|Who is that? There can be only one!|
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
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