Five years ago, my neighbor came over, asking if I could help her. She had a kitten that had literally been blown under her vehicle by a passing car. She didn’t know what to feed him, had no litter, and no place to leave him when she went to work. I explained I was unable to take him, and as you might guess that lasted all of about 2 minutes. There he was — all one pound of him and that bewitching little face.
Compared to the other cats in the family he was small, but in his mind, he was also mighty. His first toy was a turtle. He amused himself swatting it a couple of times, then picked it up in his mouth and shook it emitting a deep growl. He was surprised by my laughter, but the sight of him waving a toy turtle that was as big as his head while growling was hysterical.
His antics reminded me of the games played by Kato and Clouseau in the “Pink Panther,” hence his name. In my house there were many Katos, none of whom wished to play the game. In spite of their feelings, he would race across the room, jump on furniture, then fly through the air front paws outstretched landing on his prey. He loved it.
Monsieur Clouseau’s language preference was French. He did not adhere to the Henry Higgins opinion, that “the French don’t care what you say, as long as you pronounce it correctly.” Perhaps that is because his English pronunciation was so horrible (he literally murdered the word “room.”)
Clouseau would start his day with his sun salutation, then go up on the roof to “cat-scan” the neighborhood. A devotee of yoga, he invented a new pose which he called the “vulture pose.”
As my boy grew in stature, he also became quite the man about town. The stories of Clouseau are legend. He actually enjoyed visiting the veterinary clinic when I was traveling. Of course, he insisted on having full run of the place meowing loudly so he’d be freed from his cage. He made friends with neighborhood kitties, and when he met his girlfriend, Gabrielle, he begged his mom, “Puis-je la garder s’il vous plait maman?” (may I keep her please mama).
A few weeks ago Clouseau became ill, and we discovered he was acutely anemic. My vet recommended that he go to an emergency veterinary hospital. Of course, Clouseau demonstrated his witchcraft at the new place. He attempted to steal food from the dog in the next cage and demanded attention all the time. After some treatment, it was determined he could come home, but the prognosis was devastating and by Saturday, February 10 any hope of more time was dashed.
Clouseau loved being outside, climbing on the roof, sleeping on the hood my car. We spent his last hours in the backyard while we waited for the vet to arrive, and end his pain. As he drifted off, I whispered in his ear, “Bonne nuit mon gentil garcon, mon petit bonhomme. Je t’aime mon cher Clouseau.”