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.

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12 Comments on “Adieu Petite Zazou”

  1. Andi Says:

    I am sad to hear about this little ones fate. You have a much healthier attitude than I would have about it! My cat is an indoor cat and has gone back and forth to France with me. She likes to sit out in the sun of our terrace but never wanders beyond the terrace and sleeps by my side every night. I am glad you still have one cat around to bring you comfort.

  2. Sandra Gilmore Says:

    Our Bogart was 20+ when he died of natural causes. He was a feral cat that looked exactly like a seal point Siamese when we adopted him off the street as a kitten. When we moved to the NW he continued to want to go outside in the summertime. He too disappeared one day. I was heartbroken. Eleven days later when we were about to leave for the airport, I heard meowing on our back deck….and there he was…a little skinnier but alive. I hope Zazou returns, but your life has been richer for her.

  3. Brother Mark Says:

    I don’t know if you remember our calico cat, Missy, daughter of your Jamila from more years ago than I’ll ever admit to. She was Mom’s all-time favorite cat. She walked out on us a few times, and always managed to make her way home after her adventure, sometimes with gifts in hand (well, mouth actually). Once she climbed a tree and couldn’t get down. Hunger and homesickness finally gave her the gumption to figure her way out of her predicament. Don’t give up – you may be surprised!

  4. Rebecca Says:

    We lost a very dear canine friend last week because he was also given the gift of being allowed to follow his natural ways. While it is sad to lose life so young and in such a manner, what a tremendous gift to have given Zazou- to allow her a natural life!

  5. geri Says:

    “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.”
    Abra…you are a smart cookie & fine writer!

  6. Lauren Says:

    So sorry to hear that Abra. I had that fear myself when I heard the coyotes last weekend. They were so close! Although you never know. Our neighbor had his garage door open and in Alex went, curious creatures as they are. It took over a week for us to find her there!

  7. Nancy Says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, if Zazou is truly gone. At our home we go through this time and again: do we keep the cats inside and safe, even though they become unhappy and make us miserable? Or do we let them out to take their chances with their lives and our hearts? Until this month we’d gone almost 3 years without losing anyone to the woods, and now I’m asking myself the same questions again.

    Thank you for putting a better voice to the dilemma, the fun and the loss than I could have done.


  8. She was a very beautiful cat.

  9. Lori Says:

    I remember your posts when you first got her in France. I am with those that thinks she might just turn up yet, having experienced the same with my pets a few times. Although my current cat will bolt out the door before we can catch him if there is a deer to chase (he thinks he’s a lion), once he realizes he is out, he gets scared and starts panting heavily. Doesn’t move until we pick him up and bring him back inside.

  10. barry Says:

    As a fan of Beppo and Zazou , I am so sad to read this Abra . Thank you for your spiritual take on Life , it is an inspiration .

  11. Shirley D. Says:

    We have 2 cats adopted from the animal shelter, Paris & London. Paris sticks pretty close to home, but London has wandered off for a few days off and on. She just came home after being gone 2 months! Don’t have a clue where she’s been, she didn’t look any different, seemed to be well fed. We also have predators around us and thought for sure she was a goner.
    Just catching up on your blog since you came home from France. My best to Shel.
    We have our winery up for sale and will head to Provence for 6 months as soon as this all happens.

  12. Debra Lane Says:

    Abra, I’m so sorry to hear this! I have had this happen also in the past so now our 2 cats are house kitties, except when they practically push us down to try and get out when we open the door.


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