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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.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Nancy, this is a wonderful story. I am not a cat lover, but I know my sister will appreciate it.

Oh Nancy, I love cats and so you can imagine how much I enjoyed your story. We welcomed our son’s female cat, Midnight, into our home last year. Cassie, our female cat for the past six or seven years, was not so cordial. It took many weeks and additional litter boxes to make the transition reasonable. I now know how the term “cat fight” came to be. Thank goodness it’s more noise than action and rarely happens.
I am sending your story to my friend who recently discovered the joys and rewards offered by these precious animals.

A darling story about a darling kitty--she must have been gorgeous.

Nancy - Wonderful story!

Oui Oui, like many of our past cats, seems so eerily human! - Sandy

Are you sure Oui Oui wasn't a re-incarnated French courtesan?

The perfume story is a hoot. I can just see the cat rifling the pages and finding the sweet scent to bathe in.

Some cats are wonderful and you got the best.

{Did anyone misunderstand the name when you called Oui Oui? ;-)}

Hi GM,

Happy you liked my story even though I know you prefer dogs over cats.
Miss Buffy would love your loyalty to her.

Claire Jean: I can just imagine the "Caterwauling" you heard when a new female turned up at your door. MEOW!

Yes,Lyn, Oui Oui was truly beautiful. People say that orange cats have the nicest dispositions and I believe them because I have had cats of every "stripe" and Oui Oui had the best personality of them all.

I know, Sandy, she did seem almost human. When music was playing she didn't seem to be paying any attention until
Perry Como came on and then she acted like a lovesick teenager. Can you imagine her knowing his voice from all the other singers?

Yes, Darlene, you did have to be careful how you called her. You had to be very specific and call WeWE in a very clipped way. NOT WEE WEE.
Actually, I seldom had to call her anyway, because she seldom went out. She was a house Diva.

Loved your story. I have 3 cats and there are stories about each one. I think they are great companions, especially as we get older.

Loved it..have owned many cats, probably 25 in my 70 years..never had a Diva like Oui, Oui..always full of surprises the cats..now I see I must tell some of their stories too..nice to be among friends..great piece..

Nancy, you didn't remind me you'd be here, but luckily, I found it myself. What a great story!! I would love to have known that very smart cat!!

Hi Mary,

Thanks for your nice comment.
You're so right about them being great companions.

I miss having a cat right now. We spent so much time on the road in our later years that we gave up having a pet.

I have a Grandkitty named Sparkle in Chicago and another one in Connecticut named Percy and that has to do me for now.

Oh, Mary, I wish you would write some stories about the different cats you have had. I love cat stories because they are all so different.

Did you ever read "All Creatures Great and Small"?
James Herriot tells of a cat who lived in a small English village and knew all the scheduled events and attended them. He was always the first one at Choir practice on Thursday night at 7 P.M. and was always there already when the Boy Scouts or the Girl Guides showed up for their meetings on Friday at 6:30.

It really got spooky when he turned up ahead of the hearse for a funeral. The Vicar fainted when he saw the cat.

Hello Judy.. Thanks for finding my story even though I didn't remind you. Sorry about that.

I just bought a book called, "Great Cat Tales" edited by Lesley O'Mara. I enjoyed your story very much and think it should be in that book (or in another 'cattail' book.) What fun to have the time for observation as we age.
Michigan Grandma

Hello Barbara,

Thanks so much for reading my story and taking the time to comment.

Thanks also for telling me about the "Great Cat Tales" Book.

I looked the book up on Amazon and they didn't have a KIndle Edition but I was able to get it in Paperback at a very nominal price.

Thanks for suggesting this book. I'm sure I will enjoy reading it.

Hope you come back to Elder Storytelling again.

"Oui Oui" was definitely a better name for her than "Cindy". A spectacular cat for a spectacular lady. Now, what shall we re-name you???

Hi Annie,

You are the one who comes up with the great names like calling your best hen "Mr. Gibson" and your cat who had several litters of kittens "David".

I will leave it up to you to give me a new name.You are the best at that!

I have an orange and white cat, Piper, but he is not a cologne connoisseur. (Visitors to my blog can see his picture in my sidebar this week.) OuiOui was a Treasure, Nancy, as you of course know. I am so glad that you both had many years together, enjoying music and each other's company. How nice that the two of you were willing to accommodate each other's habits! (That is often the way with kittens, isn't it?) If you ever come to NEO, consider Piper and Marlowe your Ohio Cats.

Hello, Nance. I have often seen Piper and Marlowe's pictures at your blog.

I will now take a special interest in them knowing that they are my Ohio cats.

Thanks for sharing them with me.

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