Thursday, 13 October 2011
The Cat Who Loved Cosmo
By Nancy Leitz
I hadn't heard from my niece, Diana, in a few months so was surprised to hear her voice when I answered the telephone. "Hello, Aunt Nancy,” she said, "I have a big favor to ask of you."
I asked her what she meant and she told me that she was moving to another place that did not allow pets and wondered if I would adopt her one-year-old kitten, Cindy, from her. "I just know you will love her and she will have a good home with you, so please, will you take her?"
I agreed to adopt her and that is how my relationship with this adorable ball of orange and white fur began.
When she arrived and looked over our place, I thought I detected a smirk on her face as she walked from room to room deciding whether or not she was willing to adopt ME. She seemed to be thinking it over when she noticed a nice fire in the fireplace and thought that might be a good place to curl up and take a nap. But not just yet.
First, she had to visit each and every room to make sure SHE was the only animal in the house and would definitely rule the roost. Then she sniffed at the litter box I had set up and put her stamp of approval on it. "That'll work," she seemed to say as she strutted away to the next place she had to inspect before she could settle down.
Finally, after parading through the entire house, she went under my bed to give it a little more thought before she let me know whether or not she would be willing to stay.
After about an hour, she crept out from her hiding place and came looking for something to eat. I opened a can of cat food and put it on a paper plate for her. I really dislike the smell of cat food and refuse to wash the cat dish so unless she was willing to eat her meals off of a paper plate that I could throw away she would have to go hungry.
But she ate the whole thing and went in the corner to take a bath. She turned out to be the cleanest kitty I have ever had. She spent a long time every day washing her face and body. She had beautiful orange and white fur and she kept it as if it were a luxurious mink coat.
She was a beauty and the only thing I didn't like about her was her name. I thought she looked and acted very French; haughty and sophisticated, a little like orange fur meets haute couture. She was very agreeable and pleasant so I renamed her Oui Oui.
Oui Oui was not a cat who jumped up on kitchen counters. She was much too sophisticated for that. The only place she jumped was into my lap. She would snuggle in and purr in a very dignified way.
She loved it when I put a cassette in the player and the music started. She would take about 10 minutes circling my chair and kneading the pillows before she finally settled down. She would listen to the music and drift off to sleep.
One day, everything changed! Perry Como came on singing It's Impossible and Oui Oui was in LOVE. From that day on every time she heard that song, she would jump in my lap and rub my face and was unable to sleep. She wanted me to play it over and over again.
After she had been with me for about six months, I noticed that she was always jumping on the coffee table and turning the pages of the magazines that I kept there. What was she doing?
It took me a while to figure out that she was not just rifling through the magazine; she had a definite purpose. She was looking for something. I decided to watch her for awhile because I was curious, so I sat quietly and let her go through the pages until she came to what she was looking for - which was - the perfume page!
You know how they turn back about an inch of the page and put a sample of a perfume on there? That's what she was looking for. When she came to it, she kept pushing on the edge until it opened and she could really smell the perfume. Then she swished her paw over the page and rubbed the perfume all over her face and body.
I couldn't believe my eyes. From that day on, I watched her as she would sniff old CosmosCosmo came in, she seemed to be able to smell it in the mailbox and she couldn't wait for me to put it on the coffee table.
It was so much fun to watch her look for that particular page in the magazine. She learned to turn the pages and after awhile she would be leafing through that book so fast she looked like the landlady at the boarding house tearing through the rent book to see who didn't pay that month.
Swish, swish,swish, the pages flashed by as she frantically turned them in search of the delicious smelling Chanel, Shalimar or, with any luck, some scent by Lanvin. She had no favorites, she loved them all.
Oui Oui lived with me for 10 years until she got hopelessly ill with a disease which the veterinarian could not cure and she had to be put to sleep so she didn't suffer anymore. How I missed her and the fun she brought me with her antics with that magazine.
Helen Gurley Brown would have loved Oui Oui.
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