A couple of excerps of articles about the Pope and Cats:
"But, says Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles, who was in Rome for the pope’s inauguration, “The street talk that the pope loves cats is incorrect. The pope adores cats.
According to local news reports, the pope used to walk the streets of Borgo Pio, his former Roman neighborhood just east of the Vatican, where neighbors likened him to Dr. Dolittle with a Pied Piper charm. Stray cats would run to him when they saw him coming and he used to prepare food for them daily on special plates.
The pope’s publicly announced fondness for cats has once again put Rome's felines in the spotlight. Currently one of the hottest selling tourist mementos in the city is a little cardinal hat for cats that goes for $15 in stores such as Barbiconi, which specializes in clergy robes and accessories. Mahony’s cats both have cardinal hats, gifts given to him during his recent trip to Rome.
Mahony, who owns two silver tabbies named Raphael and Gabriel, believes that cats are perfect pets for clergymen “because they are wonderful companions. There is almost a spirituality about them. Their presence is very soothing.".” ~from a 2005 MSNBC article.
And from the Friends of Roman Cats this excerpt:
"Stories abound how he visits Rome’s street cats, and how they respond to him.
He has shown particular attention to a colony of cats that live in a cemetery near Campasanto Teutonica, a German-language church not far from St Peter’s, where he used to deliver sermons when he was a cardinal. German theologian Konrad Baumgartner described one visit. The cemetery “was full of cats and when he went out they all ran to him. They knew him and loved him. He stood there petting some and talking to them for quite a long while.”
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said that the Pope talks to cats whenever he sees them, “Every time he met a cat he would talk to it, sometimes for a long time." Bertone wondered if the Pope used a special language to talk to cats. “I tried to understand the language he used with cats, who were always enchanted when he met them. I thought maybe it was a Bavarian dialect. I don’t know." Bertone told of one occasion when 10 cats started following the cardinal into the Vatican but they were stopped by one of the Swiss Guards who protect the Vatican.
I had read some 6 months ago that an order of nuns keeps the Popes former apartment in Borgo Pio with, I believe, three of the popes cats. Lastly, of course there is the book written by Chico the German cat:
"Chico is a real cat who belongs to a German couple in the German city of Pentling, where the Pope lived until he moved to Rome in 1981. The couple are caretakers of the house where Ratzinger had hoped to retire had he not been elected Pope.
Chico tells the story of the life of "my best friend" from his birth in Germany in 1927, through his days as a young man, priest, bishop and cardinal. It ends with his election as Pope on April 19, 2005.
It recounts the Nazi era in Germany when the Pope was a teenager, calling the war years "one of the most dramatic and shameful times in the history of man"." from Cathnews.com
You have to love this man, who is forced, like Peter, when he is old, to go where he is told, and his life is no longer his own. May he always have the comfort of cats.