One of the longest lived cats we had was Minoux. She was a princess from the moment of her birth and lived to the full age of 19. She was found abandoned in a shed in Buckingham, Quebec. The person there took her to a local vet and a lady from work told us about her. We said yes, we would take this kitten. When we got her she was so tiny she could fit in the palm of my hand and yet her fluffy tail was longer than she was.
One of the things about Minoux was that she lived with us in apartments and although she would peek out down the long hallways, she did not go out. When we moved to the upstairs apartment of my mother-in-laws we brought in Minoux in her carrier and let her out to explore her new surroundings. She began right away but was totally confused by what probably appeared to her as a hole in the floor. The stairs going down to the main floor. She sat and looked up at us as if to say – What the hell is THAT? She sat and looked at this weird hole in the floor for nearly three days on and off until she finally put her front paws on the step below. With great care and very slowly she made her way down the stairs for the very first time.
Through the rest of her life she never did go down stairs like most cats do but more of a glumping kind of way. Front paws first, the back paws together. Going up, she was perfectly normal but down was a completely different matter.
The first time she explored the downstairs she came across Robert’s mother, who was pleased as punch to see her. As she spoke in French to Minoux to try to coax her to her, Minoux arched her back and hissed at her. That was Minoux’s attitude to Robert’s mother for the thirteen years we lived there. Every time she ran into her, she hissed at her. Funny thing that Georgette was the only person that Minoux ever hissed at. I think she was trying to tell her that she did not belong in her house. Minoux was the boss of all our homes (in her mind I believe) and this lady did not belong.
People who say that cats do not have expressions on their face truly have never lived with cats or paid much attention to them. Minoux was very capable of letting you know exactly what she thought of things. One year there was a lot of construction and mice had fled that area and found their way into the old houses of the neighbourhood. One, in fact, got into our apartment. Minoux was lying beside our dresser asleep when a tiny mouse ran in front of her paws. As she woke and looked at this mouse, Robert said to her – Get it Minoux! She looked up at him and the expression was that of – You have GOT to be kidding! I don’t know where it has been! With that she got up and left the room. Yes, we took care of the mouse. Minoux would no more catch a mouse that she would actually be caught playing.
She did play but if she noticed that we were watching she would immediately stop and leave the area. She had a wonderful game she played with crawling babies. She would lie down where the baby could see her and she would wait seemingly asleep. As the baby would eagerly crawl as fast as they could to her she would move her tail very slowly as if to keep their attention. The very moment that they were close enough to put their chubby little hand on her, she would slowly get up as if she didn’t know they were there and walk away just far enough for the little one to try again and she would lie down again and wait for it to happen all over. This she would do until the little one got tired of trying to catch her.
Minoux also loved tinsel and every Christmas had a few strands. We tried not to put any near her but she loved it and got to it no matter what. She had a thing for the smell of bleach and when a product that we used to clean had bleach in it Minoux would roll in whatever had been cleaned. She never bothered with catnip but bleach had the same effect on her as catnip would for other cats. When she was the age of 14 we gave up trying to stop her from getting any tinsel or roll in the bleach as we figured if it hadn’t ended her life yet, it probably wouldn’t. She would only eat the cheapest of cat foods and only the tuna. Tuna and cheese, tuna and egg, tuna and tuna. It got to the point that only one pet food store in the city of Ottawa carried it and fortunately carried it for her long life. They actually stopped carrying it a couple of months after Minoux had died.