth. They were both “dog people” and while they clearly liked the cat in a way, you could easily see that there was a distance between him and the people he lived with. We agreed almost instantly: the purring machine comes with us. The thought that he would end up in a cat shelter - where, due to his size and age, he would probably have a very hard time to get picked up - was unbearable to me. However, his current hosts worriedly asked: “But, he can keep the name ‘Zingo’, right?” and we nodded in affirmation. Of course we had no plans to rename him and anyway he knew his name perfectly well. You wouldn’t suddenly re-christen a six year old kid that you adopted, would you?

Shortly thereafter I happened to read Håkan Nesser’s book “Och Piccadilly Circus ligger inte I Kumla” (And Piccadilly Circus is not in Kumla) and there is a scene where the protagonist Mauritz stops at a kiosk to buy a couple of cigarettes and a Zingo. That he purchased a fat ginger cat in a kiosk, I found unlikely to say the very least, so I decided to research the matter and found this out: Zingo is actually a Swedish soda that’s been around since the ‘50s. The main idea of its taste is to resemble oranges, a property mostly conveyed by its intense orange colour (which of course leaves you in no doubt why Zingo is called Zingo…). Since then I have found out that Zingo doesn’t just look great, it tastes fantastic as well – the soda, obviously, not the cat. He just looks great.

The irony of the tale is that Zingo, the soda, was actually renamed. Originally it was called “Ingo”, after the Swedish heavyweight boxing world champion Ingemar "Ingo" "The Champ" Johansson. But since he screwed up and lost his title in 1960 they renamed the drink “Zingo” in 1962. Even more ironically Ingo became the European champion that same year, but the “Z” was there to stay. I ask myself what the good Ingo thought about getting dropped like a hot potato. Had he been a housecat he would probably have been dumped at the cat shelter.

However, our fat boy would never be renamed nor would he get abandoned, because he’s a real champion. As a boxer he would probably be a complete and utter failure – his fighting instinct is virtually non-existent – but when it comes to purring he’s second to none. He’s also incredibly empathic. When we’re feeling down or sick, he immediately senses that and stays real close. That’s something I have treasured greatly as of late.

By the way, another example of an unusual and empathic cat is the wonderful tomcat Bob here. The story revolves around a lonely stray cat and an equally lonely street musician who’s struggling with his drug addiction. How they strike up a close friendship and help each other and get back up on their feet/paws is one of the most heartwarming books I’ve read in years (together with Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down). My sincerest recommendations!

Translation from German to English: Joakim Montelius

Kommentare :

  1. Aw. Such a sweet story. As soon as I get back on my feet/back in my apt/on better terms with the management, I plan on rescuing an orange boy in honor of my Sunny. I usually don't change the names they come with, unless they are totally stupid, like my kitten Razzle was named Sarah and it was a boy!

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    1. Thank you, Mari! I hope things develop well for you and the sweeties and keep my fingers crossed for the future. A Boy Named Sarah – that sounds like a song by Johnny Cash. Well, almost. ;) Razzle is a lovely name for a tomcat.

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    2. Razzle was one of 5 kittens I got when they were only 3 weeks old and "apparently healthy," but not. :( I named them after the members of Hanoi Rocks: Razzle, Makke (Mike Monroe), Anti (Andy McCoy), Sami (Sami Yaffa) and Jan (Nasty Suicide)... ironically, Razzle is the only one that survived and in reality, he's the band member that died! Razzle spent a whole month at the vet and I got him back when he was 9 weeks old! The vet said the others must have had some sort of genetic defect. They just didn't thrive. :( Razzle was adopted by a couple who returned him 10 hrs later saying he was too energetic! When they were returning him, someone else saw him and wanted to adopt him, so it all worked out! This one is Razzle: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150900083472737&set=a.10150734905052737.413975.546497736&type=3&theater

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    3. Razzle was one of 5 kittens I got when they were only 3 weeks old and "apparently healthy," but not. :( I named them after the members of Hanoi Rocks: Razzle, Makke (Mike Monroe), Anti (Andy McCoy), Sami (Sami Yaffa) and Jan (Nasty Suicide)... ironically, Razzle is the only one that survived and in reality, he's the band member that died! Razzle spent a whole month at the vet and I got him back when he was 9 weeks old! The vet said the others must have had some sort of genetic defect. They just didn't thrive. :( Razzle was adopted by a couple who returned him 10 hrs later saying he was too energetic! When they were returning him, someone else saw him and wanted to adopt him, so it all worked out! This one is Razzle: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150900083472737&set=a.10150734905052737.413975.546497736&type=3&theater

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    4. What a sweet little boy (even though I basically never saw a cat which I did not find just wonderful) and so good it worked out in the end! Maybe it was better this way, a couple who wants a cat which is not too energetic should just go for a grown-up neutered one, there are enough of those searching for a home as well. By the way, I just adore what you are doing for all those sweeties!

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  2. Lovely blog post Stella and Zingo is gorgeous. Ginger Toms are SO full of character, so sounds like a perfect name. It's good that you adopted an older cat, as they can have more trouble finding a new family (and as my husband pointed out when we adopted our cat, kittens are much more likely to crawl up and swing from the curtains!).

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    1. Thank you so much, Emma. I actually think that all cats are full of character. My beloved sweeties Grobi and Krümel are tuxedos. They are still with my ex – could not take them with me, when I left and originally planned to get them asap, but I did not find a fitting place for a long time and now they are happy and used to him and his lovely new girlfriend and vice versa, so even we hadn't Zingo with us it would be cruel to go and get them. And we are very happy with him! He is a wonderful and strangely "uncatty" cat.

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  3. What a great story...I almost had to cry! And what a sweet cat!

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    1. Thank you so much, Frau Haselmayer! :) I wanted to check out your blog in return, but is it correct that it is not visible?

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