The first apartment I stayed in had beautiful wooden floors, high ceilings and fancy light fittings and chandeliers. It’s decor was also complimented by a lovely ginger cat called Theolonius, shorted to Theo for ease. He owned the place; his pieces of string lay strewn across the floor, his numerous blankets took up the majority of space on the sofas, and his meow bounded through the apartment regularly, informing everyone that he was hungry and he would appreciate some food.
I had never been a cat-lover. I had always grown up with a dog in my home. Cats, to me, seemed to use humans for food and shelter, and they didn’t offer the friendship canines would. However, the more I got to know Theo, the more I came to realise how wrong I had been. He was such a little character and over the few months of living there, I came to fall in love with him and his needy little purrs.
Rachel, my roommate, was incredibly fond of Theo. Despite several scratches on her hands as a reminder that cats have sharp claws and are tempermental, she would adamantly pick him up, squeeze him and give him an hourly hug. She allowed him to sleep in her room, and would frequently wake up to him licking her hair, licking the condensation off the window or playing with a ping-pong on the wooden floor. Despite his late night annoyances, she would insist on leaving her bedroom door open.
When I first moved in to the apartment, I found the idea of a house-bound cat exceptionally strange. Surely they needed fresh air? Why couldn’t he be let outside? He must need some freedom. However, I came to realise that it would be unsafe for little Theo to wander the streets of Montreal. He knew apartment 19, 418 Avenues des Pins, and that was all he really knew. Windows would be left open to ventilate the flat, but the front door would remain firmly closed. I remember on several occasions we heard the doorbell ring and a little old lady who lived in the apartment upstairs would be standing their, a small smile on her face and a frightened Theo in her hands.
“He escaped and ventured one flight of stairs. I heard him meowing outside. He looked distressed!” Theo didn’t fare well at exploring what lay beyond our apartment walls.
He was so popular amongst our group of friends that people would simply drop by to see how he was, regardless of whether we were in or not. He even has his own Facebook page, which is a popular spot for humourous status updates and funny pictures of him. He’s a funny little character – I will miss him very much.