This is a first for the readers of The Daily Mews - a cat called 'Cousin' who is writing a letter to us from Heaven.

 Cousin sunning himself

From: Mr. Cousin
Heaven Avenue
Sky Country

Dear friends,

My name is Cousin, and although it might sound weird to you, Cousin it is and Cousin it will stay.  It actually isn't my fault - my owners called me by this name many years ago, and they had their own reason which I have always ignored, but which they may tell you later.  One thing is that they probably called this annoying grey tabby who lived under the same roof as I, "Chou", because she smelled like an old shoe!

I was born in Toronto, and lived the first few perilous years of my life in a factory where I enjoyed hunting rodents with my comrades, followed by the machines' sounds which caused me to be deaf in my last years (although my masters think old age was the cause.  What, did they think me OLD?).  Anyway, the mice and rats were delicious, and we lived a peaceful life until the factory was closed down and we cats had to flee outside before we were sent to the pound.  May I admit that, had I had different masters, I would have preferred to go to the pound?  Especially because "Chou” was there; she kept hissing and clawing at me.

Along with my two cousins, I prowled around a small Italian neighbourhood, and for a while we had nothing to eat but grass, which explains why I was so thin when we arrived on a long street which was so long that we soon got lost and couldn't find the way back to our cosy little garage!  So we ran around wildly, and finally, arrived at a home which my cousins liked but which I didn't trust at all, especially because there was this "Chou" prowling about...  The shutters were always open and there was a spy staring at us from a window every morning, probably hoping that we would go away - which we didn't, thanks to my cousins!

My cousins gladly ate the food they offered us, while I restrained myself and stayed in a far corner, resistant to all the delicious odours that strayed my way and licked my whiskers.  My cousin Matou always brought me a small share of the food afterwards, though, for he didn't want to see me starve.  While I was devouring, I could often smell "Chou" who obviously wanted to steal it.

One morning, we woke up to my other cousin's desperate shrill.  He was out on the other side of the street, and desperately worrying about a young boy who was throwing rocks at a pigeon - his breakfast!  He must have been terribly angry to the poor child, because he scratched him, turned around, fled, and never came back.

Since that time, Matou - the cousin who was still there - and I were all alone (of course, with the two humans and the dirty "Chou") in this scary neighbourhood, and he finally convinced me to come up on the porch to eat the food "Martine" gave us.  It was terribly yummy, but I always took care to run away as fast as I could as soon as I had gobbled up my share.  Often I was rewarded with a stomach ache for this act which I should not be proud about.  I wonder what "Chou" thought while she was watching me escape.  A scaredy-cat, huh?

"Martine" also convinced me to let her pat me.  There was no sweeter feeling than her hand running across my aching back, and I greatly enjoyed her long strolls at night, when I would follow her in the dark ("Chou" later confessed that she was following ME as well!).  We finally entered their home, and soon, it was ours as well.

I feel I shouldn't go on before you know of a disagreeable event - when Matou got badly hit by a car. My poor cousin stumbled across the street, and got to "Martine" and "Walter", who brought him to a place which I know just too much:  the vet.  He never came back.

Afterwards, as I didn't have his support, finally I decided to trust those humans.  I did right, because they fed me and gave me a home.

One day, I heard them talk about a move.  Whatever a move was, I didn't want to move before I had visited my old friends.  So I dropped by at a few houses, and seven weeks later, met "Martine" on the street.  I had completely forgotten about their existence, but was pretty happy to go back to normal life again.  Of course, "Chou" was still there and she almost ate me when I came back home!

But it wasn't normal life at all.  We "moved".  They packed me in a big truck with "Chou", the impertinent lady who always stared at me with her cruel eyes, and we travelled for ages.  It was awful, and "Chou" was screaming her head off!  I tried to stay calm on "Martine’s” lap, but it was hard.  Finally, we arrived into an empty house.  "Martine" and "Walter" emptied the truck a little, and with the help of big, strong, fat guys (I never forgave them for stepping on my beautiful tail!), they finally emptied the whole truck into the small house.  You can just imagine the mess!  Then they took me out of my cage, and let me explore the house - my new home!  It looked awfully empty, but finally, after "Martine" had cleaned up and "Walter" had built a few shelves for all the stuff, we were fine.  Of course, "Chou" had already decided the basement was hers.

My story is getting pretty long, and I feel I should skip some of the details, but I loved my life so much I want to tell you all about it.  One day, "Martine" left the house, and she came back only a few days later with an adorable tiny human in her arms. She looked very proud, and I felt very happy.  "Chou" only stared and cautiously nipped at the child's arm.  For months I stayed next to the baby, preventing "Martine" and "Walter" from biting her (I'm sure that's what they wanted to do!), and one day, they said it was twenty months later but to me it seems like years, it happened all over again.  Another little tiny human!  She was as cute as the first one, and she stared at me with her big eyes all the time.  "Chou" disliked her even more than the first one - another weird object which stole all her master's attention!

But I didn't care that they pulled my whiskers and played tug-of-war with my tail.  They were such adorable creatures!  Day by day, they grew bigger and bigger, and one day they started to speak. They screamed and yelled and screamed and yelled - my poor ears!!!  "Chou", of course, took refuge in the basement.

But as they grew, they began to understand I wasn't a toy, and they starting patting me instead of biting me, and life became sweeter.  Wow - did I ever enjoy it!

So that is most of my story - small details have been removed, there are so many.  "Chou" passed away (thank God for small mercies!) and so did I.  One day, on a sunny November morning, I moved for the last time - from the Earth where you are reading this letter to Heaven where I am sending it.

Hopefully you didn't find my life too boring.  I certainly enjoyed it, and so did "Walter", "Martine", "Alix" and "Maia".

Also, I beg you to forgive my mistakes.  I am not used in writing in your language.  Meow!

Little licks--

P.S.:  Here in Heaven I have not met "Chou" yet.  I bet she is keeping a low profile in case I should ‘repay’ her for her unkindness to me throughout my life.

Maia Haeberle-Savard - Canada



One Cat is Company

"One cat is company.
Two cats are a conspiracy. 
Three cats is an attempted takeover.
Four or more cats is a complete coup!"

Shona Steele (Australia)

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