for the babette

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The Babette came to us in the early 2000s. A family friend brought her over one afternoon, knowing that we were suckers for displaced animals. She was one of two cats belonging to a woman who was relocating to the East Coast; only one cat could go on the plane back East, leaving the other an orphan.

She was no ordinary orphaned cat – a Doll Face Himalayan with gigantic blue eyes and an amazing coat of fluff – she was magnificent. I think it was love at first sight for my sister, who decided on the spot that the cat would be hers. We originally named her the Baby because she had the face of a girl we had given the nickname to a few years earlier. We later decided her persona was that of a fancy French lady, so she was eventually dubbed the Babette.

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The Babette was one of the girls. She would sit on the couch with us while we gossiped over cocktails and read magazines in my sister’s apartment. She loved male attention and flirted with all of the boys that came to visit. She liked pretty things. We joked that she would play dress-up and put on vintage costume jewelry and expensive perfume while my sister was away at work.

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She wasn’t like other cats, and interestingly, other cats didn’t quite know what to make of her when she would walk up to greet them, almost as if she was of an entirely different species. Unlike most cats, the Babette was incredibly social and loved being around people and making new friends. She was playful and kept herself entertained for hours – we could always hear her playing and chasing balls around the apartment. Most importantly, she was a devoted companion and really took care of my sister during a very sad time. In my mind she’ll always be a tiny little hero. We’ll love her forever for that.

It was obvious that her age was catching up with her over the last few months. At times she seemed confused and she was beginning to feel frail. But she still managed to leave her perch and sneak outside to sunbathe almost every day. And she was affectionate until the very end. The day before she passed, I found her lounging in her bed on the front porch, enjoying the late afternoon sun. She looked like a glamorous old lady in that golden light. I think that’s how she’d want to be remembered. A glamorous old dame. Our sweet Babette.

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