My Life in Paris: Adieu to Kitty
Theadora remembers the good times she has shared with her feline friend.
Everybody’s got a favourite bright-eyed and bushy-tailed co-worker. I had Kitty (aka ‘Special K’). Sadly, my courageous, fast-grooving Parisian tortoise shell calico left this world for another Fancy Feast early on January 8; however, memories of this tricolore feline’s feats will continue to inspire me every day.
I remember the time I almost missed the Moon Young Hee show in Saint-Germain-des-Prés during Paris Fashion Week. ‘What would Kitty do?’ I asked myself. She wouldn’t cry, that much I knew. No, she would bolt like there’s no missing a can of Whiskas – and so that’s what I did. With 20 minutes and 20 blocks to the start of the Moon show, I launched into a mad dash. From nought to one hundred, I ran and reached Saint-Germain-des-Prés in record time. I sashayed in as the Moon show was about to begin, in an ancient laboratory on rue de l’École de Médecine. With Kitty still on my mind, feeling sleek but sweaty, I left on my mirrored cat glasses during the entire spectacle. While the strutting models kicked up dust on the catwalk in the old lab, I basked in the warmth as the sunset sent golden beams through its floor-to-ceiling glass panels.
And of course it’s impossible to think of Kitty and not recall how we’d shake the writer’s block blues away with online shopping sprees, zigzagging between black and red zebra-patterned tops in tulle and my growing cart. Dance moves, too, to the tunes of Justin Bieber or Taio Cruz. “Ayo, got to let go,” Kitty would seem to sing while bopping and boxing with both her paws in the air. “We’re gonna write it up like it’s dynamite.”
My path first crossed with the kitten who became Kitty in Abbesses-Montmartre, where rue Véron runs into rue André Antoine. Long before it was Kitty’s first digs, this corner had been a favourite streetscape motif for Bohemian artists like Maurice Utrillo and Alphonse Léon Quizlet. Here is also where André Antoine founded the first free theatre. Connecting more dots, painter Georges Seurat and Edith Piaf had lived just a few metres away. It was well after dark and pouring with rain when, at the bottom of the steps on this very corner, I first saw the bedraggled five-month-old. Our eyes locked. I scooped her up in my trench coat, and dashed back to the apartment.
After we visited Dr. Tanguay on the corner of rue des Martyrs for a check-up and an official Passeport Pour Animal de Compagnie (with an official photo), Kitty moved from her little cave vent on the cobblestoned rues to our century-old, two-storey garret. It didn’t take her long to make both friends and frenemies: rock pigeons began dive-bombing the skylights where she liked to sun bathe, but she held her ground.
Then, there was the bad boyfriend down on the second floor. The large tabby would yell up to her, and she’d run out to the balcony and coo down to him. Very Romeo and Juliet. But after several times when she lost her balance (and nearly her life), we got creative with some thick plastic mesh from the nearby Castorama hardware palace. Windows in Paris rarely have screens, since French flies seem to prefer dancing in air to landing on food.
Snapping to it
Kitty apparently thought it her duty to protect us from any menacing rubber bands lurking in the shadows for a chance to leap out and snap us from behind. For years, she kept an eye out for such ne’er-do-wells. I’d wake up in the middle of the night to find rubber bands and newly purchased hair bands on my pillow. Never coy about it, she’d snag them right off the bathroom shelf while I was in the bath.
She also fancied retrieving them with precision and no mercy. On the day she died, I found a rubber band in my pocket. It’s still around my wrist.
Dear Special K, we are missing you and your big bright eyes. Sunbathe in peace, my little heat-seeking friend, devoted co-worker, and dance partner. “I miss you more than life,” as Justin Bieber sings. It’s true.
From France Today magazine
Lead photo credit : Photo by Mariam Soliman on Unsplash
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