A Simple Ceremony in a Garden Outside of Dresden Joins Forever an Unlikely, Albeit Devoted, Pair Of Lovers
"Es klingt verrueckt, aber ich will meine Cecilia heiraten."
-- Uwe Mitzscherlich
"Do you, Uwe, take Cecilia to be your wedded wife? To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, and to be faithful only to her for as long as you shall live?"
"And you, Cecilia, do you take Uwe to be your wedded husband? To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, and to be faithful only to him for as long as you shall live?"
With the exchange of those simple vows, thirty-nine-year-old Uwe Mitzscherlich from the district of Possendorf in Bannewitz, twelve kilometers south of Dresden in Sachsen, recently married his fifteen-year-old black and white cat, Cecilia. (See photos above and below.)
The garden ceremony was presided over by fifty-six-year-old Schauspielerin Christin-Maria Lohri of the long-running television show Polizeiruf 110; she was paid three-hundred euros for her services. Uwe's twin brother, Erik, served as his brother's best man but apparently no female cat could be rounded up in order to serve as Cecilia's maid of honor. Also, with her old man long gone, there was no one available to officially give away the bride.
The groom was resplendent in a tuxedo and a top hat while his lovely bride wore a white dress. Some toms from the neighborhood reportedly have questioned the appropriateness of the bride's decision to wear white but that is of no consequence. Besides, it most likely is sour grapes anyway.
Like any traditional ceremony, the deal was sealed with a kiss. Flowers, a wedding march, and the cutting of the bridal cake followed. Breakfast the next morning consisted of fish and a saucer of milk for Cecilia while Uwe, who also dined on fish, celebrated with a glass of champagne.
This is Uwe's first trip down the aisle and it is a good bet that the same can be said for Cecilia. Moreover, some would argue that it was high time that Uwe made an honest cat out of Cecilia in light of the fact that they have been living in sin ever since they met at Sassnitz on Ruegen Island, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, more than a decade ago.
Although Uwe and Cecilia always have been especially close, the decision to tie the knot was made only after she was diagnosed to be suffering from asthma. Sadly, it is feared that the eight kilogram female's days are numbered.
Just as is the case with humans, asthma causes the bronchial tubes in a cat's lungs to contract and this stimulates the flow of mucus. That in turn leads to labored breathing, coughing, and wheezing.
The condition can be triggered by a host of environmental irritants. At the top of the list are secondhand tobacco smoke as well as vapors emitted by fireplaces, scented candles, and plug-in air fresheners.
Even too much cold, moist air can cause problems. Other potential causes are pollen, aerosol sprays, mold and mildew, dust mites, certain types of cat litter, and stress.
Because of their small lungs and incessant grooming, exclusively indoor environments usually are lethal to cats. Besides tobacco smoke, illicit drugs that are smoked can damage a cat's lungs as well as the presence of lead, particularly in toys, and mercury.
Asbestos also is deadly for cats. For example, last year an elderly cat named Peaches from Cookeville, Tennessee, died of mesothelioma. (See the Herald-Citizen of Cookeville, March 21, 2010, "Cookeville Pet Owner Alive Because of Cat's Illness.")
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which are used as flame retardants in drapes, furniture, electrical appliances, and in a host of other common household items, are known to cause Feline Hyperthyroidism. (See Cat Defender post of August 22, 2007 entitled "Indoor Cats Are Dying from Diabetes, Hyperthyroidism, and Various Toxins in the Home.")
More recently, a fungicide known as dimethyl fumarate (DMF) that is inserted into furniture shipped from China has been linked to the deaths of both cats and humans. (See the Daily Telegraph, December 4, 2008, "Toxic Armchair Kills Father, Son, and Cat, Family Claims" and The Times of London, April 27, 2010, "Hundreds Burnt by Toxic Sofas to Share Twenty-Million Pounds Compensation.")
Asthmatic attacks in cats usually are treated with anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator drugs as well as steroids that either are taken orally or inhaled. Providing a cat such as Cecilia will a calm and stress-free environment also would help as well as seeing to it that she maintains a healthy weight.
"Es klingt verrueckt, aber ich will meine Cecilia heiraten," Uwe, who works for DHL, told Bild on May 3rd. (See "Dresdner heiratet seine Katze!")
Despite the fact that in human terms his bride is the equivalent of seventy-six-years-old, the pair seem to be made for each other. "Cecilia hat so ein zutrauliches Wesen. Wir schmusen staendig, sie schlaeft seit Anbeginn in meinem Bett," he confided to Bild. "Zwischen uns ist solch innige Verbindung, ein Gleichklang der Herzen; es ist einzigartig!"
At first, the stand-in preacher had her doubts but she soon was won over by Uwe's earnestness. "Ich dachte erst, es ist ein Scherz," she told Bild. "Doch fuer Herrn Mitzscherlich geht ein Herzenswunsch in Erfuellung."
The newlyweds have not publicly disclosed where they plan on spending their honeymoon and it is perhaps just as well in that they have been hounded both day and night by the international media following the announcement of their nuptials. "Pausenlos muss ich Interviews geben," Uwe told Bild on May 5th. (See "Eine Katze geht um die Welt.") "Aber fuer meine geliebte Cecilia mache ich es gern."
As is the case with all marriages, there are bound to be little differences of opinion along the way that will have to be resolved. For starters, there is the language barrier.
That should not pose too much of a difficulty in that since they have been together for such a long time some Deutsch surely must have rubbed off on Cecilia whereas Uwe most likely has picked up a little cat talk. Besides, it sometimes is a blessing that couples do not fully understand each other.
At least that is the considered opinion of none other than 007, Sean Connery, who insists that his wife, painter Micheline Roquebrune, does not comprehend a word of English whereas he steadfastly refuses to learn French. If that is indeed the case, they surely must converse in what Rousseau once called "nature's voice."
Then there is the problem of the inordinate amount of time that Uwe spends away from home delivering parcels for DHL. Certain incongruities of taste, such as Cecilia's love of milk and Uwe's probable fondness for German beer, will need to be resolved.
He also may want to follow the German football team's progress at next month's World Cup in South Africa whereas Cecilia most likely would prefer to watch one of either Walt Disney's or DreamWorks' productions. These are minor problems, however, that should work themselves out in time.
So far, it appears to be nothing but smooth sailing for the happy couple. "Alle sollen sehen, wie gluecklich wir sind," he told Bild on May 5th.
Hopefully, the veterinarians are wrong and Cecilia will be with Uwe for a long time to come. Alles Gute, Cecilia und Uwe!
Photos: Olaf Rentsch of Bild.