As we understand, “Minou” endearingly means “male kitten.” Our daughter informed us that a female cat would be called “Minette.” We had wrongly named our cat. Minou was discovered by my other daughter and her significant other at the time—now her husband and father of two of my lovely granddaughters-- under the wheel well of a car in a parking lot of an eBay auction company. Someone had abandoned the kitten too early, or so we think, because she was never “normal.” We ended up owning a long-haired, orange and black kitten that was forever “spooked.” She lived in fear. She was afraid of us, of other cats, of anything unusual or noisy, of cars, and even birds. She lived in the garage, and we tried to keep her ghosts at bay. The only time she let my husband pet her was when he held her down to clip thistles from her matted fur. On those occasions, she’d settle down, let him clip, then as soon as the task was over, she’d jump and run.
But Minou liked being near us—always watching us from a comfortable distance, watching, napping , then jerking up to watch some more. Sadly, Minou died on her soft rug under the sink in the garage, a place she felt safe. We wrapped Minou in an old green and orange pajama pants and buried her behind the woodpile, where she liked to visit. We missed Minou, but we didn’t really mourn her demise, because we knew in “cat heaven,” she was no longer afraid. As memorable as Minou was, our cat Pierre is the one we still mourn.
Pierre deserves a medal for faithfulness and loyalty. Pierre died this past April. He was fourteen years old or maybe fifteen, we aren’t sure and neither is the vet. All we know is that he appeared at our back door with his mother while we were on a trip. According to our grown children who were here, “After several days, his mother left, but he stayed. We finally let him in.” We can hardly imagine our lives without Pierre. He lived fully, both inside and outside the house.
Pierre was beautifully behaved, and he owned the downstairs portion of house. On cold days, he’d sit for hours on the dining room buffet to keep an eye on the street outside. He knew how to nurture the sick, cuddling, nuzzling, and purring to comfort them. He stretched out for long naps, and, often took the spotlight at Christmas and birthday celebrations. When he hankered to go outside, he’d let us know, and out he’d trot
Outside, Pierre was a woodsman and a member of the militia. He established his territory and fought off stray cats and varmints. Every day, he mindfully monitored the neighborhood, making rounds to check, eight different houses, the woods, and the side yard down to the creek. Even in his old age, he battled enemies. About Minou, he was tolerant.
We buried Pierre in the garden near the peony bushes. The 23rd Psalm seemed appropriate. A few days ago, a neighbor stopped us and said, “ I came home one day and found Pierre in my house sitting on my couch.” We laughed because we knew Pierre was diligent about checking his house to make sure all was well. Recently another neighbor said, “I want you to know I miss Pierre.” Dean, the gentleman who fed Pierre when we were on vacation, said, “Pierre was a good hunter, but he also was affectionate. He liked to come over and ‘schmooze’ with me.”
And so, in our catalogue of cats, Pierre stands near the top! On Memorial Day, we honored not only our departed and loyal veterans, but also a faithful pet who served.