Raymond 1990 (?)—2005
The Early Years
Little is known of Raymond’s birth. It is believed that he was born somewhere in Paris, sometime around 1990. Although he had presented himself as somewhat younger, an ultrasound taken during his illness revealed that he was at least 15.
Indications are that his childhood was unstable. He had probably lived in several households before falling into the care of one Christine, a Dutchwoman of German descent, living in Paris. This “multicultural” upbringing explains Raymond’s remarkable facility with languages.
Finding herself unable to provide Raymond with the standard of care and attention he required, Christine ceded custody to Jeanne in December 1995. Raymond adapted with gusto to his new apartment which was three times larger than his former studio residence. He applied himself to the task of adjusting his personal dimensions to match his environment. In short, he put on weight, a development which he accepted serenely.
The Middle Years
Due to Jeanne’s frequent and highly irritating business trips, Raymond was forced to become acquainted with a panoply of Parisian neighborhoods. From the Latin Quarter to the notorious Barbés, Raymond explored Paris in depth. He made himself at home wherever he was deposited and became a particular favorite of the Islamic community (noted for their appreciation of cats).
Raymond’s ample fur kept him comfortable throughout Parisian winters which could not be said of Jeanne. In 1999 she moved to sunny Nice. Although the airplane trip to Nice is best forgotten, Raymond was delighted to find himself with an entire balcony at his disposal. The sunshine and sea air further sparked his appetite which required constant and largely futile management.
The Later Years
Jeanne’s job required less travelling and more time in front of the computer which suited Raymond perfectly. He was pleased to help her work by regularly testing her keyboard, “reorganizing” her papers, and demanding ergonomically important snack breaks.
Soon after arriving in Nice, a young, pretty female kitten inserted herself into Raymond’s space. Although initially wary, Raymond found that he and the female (Preka) could pursue various sports together which included soccer, tag, hide & seek and wrestling. Eventually the relationship cooled as temperamental differences surfaced.
The appearance of John in Jeanne’s life was initially a source of consternation for Raymond. He was particularly disturbed to find his bed space reduced from 3/4 of the bed to an area that more closely corresponded to his actual (substantial) size. In addition, his life experience with humans had not included the smaller variety, to wit, John’s kid. At first baffled by Cédric’s small size and apparently limitless energy, Raymond eventually grew to accept him, if warily. His jealousy of John gradually abated and then disappeared as he learned to accept John’s manly guidance and affection.
Truly, his later years were the most emotionally fulfilling for Raymond. He was fortunate to find a second home with David and Ginna who showered him with attention when Jeanne was necessarily absent. He was the center of many social events, feasted on a spectacular sea view (and other goodies) and enjoyed a warm and welcoming bed at night.
His long illness was marked by a steady loss of weight and energy but Raymond courageously submitted to all required treatments, pills, injections and other indignities. He enjoyed a remarkable quality of life till the end, remaining interested in household events and seeking the caresses that were so freely given.
In his entire life, Raymond was never seen to attack another living being. He loved and trusted human beings, confident that we are as incapable of intentionally causing harm as he was. He saw only goodness in us, never our dark side, which, at least, gives us something to live up to.