Saturday, 2 January 2016

Joseph, the beginning of a furry scented love affair

 Joseph peeps from the dizzying elevation of the kitchen cupboard

You may have noticed the absence of a Christmas post at Odiferess in 2015. Not even a measly seasonal greeting. I apologise profusely. You see, just before Christmas, my ordinarily calm existence was delightfully disrupted by the arrival of a new and wonderful friend – Joseph Cat. Perfume was far from my thoughts.

Joseph was an inmate at Manchester’s Millstream Animal Shelter, a charity that re-homes pets and provides life long care for the more feral creatures that are unlikely to find a loving human.

Joseph however is dead easy to love. In similarity to the other males I have adored, he's a curious type, a keen adventurer and a tad complicated. He doesn’t particularly like me hanging out with other men, despite those that he’s met so far being either related to me or gay. For the moment, we snooze together in a middle-aged stereotype of cat besotted woman, (plucked) Italian wool blankets and spoilt cat.

The centre of my bed, stolen

My perfume habits have been restricted as I try and get him used to ‘my smell’. At night, I have worn nothing, not even my beloved blends of essential oil remedies that I used to slather over my hands in bed. In the daytime I wear my most cat-like scent. A miniature bottle of Serge Lutens Clair de Musc which has always reminded me the scent of feline fur.  He seems to like it.

Joseph unsurprisingly smells like a cat. A subtle whiff that is barely discernible, given his excellent licking skills and cleanliness bordering on the neurotic. He frequently sleeps next to my face. I gave up trying to keep my pillows cat free about 3 nights in when the joy of being close to this purring pile of affection outweighed the hassle of having to launder my bed linen more frequently. On these wondrous slumbers, I bury my nose into his belly and inhale his smell. The sensation is one of warmth, closest in my memory to the smell of extreme heat on sand and dry stone experienced in the deserts of Oman. A very slight sourness is detectable, not unpleasant, but similar to a trace of fresh human sweat at the point before it stales. Whatever pheromones are contained within Joseph’s fur have an overwhelming effect on me. I’m fiercely in love and feel an urge to protect and nurture him, despite the fact that, as a cat, he won’t love me back with the same unconditional adoration!

Friends in perfume land played a role in influencing me to adopt a pet. Their blogs and Facebook feeds bombarded me with images of beloved companions. Vanessa of Bonkers About Perfume recently adopted the girliest pretty kitten on the internet, Truffle Bonkers

Truffle perfects the calendar kitten pose

Liz of Papillon Artisan Perfumes added to her gargantuan menagerie with the arrival of stud muffin Bengal ‘Baby Boy’ who rapidly impregnated Mimi with a litter of exotically spotted kittens (lucky Mimi).  Jicky, her elder feline sister must surely be feeling envious.

Baby Boy (there are more seductive photos of this handsome boy but I adore his squeezable nose in this shot).

It takes a lot of style to live up to a Guerlain inspired name, Jicky has oodles of it.

Undina’s beautiful ginger Rusty has long graced her perfume photos with a whimsical pose adding a uniquely personal touch to her blog. Cats are not known for looking 'kind' but somehow Rusty looks like a compassionate cat. I adore him. Whilst Gaspard, an elegant and comically spooksome black cat not unlike my own Joseph, resides with the equally elegant Alex, AKA The Silver Fox. Gaspard is king of the wild eyed pounce pose.

Undina's Rusty, perfume PR pussy

Gaspard, peek-a-boo 

Perhaps the most photogenic pets belong to my first and greatest perfume buddy, Saskia. Lubbe and Lano are her much photographed Weimaraners who reside with her in the Netherlands. Some years ago she likened one of them to handsome indie perfumer Kilian Hennessey, I think the likeness is detectable in the cheekbones and lithe figure. 

How to look oddly human, Weimaraner style

Perhaps the most famous pet in perfume land, is the black cat featured in the notorious 1960s adverts for My Sin by Lanvin. They chose to feature a moggy rather than a long limbed Oriental or a pampered Persian, a feline symbol of luxury. Maybe it's because this tough looking black cat represents the dangerous life of the street cat, hinting at the perfume's ability to render it's wearer feral and vicarious?

Thank you to my perfume friends for allowing me to use their fantastically characterful photographs.

