I read the reports of the death of 85-year-old Karl Lagerfeld (1933-2019) who was one of the Western World’s most famous fashion designers. Lagerfeld had his own design company and designed for Chanel and Fendi. Although I had never heard of him until he died as my clothes designer is Levi Strauss, apparently a lot of people had heard of him as he left a fortune worth between 200 and 300 million dollars.
Lagerfeld never married and had no children. He did have a cat named Choupette (sweetheart). Lagerfeld was German but lived and worked in Paris most of his adult life. Although cats are fairly well challenged when it comes to understanding the benefits of being a beneficiary, Lagerfeld was able to execute a will and create a trust that directed Choupette’s ashes (when she dies) shall be buried with Lagerfeld’s. Such a beau geste probably will mean little to Choupette but the life-long pampered care set up by the trust surely will mean quite a bit.
As Lagerfeld had no family survive him who could care for Choupette it appears to me to have been the responsible thing to provide for the cat after the designer shuffled off this mortal coil. Whether a lifestyle of the rich and famous is morally defensible for a cat when there are so many surly French waiters demanding exorbitant gratuities is another matter. I thought the French were still somewhat miffed about Germans and that World War II thing. I wonder what the Parisians will think about a German lavishing money on a Burmese cat. Perhaps some of Choupette’s inheritance will be needed for a round-the-clock security detail.
When Peg and I consider providing for our cat, Phantom, we usually discuss how concerned Phantom would be if he was asked to provide long-term care for us. I do not know about your relationships with your pets, Gentle Reader, but if any of us seriously believe our cats would lose even one cat nap over our welfare then a Brooklyn Bridge sale is a real possibility.
Phantom views us as about as worthwhile as North Korea’s Kim Jong-un does his half-brother and uncle. As some wag has already said, to cats we humans are merely staff. Phantom will occasionally not bite or scratch us if we keep his food dish filled and do not disturb him when he is snoring.
Oh, the difference between cats and dogs. Dogs curry our favor; cats desire our absence. Dogs only bite strangers; cats seek every opportunity to sharpen their claws on our hands. Dogs come when called; cats pretend to be deaf. Dogs run into burning buildings or icy ponds to save us; cats observe our distress much as our high school English teachers did when asking us to explain Shakespeare.
Perhaps you think I am being overly critical of cats or perhaps you sense some envy of Choupette’s life of millionaire ease. Perhaps you can address these issues with your cat. Well, perhaps you can if your cat can be convinced to acknowledge your existence. Phantom will not ours.