Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Tuesday, July 14, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 82° Clear
News >  Nation

A professor was giving a TV interview about Polish politics. His cat didn’t care.

This screen grab from a Washington Post video shows Polish historian Jerzy Targalski’s cat climbing atop his head during an interview. (Washington Post)
This screen grab from a Washington Post video shows Polish historian Jerzy Targalski’s cat climbing atop his head during an interview. (Washington Post)
By Amy B Wang Washington Post


They care not for your affection, your familiar voice or perhaps even for your overall existence.

And they certainly don’t care about your career as a respected academic or any fancy television interviews taking place in your office.

Polish historian Jerzy Targalski discovered this during an on-camera appearance on a Dutch news program when his cat unceremoniously climbed atop his head in the middle of the interview.

Targalski was speaking with a journalist from the Dutch public television station Nieuwsuur to weigh in on “the controversial forced removal of Polish top judge Malgorzata Gersdorf” by the country’s ruling conservative party, according to NTR reporter Rudy Bouma.

Partway through the taping, his orange tabby began pawing and mewing at Targalski’s right side. The cat then scaled up the professor’s arm like a personal Everest.

“Eh – we tolerate this?” Targalski asked. It was both a question and an apologetic statement, directed more to the camera crew and less to the cat, who by this point was already upon his neck.

Someone from behind the camera made a sound. Targalski smiled and pressed on, with the resignation of a man who has shared his home with a cat and thus knows his place in the feline-human order.

He spoke of the presence of secret-police agents in certain countries and what that means for the political transformation of those countries. But he may as well not have been speaking at all for all the attention his cat was stealing.

As Targalski continued the interview, his cat nuzzled his ear, used his shoulders to get a closer look at a chandelier above and, at one point, curled its tail across Targalski’s face, covering his eyes. The political scientist, who earned his doctorate with a thesis titled “Mechanisms of dismantling communism in Yugoslavia on the example of Slovenia and Serbia (1986-1991),” simply brushed the cat’s tail away and held it down for several moments to the side of his head.

Alas, none of that footage made it into the final Nieuwsuur segment. Lisio does, however, manage a cameo in the final cut that aired last week in a far less obtrusive manner – by laying in Targalski’s lap, getting petted as the professor conducts a seated interview.

Targalski is, of course, not the first person to have a television interview not go as planned, as international relations expert and Pusan National University political-science professor Robert Kelly (better known as “BBC dad”) can tell you after his two young children hilariously crashed his BBC appearance last year.

He’s not even the first to have a cat interrupt a television shoot. Last year, Dumka – a black cat belonging to Nils Usakovs, the mayor of Riga, Latvia – wandered into an online Q&A session his human was hosting, to the delight of many of the mayor’s Facebook followers, as the Washington Post reported.

Usakovs took it in good stride, writing later on Facebook: “Anything can happen if your office is ruled by cats.”

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

The journalists of The Spokesman-Review are a part of the community. They live here. They work here. They care. You can help keep local journalism strong right now with your contribution. Thank you.

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.

Swedish Thoracic Surgery: Partners in patient care

 (Courtesy Bergman Draper Oslund Udo)

Matt Bergman knows the pain and anger that patients with mesothelioma feel.