If you know anyone in the North of England hoping to adopt a pet, please do consider a visit to Millstream Animal Shelter. They are reliant on donations and the hard work of volunteers to provide a safe space for some very vulnerable animals. 

Coming up at Odiferess this year, I have a stash of posts in planning for your consumption. The first of which will explore the concept of 'wearability' and discuss two scents that are impossible not to love, regardless of your tastes. I look forward my fourth year of getting to know my readers all around the world and I wish you a wonderful 2016 full of love and perfume.

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  1. Dear Sarah, Joseph is just gorgeous (reminds me of my late black cat). I can't quite remember what he smelled like but it was furry and lovely. Well done on getting your cat from a shelter - my personal opinion is that there are too many lovely creatures in those places who need a home rather than paying hundreds of pounds for specially bred pedigrees. But i digress. All of the pictures are beautiful and i look forward to reading more of your posts, whether they be about Joseph or perfume. Kind regards, Patsi

    1. Thank you Patsi.
      The shelter was a real experience. I had decided in advance to adopt an older cat or a pair of kittens being as I live in a small home and work a day job. I announced this to the lady at the shelter whereupon she smiled knowingly and informed me that 'my cat will choose me'. How right she was!
      Joseph is a two year old live wire and it was obvious that he was going to become my cat from the first moment he set those wild eyes on me. Perhaps not the ideal choice practically but we are really happy together!
      Thank you for joining in with the blog and I hope you enjoy your future reads.

    2. PS. Apparently black cats are the hardest to rehome. I wonder if it's superstition that puts people off? I always thought they were so elegant and desirable.

    3. Hi Sarah, i guess it is a combination of superstition and perhaps that some folk prefer a cat with a pattern or two-tone face. Anyhow, it is true that cats choose us but i, like you, do love black cats. Give him a cuddle from his Aunty Patsi. x

    4. Will do Patsi, he's getting getting lots of virtual cuddles tonight! x

  2. So glad I helped nudge you in a cat owning direction. Joseph is clearly bringing you a lot of happiness. Interesting that you would care what perfumes - if any - you wore around Joseph. I have made no concessions whatsoever and Truffle does not seem to be bothered by my many and various scents.

    I do love the smell of her as well but to my nose it just smells of fur really - I can't detect anything specific that I could call her smell, though I would love there to be one. Maybe she will acquire one as she gets older. Or maybe I need to go sniff more cats as it could be more distinctive than I realise!

    1. Hi Vanessa,

      I'm expecting a new bottle of 24 Faubourg in the post tomorrow so Joseph will have to get used to some smells prettily rapidly!
      I wore Vics Vaporub to bed last night (stinking cold) and he hated that. I was duly ignored as he headed down to feet level and sulked a bit.
      Happy new year to you and Truffle. We are very lucky to start a new era with these beautiful friends!

    2. Hope your anti-cold tactics are working! Oh, I just remembered I put that 4Head roll-on thing on my forehead the other night, which is like Oil of Olbas and Truffle tried to lick it all off! She seems to like everything so far...or not mind it, say. I worry about her ingesting serum and night cream and all sorts as she is such an assiduous licker! ;)

  3. Oh, another beautiful perfume cat. How nice. Welcome Joseph. Of my two cats (Heather and Russell) only Heather is mildly interested in perfumes, cremes and make up. She often sits next to me when I apply and so far, has never recoiled at anything.

    1. Hi Sabine, thanks for reading and welcoming Joseph to the perfume community!
      Funnily enough J likes to sit on top of the toilet while I apply my make up in the morning. I'm not sure if he likes the smells or just gets an opportunistic thrill at being able to bat my kit around inside the normally closed cupboard. I suspect it's the latter!
      I'm sending Heather and Russell (brilliant names) a little chin scratch. x

  4. Joseph is a great cat, I'm sure the two of you will be very happy together. The only thing I want to warn you: once he goes into a pubescent age for a while he might stink. But it'll go away. Healthy cats smell great.

    1. Hehe! Will he become pubescent? He has no ball bits poor boy. He certainly has erratic teenager behaviour though... They reckoned he was between 2 to 3 years old at the shelter. I think he might be a bit younger despite being an enormous long legged panther. I'll keep an eye out for funky smells.
      Love to Rusty.