Ada Abroad: Living and Working in Germany

An online journal recording two years spent as a Fulbright/Pedagogical Exchange Service Teaching Assistant at secondary schools in Germany. (2003-2004 I was in a village near Bautzen; 2004-2005 I will be in Nordrhein-Westfalen.)

Location: Münster, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

I'm an American living in Germany, working as a foreign language assistant at a secondary school. Future plans: getting my Ph.D. (probably in Germanic Linguistics), becoming a professor, living an ethical and meaningful life.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

More Proof that Germans are Crazy

I tutor the principal of a neighboring school in English for an hour and a half once a week. It´s fun, and it´s a good way to earn a little extra money.

While I was over at her house yesterday I noticed a furry seat-cover on one of the stools in her kitchen. 'What kind of animal was that?' I asked.

'House cat,' she replied.

'Did you say house cat?' I asked, not sure if I heard correctly.

She nodded. 'I had a problem with my kidneys when I was younger, so my mother bought this for me. It was supposed to help.'

She said this matter-of-factly, as if it explained everything. After all, everyone knows that the skin of a dead cat is good for kidney trouble, right?!?

The importation of cat and dog fur into the United States of America is strictly forbidden. It actually says so on the Customs forms. (Animal cruelty, you know.)

But that didn´t stop another German-speaking European I know, a certain professor who my friend Kim and I refer to as 'crazy Swiss,' from bringing a coat with a collar trimmed with-- you guessed it-- house cat. The cat belonged to her mother.

Do these people also stuff and mount their deceased relatives??? And what is the connection between cat fur and kidneys??? Can anybody explain this for me, please?!?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Adrienne:

I don't have a clue as to the connection between house cats and healthy kidneys. However, if you are interested there is still a frozen gut pile or two for the taking.


12:10 AM  
Blogger christina said...

awww...that's sad! and gross.

12:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


She loved Fee Fee to death.


6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

House cat is also supposed to be good for certain back (?) problems--don't know why, but it's supposed to warm you in a certain way or whatever...
Anyway, I don't consider it gross or anything: I don't think it'd be her own cat. And even if it was: Should a farmer not use his own cows' hide? (And my grandfather can tell a story about his parents keeping the "fur" of a pet antelope after it was accidentally killed--he loved to touch it to remember the animal...)

3:02 PM  
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2:08 PM  
Anonymous peter said...

I guess this principal was a little older... yes, there is this strange superstition that cat fur is good against back/kidney problems but usually only elderly ladies belief in that bogus.

But apart from that: I know you are a vegetarian, yet logically I don't see a difference between any fur - it is not that cats are any more valuable as living beings than any other. Like cattle, ermine, or chinchilla. Though I am sure that you too condemn the use of their fur, there is no reason to be particularly offended by cat fur. Just be offended equally.

6:25 PM  

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