Bizerte: Ou est le Chat?

Stephen & Anne
Sun 19 Jul 2009 19:22

37.16.422N 9.52.817E


This blog explains why we had to learn “ou est le chat?” in French at school.


The boat opposite has obviously been abandoned and a cat with a kitten has taken up residence. The mother cat has been doing a great job of bringing up her kitten. Just recently the kitten has been allowed off the boat and onto the pontoon. It is quite a tricky maneuver at times as the abandoned boat is quite a way off the pontoon so the only way off is onto the boat next door and then onto the pontoon. As boats have been moving recently the jump is quite large.


Starting early morning, and all through the day, we kept hearing the kitten meowing nearby. Mother cat was also trying to find her kitten. Unfortunately she wouldn’t look if anyone was on or near the pontoon, similarly the kittens meows stopped if anyone was around. 


Late in the afternoon Anne spotted mother cat on the pontoon scratching at the boards. We worked out she had found her kitten and went to investigate. The kitten was under the boards on one of the pontoon floats; we think he must have fallen in the sea and had managed to claw his way out. Of course when you need to lift a pontoon board up they are well secured with rivets so there was no way to pull a board up to release the kitten. We tried putting our large bucket under the pontoon with food in it, hoping the kitten would jump in to eat.


While we were working on the rescue a marinero came along and decided the best way to get the kitten out was to scare it so it jumped in the water. So with a short piece of wood he started moving the kitten to the end of the float. The kitten jumped into the water and then was plucked out of the water with our “Cat overboard” net. The tiny wet kitten was then placed back on the abandoned boat. We threw some food onto the boat for them and after a short while both mum and kitten were seen eating the food.


Saturday morning Anne was woken up by the familiar meowing of the kitten in trouble. He had decided to use up another life. We were joined by some local Tunisians who dived in the water hoping to pull the kitten out from under the pontoon. Obviously the little kitten was not going to play this game. They looked at the rivets holding the board down and decided a hammer and chisel would soon remove them and hence a plank of wood was removed. However kitten was well and truly hidden. We left the plank up all and went away, hoping the quiet would entice the kitten out of his “life raft”. The Italian couple found him later as he came out and they put him back on the abandoned boat. Hopefully mum will ground the kitten for a while.


Whenever we meet any marineros they ask us “ou est le chat”? Unfortunately our French teachers at school didn’t teach us to say “under the pontoon”. A serious misgiving in the UK education system we feel.