Pishoo was like Venice
She was essentially a decent being, what we call in Persian,
By Saideh Pakravan
January 24, 2002
This article was originally published in Farhad Sepahbody's site. Pakravan is an author and publishes
Chanteh, an English-language
magazine for the Iranian community.
The character traits that I dislike in cats are the same that I dislike
in humans: self-absorption, moodiness, indifference, hedonism, manipulativeness,
a streak of cruelty... everything that was left out of Pishoo the day they
made her. Oh, she was a cat all right. Of that there can be no doubt: she
was graceful and contained as only a cat can be; she was also picky and
liked her creature comforts. But that's as far as her "catness"
In all her sixteen-and-a-half years, she never once harmed any other
living creature. She could stare at a bug forever, crouching in an attack
posture, shaking her rump occasionally to indicate that she was going to
pounce... and never did! She would address the birds who came to visit her
on the deck outsidde, or follow a butterfly through slit eyes, alert and
interested but never ready to hurt. At the height of excitement during the
games she played with us -- hide-and-seek, attack-and-retreat, and variations
-- she was mindful of keeping her claws pulled in so as not to scratch us
In those sixteen-and-a-half years, the place that Pishoo occupied in
our lives not only grew but cristallized in a warm, brilliant core, so that
her death leaves us more disconsolate than most, the meaningful center of
our actual and our symbolic home, gone.
She had many of the qualities you ideally look for in anyone who shares
your life. She was courteous, kind, compassionate, always present when you
needed her. Sometimes, she had obviously been awakened when we called her,
but she still sleepily made her entrance, jumped next to you, and resumed
her nap. Not for her to turn a deaf ear or make a disdainful retreat. Convivial
and sociable to the extreme, she was never as contented as when there were
people around, whether guests whom she could welcome or family members whose
activities she could share.
At a big party last year, with people standing around everywhere, Pishoo
was her customary self, lying on the floor, right in the middle of the dining
room. One guest asked if Pishoo wasn't afraid somebody would step on her.
No, she wasn't afraid, she never had been. I remember that she was still
almost a baby when a little boy, a friend's son, remarked how unusual it
was that Pishoo never jumped like other cats, even when there was a loud
noise or a commotion.
It wasn't that Pishoo was more like a dog. Pishoo was Pishoo. In the
play about Mae West, "Dirty Blonde", one of the characters says
about the actress that she was as idiosyncratic as Venice, explaining that
there is no place on earth about which you can say that it's a little like
Venice. Either it is Venice or it's something else.
Thus with Pishoo. She was a unique little creature unto herself. She
didn't steal, she didn't cheat, she didn't manipulate, and she had no mystery,
no dark corners. Dark corners may be alluring to some; to me, they hide
cobwebs at best, if not some other lurking nastiness. I'd always rather
see airy brightness, with nothing hidden. That's how Pishoo was, with a
flame that burned clear and high. She was essentially a decent being, what
we call in Persian, najib. We were blessed to have her in our lives. All
we can hope is that she is now conversing with the birds and the butterflies
in the meadows of her native Normandy.