Adieu Petite Zazou
It’s a sad thing for a beautiful little French cat to travel all the way to the New World, only to end up disappearing into its wildness. But Zazou was always a bit wild, even in her native France. She was a French kitten through and through, and they’re often less tame, less gentrified, than their American cousins. She was tough and chic and knew her own mind, une chatte française.
We’d hoped that Beppo would tame her, and would teach her how to be a calm and home-loving American cat. But what happened instead is that when we got back to America, Beppo became instantly afraid to go outside, whereas we could barely keep Zazou indoors, no matter how we tried. Here there are coyotes, owls, eagles. Beppo might have a genetic memory of that, being a cat of the NorthWest. But Zazou had no more idea of a coyote than an armadillo. She probably understood strikes and croissants in a way that Beppo never could, but coyotes? Not a bit.
Zazou weighed barely six pounds, although she was the feistiest little bit of baggage imaginable. She started refusing to stay in at night, then she’d be gone for one or two days at a stretch. Then, finally, she disappeared. She’s been gone for a week, and it would have been her second birthday right about now. I’d open a can of the most expensive cat food if she’d only come back for the party, but she hasn’t.
I like to think of her snuggled safely on our bed, having a little bath and a long nap. But the truth is that Zazou didn’t want that domesticity. If we tried to keep her in at night she made our lives so miserable that finally we took to saying “Okay little Zazie-zou, if you want to go out and be eaten by coyotes, well, that’s your fate.” And the last time we saw her she was bounding joyfully up a very tall tree in the gathering twilight.
The night here belongs to the coyotes and owls. They’re hungry. You can’t blame them. Of course, maybe she found another home somewhere, but I don’t think so. I think she was true to her nature, wild to the very end, succumbing to the rigors of the wild west like so many other European immigrants before her. Adieu, Zazou. You were a tough little cookie, sweet and funny and independent, we got you to keep Beppo company but you found your own fate. That’s the way the cookie crumbles, and now Beppo is alone again.French Letters Visits America
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