Home | Valente and DiRenzo Family History - From Our Correspondent in Geneva (Angelo Abiuso)

A Cat's Lunch in Gambatesa

In the village cats eat spaghetti from nice bowls. They also forecast the weather (see below).

Cats eating spaghetti in Gambatesa, 49 KB

Cats as Weather Forecasters

So yesterday [30 May 2011] I was looking at our cat here in Geneva [Titscia is from Gambatesa; all cats in Gambatesa are named "Titscia" or "Titscio"], and she started to clean her head. And you know they have a special way to clean their head: they lick their paw, and they just clean right behind the ears of the back of the head, going to the front of the head, and cleaning the ears. It's a special motion they do: they clean their head this way, from the back over the ears, between the two ears. And my mother told me a long time ago, some years ago she said, Ah, in Gambatesa they said that the cat is doing its hair dressing (when you take a brush and brush your hair), and when the cat starts combing its hair, it means that its going to rain. And this is what my great-grandfather Luca Valente used to say: Look at the cat: when he dresses his hair, it means that rain will come.

And so yesterday I was looking at the cat and she did it, and I looked at the sky; the sky was blue, clear, no clouds. And this morning I looked at the sky, a little bit cloudy, and I said, Oh well the cat must be wrong, and I didn't take a jacket when going to the city, to the school. And when I came back tonight, just a few minutes ago, it was raining. And so once again -- since a couple of months we are carefully looking at the cat, and I would say more or less it always works. Twenty-four hours after, it works; it rains. And so this my mother told me was a way in the countryside for the Valente Farm to make weather forecasts. Looking at the cat you can know -- you can guess if it's going to rain or not.

[But it doesn't rain in southern Italy in the summer; so don't the cats clean themselves all summer?] Maybe not the head, and not this way. But from time to time there are showers during the summer.

But I can tell you I'm observing my cat, and it works. It's really something, and why I told you is because I went to the city with my bicycle and came under the rain, but the rain stopped because it was just a shower. And I said, Ok I have to call Robert and to tell him. My mother told me a couple of years ago, and I said, Well I don't know; it's stupid stuff from Gambatesa. Slowly I am realizing that it really works. It happened the same the last time we had rain here in Geneva, because now since springtime we don't have much rain. And so I could really [test this hypothesis], because usually we don't have exactly the same weather here as opposed to being in Scotland or in Ireland where you have more or less rain everyday. But since springtime now it's really only raining from time to time. And I think it's the second or the third time that looking at the cat I can say, Ah well the weather is going to change. For the moment it works.

So that's all for the Titscia doing weather forecasts.

Cats eating spaghetti in Gambatesa, 47 KB

Photographs by Angelo Abiuso, August-July 2010 at 13:50 hrs.

Related Page: A Cat's Life in Gambatesa, about how the cats live in the village and about why they were important to the farmers.

[Vittoria Valente remembers that her mother Nunziata used to give the cats spaghetti to eat. When was that? "A long time ago, when we used to have cats", that is, when the family lived on Berkley Street in Camden, in the 1920s and 30s.]

The URL of this Web page: https://www.roangelo.net/valente/ilpranzo.html
Last revised: 1 June 2011 : 2011-06-01 by Robert [Wesley] Angelo.

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