A soft, smooth and clean cat; you can put it anywhere and it stays there; it doesn’t do its business around the house and needs no special care. It doesn’t need feeding, and it even has nylon whiskers. What else could you wish for? So what is Meo Romeo missing? He has no voice, but neither does the Mona Lisa. And the Mona Lisa is not soft to the touch, and you can’t make her turn round.
Meo Romeo is the new foam-rubber cat specially designed for today’s children. Just a little taller than the palm of a hand, about the same size as a recently-born kitten. Meo is a black cat with yellow eyes, and he has other brothers and sisters: white, yellow, grey, brown and even a green one. They are all called Meo Romeo (Meo is the name, Romeo the surname) and the green Meo was born when zucchini were in season.
I have to say that it’s great fun designing children’s books or toys and seeing them come to life. Children are the ideal public; they know what they want and don’t have any preconceptions. If they don’t like something, then they say so without much preamble. If adults were like that then many relationships would be much less problematic.
When I was working on the blueprints for the cat, I couldn’t help laughing to myself. A one-to-one scale drawing on a large sheet of paper made with compass, ruler and protractor, a drawing of a cat splayed flat-out like a traffic warden blocking cars with its hands, legs and tail; section A-B, right perspective, longitudinal section of the cat’s tail, and so on. Then the moulds and the counter moulds, the preliminary models, and then another problem to be resolved: how to attach the cat’s whiskers. But now everything seems completed and ready for production.
I would like to push for this production, but it is difficult to do so in such an enormous group of factories as big as the whole world, where huge interests are at stake, and especially for me, Bruno Munari, who weighs in at forty-eight kilos; I don’t feel like interrupting the on-going production, so I just wait for my cat at the street corner, with crowds of children who have asked to have one for Christmas.