Au revoir, La Chatte

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


When she spotted us, in July of 2006, she knew an easy mark. Since her last owner had abandoned her, she'd been savvy enough to hang out in the same middle class neighborhood. Someone would feed her, she was sure.

Watching us move in, she played it cool. She would watch us from under the tree, a gray smudge in a shadow. She was friendly, but not overly so. She did not approach us to be caressed, nor did she meow to gain our attention. She simply stayed. And Watched. And Waited.

She made her initial move about a week later. We were at the back door and we were in her former home. She walked up and looked at the door. Looked at us. Looked at the door. I opened it and she walked in. Emily picked her up like a sack of potatos and she waited. Didn't fight. Didn't scratch. Didn't Meow. Just waited to be put down, then took off to find a good hiding place under a bed.

She resisted a name. We tried out lots of names. None of them ever fit. She became simply La Chatte over time as our ability to figure out her personality increased. It suited her. La Chatte. The Cat. Our Cat? I think not. She lived with us, but was not a lovey dovey lap cat. She would tolerate some rubbing, some under the chin scratching, but too much and she would stalk away, looking for a quieter room.

The shaves, oh God how she hated the winter shaves....but winter time in Montreal is hard on a cat and a long haired cat who mats makes it doubly hard. Her fur, when wet, would dread up into clumps and spread like wildfire in her fur. This would leave her doubly irritable - hating to be touched where the mats were tied to her skin.

The indignity of the shaves was only second to the appearance of the rabbit. A Rabbit. In the House. In the Bed where she slept. A Lapin meal was booting her out of her rightful place as ruler of the Human Bed. What was a cat to do? Ignore it. Maybe lick the rabbit occasionally when she was sure no human was watching.

The man was her favorite. She was crazy about him. She slept on top of him when she could get away with it, and on his feet when he got wiggly. The woman - meh, shes Ok and cleans the winter litterbox and the child should be avoided at all costs...but the Man. That one was her beloved. Her chosen. They regarded each other from opposite ends of the couch.

Just as Spring comes to Montreal, just as the days grow longer and warm enough to be outside to watch the birds and bask in the sun....She gets sick. Suddenly. On a rainy Sunday, her people watch her...thinking that she is awfully quiet..but it IS rainy and she is a mysterious cat. By Monday, the man says something to the woman. There is something wrong, he says. The woman finds vomit next to the rabbit maze, and agrees. Something is wrong. To the Vets in the morning, the woman decrees, for she thinks that La Chatte has been eating things that maybe were no good, poisoned things or dead things. Things that show up in the spring when the snow melts.

La Chatte barely moves when the woman picks her up from her sleeping spot at the feet of the man in the morning. She is responsive...but slow and musters an elusive purr as the woman rubs her body over feeling for injuries and assessing her skin. She protests - weakly - as the woman puts her in the carrier. The rabbit, though, knows something. The rabbit begins to thump - over and over again. Staring at the cat.

At the vet, the woman opens the door and gives her rubs as she describes the symptoms. She tries to purr....but doesn't quite make it. Too much energy. She dies before the end of the day.

And breaks our hearts

21 Baleful Regards:

yarnwhore said...

Sooooo sorry. My (blessedly short-haired) grey kitty is getting up there rapidly, and I'm dreading the day.

Lala said...

mon dieu mais qu'elle est belle.

Bethany said...

I'm sorry.

MarciaAnn said...

Dawn .. I know you and le chat had your differences but I could tell there was reciprocated love. I'm sorry

Karen Sugarpants said...

awww... so sorry Dawn. xo

Gina said...

I'm sorry about your cat. I've been there - it sucks.

Debbie said...

My heart goes out to you!

just a kat said...

Ohhh..so sorry for the loss of Le Chatte...

F said...

she was a beauty, and what a personality. i've been reading your blog for a long time, and feel as if i knew her and her quirks. i'm really sorry for your loss.

Jaelithe said...

I'm so glad she lived out the last part of her life in a good home, with a warm place to sleep at night, and a family to own. I am sure she was grateful, in a grudging cat way, EVEN if she had to put up with a rabbit.

MOCK! said...

Au revoir, La Chatte.

velocibadgergirl said...

Oh, Dawn...I'm so sorry. She'll be greatly missed!

Anonymous said...

Oh Dawn, so sorry to hear that. I was a huge fan of La Chatte. May she have gone to a place where her fur is always unmatted, with good food and at least one Terrance type man to cuddle with.

Mitzi Green said...

oh, la chatte...i am so sorry. i will miss her (and your portrayals of her) dearly.

E. said...

I'm sorry. I hope Emily's doing OK. It's hard when that ineffable presence is gone from the house, but esp. for the kid.

Mignon said...

What a story. I'm sorry, Dawn.

Beth said...

Dawn,
My heart goes out to you and your family. We had a similar loss last year; our cat of 15 years passed away. I agree with Jaelithe and am glad that La Chatte lived out the end of her life in a place where she was loved.

Helena said...

Oh, I'm soooo sorry. She was beautiful. I love cats so much, and it breaks my heart when I have to let one go.

Fraulein N said...

Oh no! I'm so sorry, Dawn.

Monie said...

Awwww! None of us knew La Chatte but we all felt like we knew her. So sorry for your loss. Hope Emily's ok.

Anonymous said...

Dawn,

I'm so sorry to hear the news...so sudden and so sad. You were good caretakers to the gray smudge that stole your heart.

Michele

 
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