My Life in Paris: Goodbye Kitty

Theadora remembers the good times she has shared with her feline friend.

Everyone has a favorite bright-eyed, bushy-tailed coworker. He had Kitty (aka ‘Special K’). Sadly, my spunky, fast-grooving Parisian tortoiseshell calico left this world for another Fancy Feast early on January 8th; however, memories of this tricolor feline’s exploits will continue to inspire me every day.

I remember the time I almost missed Moon Young Hee’s show in Saint Germain des Pres during Paris Fashion Week. What would Kitty do? I asked myself. She wouldn’t cry, she knew that. No, she’d run like she was out of a can of Whiskas, and that’s what I did. With 20 minutes and 20 blocks to go before the start of the Luna show, I launched into full throttle. From zero to one hundred, I ran and reached Saint-Germain-des-Prés in record time. I strutted in as the Moon show was about to start, in an old laboratory on the rue de l’École de Médecine. With Kitty still on my mind, feeling fancy but sweaty, I left my cat mirror glasses on for the entire show. As strutting models kicked up dust on the catwalk of the old lab, I basked in the warmth as the setting sun sent golden rays through its floor-to-ceiling glass panels.

And, of course, it’s impossible to think of Kitty and not remember how we’d shake off the writer’s blues with online shopping sprees, weaving between black and red zebra-print tulle blouses and my grow cart. The dance also moves to the rhythm of Justin Bieber or Taio Cruz. “Ayo, I’ve got to let it go,” Kitty would seem to sing as she jumped and boxed with both paws in the air. “Let’s write it like it’s dynamite.”

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kitty’s corner

My path first crossed with the kitten that became Kitty in Abbesses-Montmartre, where rue Véron meets rue André Antoine. Long before Kitty’s first excavations, this corner had been a favorite urban landscape motif for bohemian artists like Maurice Utrillo and Alphonse Léon Quizlet. This is also where André Antoine founded the first free theater. Joining more points, the painter Georges Seurat and Edith Piaf had lived a few meters away. It was late at night and pouring with rain when, at the bottom of the steps on this very corner, I first saw the scruffy five-month-old baby. Our eyes met. I picked her up in my trench coat and ran back to her apartment.

After visiting Dr. Tanguay at the corner of rue des Martyrs for a checkup and an official passport to Animal companion (with an official photo), Kitty moved from her little cave vent on the cobblestone streets to our century-old two-story attic. It didn’t take long for him to make both friends and enemies: the rock pigeons began to bombard the skylights where he liked to sunbathe, but he stood his ground.

Then, there was the mean boyfriend on the second floor. The big tabby cat would yell at her and she would run out onto the balcony and coo to him. Very Romeo and Juliet. But after several times where she lost her footing (and nearly lost her life), we got creative with some thick plastic mesh from nearby Castorama Hardware Palace. Windows in Paris rarely have screens, as French flies seem to prefer dancing in the air to landing on food.

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adjusting to him

Kitty apparently thought it her duty to protect us from any menacing rubber bands lurking in the shadows so they had a chance to jump out and hit us from behind. For years, she was attentive to those useless. She would wake me up in the middle of the night to find newly bought elastic bands and hair bands on my pillow. Never be shy about it, I would grab these right off the bathroom shelf while I was in the bathroom.

He also fancied retrieving them with precision and without mercy. The day he died, I found a rubber band in my pocket. It’s still around my wrist.

Dear Special K, we miss you and your big bright eyes. Sunbathe in peace, my little warmth-seeking friend, faithful co-worker and dance partner. “I miss you more than life”, as Justin Bieber sings. It is true.

From France Today magazine