Last week I received some news, that since has given me pause. While I was visiting my brothers in Florida, my wife called to say she was having one of our cats put down. At 17 years of age Pepette was having a very difficult time coping. She wasn’t eating. She was losing hair. She was throwing up a lot. She spent the days sleeping by the heating duct.

Now outwardly I always dissed the cats – we have two: Pepette and Cleo – saying they were the stupidest of God’s creatures on earth. I was always hopping up off the couch to open the patio door to let one or the other out only to turn around within minutes to let them back in.

Cleo and Pepette in a rare moment of peaceful coexistence.

And they weren’t the most compatible creatures. At times there’d be some nasty cat fights in our house, literally.

And cat hair was everywhere.

Pepette was named as such because my step-son wanted to call her Fleurette but my wife didn’t look forward to calling “Fleurette” through the neighbourhood if she went missing. Where the name Pepette came from I don’t know. It almost sounds like we have stutters when we call her. Or at least it used to.

She used to like to lie in the half empty cardboard pop can case on the kitchen floor, which gave rise to me calling her pop-ette.

Her passing hit my wife hard. After all she’s known her almost all of the cat’s 17 years. I came along 5 years later so she’s known that cat longer than she’s known me. At the beginning of my wife’s and my relationship, before we were married, I kind of feigned affection for Pepette letting her climb up on my belly and purr to her hearts content. In the years since then I’ve left the care of Pepette and the other cat, Cleo, to my wife and her son.

But you know what? Pepette never forgot my affection for her, real or otherwise, and has always liked me. She took to me. She accepted me. She’d sit at my feet when I watched TV or sat at the table. She’d purr at me or, as my wife says, got her little motor running. She loved me, unconditionally.

And when I returned from my golf sojourn to Florida on the weekend she was gone. And I never had a chance to pet her one more time, to whisper her name or say good-bye.

Good-bye Pepette.  I loved you.