My Shih Tzu of sainted memory was a fusspot. To be fair to Mr. Tang, aka, Tang Dog, Mr. T, and sometimes even, I blush to say it, Tang-Tang, he was born to fusspottery. If you and your race had been bred in the Forbidden City by Imperial concubines, you would have refined tastes too.
So it was with Mr. Tang. He loved minced chicken, grilled beef, scratches behind the ears, walks on sidewalks only, and Guerlain. He abominated dog food, cats and Bellodgia.
I knew this because Mr. T. had a very definite way of expressing olfactory displeasure: he would sneeze. His sneezes were rather symbolic. What I mean by this is that Mr. Tang would work himself up into a sneeze the way a Diva works herself up into a tantrum. You could see him shaking his head and pulling in the air and really getting a lot of pectoral action into the sneeze before he let it out- Ahh, Choo!
He wasn’t really very annoyed by my perfume habits. In many ways he was more appreciative and less easily put off than my husband or my little daughter. He quite liked Chant d’Aromes, and had no objection to my roster of Carons with the single exception of Bellodgia. Bellodgia always merited a highly disapproving sneeze, sometimes followed by one or two more just to make absolutely certain that I knew how he, Tang Dog felt on the matter. To put it mildly, he could be opinionated.
Now this clever feline is just as apt to have preferences as the dog but she is less communicative about it with one exception. She hates Amour-Amour. I found this out when I was in the linen closet one day, a favorite haunt of Charcoal’s, and she was nosing around the vintage Patous. The Amour-Amour caused her to sneeze, although the sneezing was not of the operatic sort Mr. Tang used to such advantage. Ah shoot, is more Charcoal’s speed, with some head shaking and some back tracking on her little paws.
A day or so later I had some on when she came over to chat and the same reaction occurred. I was left wondering, what is it that animals, with much more sensitive noses than ours are smelling? I shouldn’t be surprised to find that there are levels of toxicity that we don’t catch in our fragrances and they do.
Consider the conundrum of pregnancy. You simply can’t stand perfume, or at any rate I could not. That particular summer in Connecticut everyone seemed to be wearing Light Blue, and Sunflowers and Must de Cartier and my own Chant d’Aromes was intolerable to me, and the only thing I could tolerate, and that in fact made nausea bearable was (you won’t believe this) Bois de Portugal. Yes, a Creed, isn’t that amazing? Perhaps their claims to natural perfumery are not so far fetched after all.
It’s not a question I expect ever to have resolved. But I am sensitive to what I put the cat through. I don’t wear Amour-Amour and possibly in deference to the late great Tang, I seldom wear Bellodgia.
Who knows, they probably have better taste than I do.