FOR MONET: LOVE WITH A CAPITAL “L”
May 2000—January 2015
I was Love with a capital L. Love and light. My human named me after her favourite painter, Monet, who painted his impressions of sunlight with loose brush strokes. She thought I was like a white canvas dabbed with the odd brush stroke of colour, including the pale blue of my magical eyes. She said I, too, was a work of art.
I was born to a stray with yellow eyes, so my brothers’ blue eyes and mine must have come from our mystery father. He might have been a Ragdoll; like that breed we were all gentle and super-relaxed. And I got along with everyone. Because I was Love with a capital L.
But I wasn’t especially brainy or athletic. And once I left kittenhood behind, I wasn’t much interested in wrestling and playing tag with the other cats, or chasing little balls and pouncing on toy mice.
In fact, when a real mouse turned up in our home (I guess it wasn’t too brainy either, picking this house of all houses!), the other cats went crazy trying to catch it, while I watched and wondered what all the fuss was about. And if they’d caught it—the human helped it escape outside—I probably would have tried to cuddle it. Because I was Love with a capital L.
When the human took on a small foster dog for two weeks—all the dog rescue people were full up—the other cats were not happy. Some hid the whole time, others hissed and spat at it, even though the dog was known to be very good with cats.
I was nervous at first, because I’d only ever met a couple of dogs in my life, and that was just for a few minutes each time. But I didn’t hiss—I’m not sure I knew how. Purring was my strong suit, purring and cuddling. By day three, I had curled up beside the dog and fallen asleep with him. Because I was Love with a capital L.
And that’s what I did best. Being sweet to other creatures. Curling up in my human’s lap and purring. Gently touching her arm over and over again as she poked away for hours at something at her desk. Looking up at her with my blue eyes full of affection. And I loved to gently head-butt her and the other cats. It was my way of saying “I am here, and I am so happy you are too.”
I purred and gave comfort for nearly fifteen years including, just recently, to my friend Bandit in his last days. When I got sick and it became too hard to breathe, I finally couldn’t purr anymore. But just moments before my pain was ended, I managed to raise my head and gently touch my human’s face with mine.
Because I was Love with a capital L.