R.I.P. Gros-Bout the Cat (1993-2011)

I am very sad to announce that our beloved 18 year-old cat, Gros-Bout, passed away between 6:30 and 7 this morning as I was getting the kids ready for school. Such news are never a happy occasion, but this is also not an entirely sad moment. She got to live to a more than ripe age considering she did go outdoors from time to time, remaining active and reasonably fit until only a couple of days ago. She faded away quietly in her sleep, in one of her favorite spots: my office couch (2nd only to my laps).

Here are a few Gros-Bout facts to which most of my IRL friends can relate to:

  • She was half my age in regular years (18 to my 36), but my elder by 52 years in cat years.
  • Her name, Gros-Bout,  is pronounced with a silent S in Gros and an audible T in Bout, with as thick a French Canadian accent as you can muster, by design.
  • She was originally named Flipper, because she used to do back-flips as a kitten. No video evidence, unfortunately…
  • Gros-Bout  roughly translates to Chunky Bit. She was renamed because a later cat of ours had growth issues early on and remained tiny for longer than usual (then was fine). Because of this, my wife had named the said cat Ti-Bout (Small Bit). Young Flipper henceforth became Gros-Bout, by association (she had also stopped doing back-flips by then).
  • My wife, Lizanne got her right before moving to Montreal, from Ontario in 1993.
  • I met my wife 17 years ago, so Gros-Bout has been in my life for close to half of it.
  • She moved 9 times in her life, and lived in 3 Canadian provinces: Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia (and back to Quebec).
  • In 1996, a still unknown passer-by saved her life by breaking down our apartment door during the night and rescuing her from a house fire which destroyed our entire home, while we were on a trip. We found her, alive and well, hiding in bushes waiting for us close to the charred building when we came home the morning after.
  • The ONLY thing I own that I’ve had for longer than Gros-Bout is a leather belt which I happened to wear the night of the fire. I still wear it.
  • She used to love jumping in the bathtub with people when she had the chance, as a kitten.
  • She outlived 5 other cats in our consecutive households over the years, despite being their elder.
  • Her favorite past-time was to just lay in any available patch of sun and toast in the sunlight, preferably within 6 inches to 3 feet of me. She did so until the very end, and got to do it even more in the last two years, since I’ve been working from home. By what would have probably been her standards, she had the perfect ending.
  • My hand-attention-grabbing keyboards were probably her worst foes. She repeatedly tried to suffocate them by laying right on top, usually while I was trying to work.
  • No, the hockey net pictured above is not regulation size, it’s a small indoors one. She wasn’t *that* chunky. ;)

Most of all, she was my friend and a true member of our family.
Goodbye sweet Gros-Bout. You will be dearly missed and will leave a hole in our collective hearts.

Buh-Bye Gilles.

Fourteen-something hours ago, I stated the following:

A few days ago, I even stated on Facebook that I had made my peace with the fact that my (NDP) vote would not really count in my riding, the latter being Gilles Duceppe’s, the Bloc Québécois party leader. I also said I’d still be voting regardless, as my civic duty is important to me.

Well… Am I ever glad I (and 20k+ others) did! Here’s what happened later that day:

Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe announced last night he was stepping down as Bloc leader after his party took its worst drubbing in its nearly two decades of existence. […] Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe failed to clinch his own seat in Laurier-Sainte-Marie, losing to NDP neophyte Héléne Laverdière.

via Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe resigns after losing seat.

Even better, he didn’t even lose to what might have been his usual competition (Liberal). Double whammy.

To put things in perspective, here are the previous election’s results, compared to this one, in Laurier-Sainte-Marie:

  • 2008:
    • Block Québécois: 24,103 votes
    • Liberal: 8,798 votes
    • New Democratic Party: 8,209 votes
  • 2011:
    • New Democratic Party: 23,377 votes
    • Block Québécois: 17,984 votes
    • Liberal: 4,976 votes