When I was a little girl, I was nuts about cats. There was very little going on in my life that was not cat-related. I wrote stories about them, I drew pictures of them, I filled up roll after roll of film with blurry photos of them. When I wasn't playing directly with them, I was pretending that I was one, part of an entire cat community, with characters drawn from our real-life cats and also cartoon ones on TV. I had a rich imaginary social life.

We had outdoor cats, which were often one step removed from feral. They came to the food bowl, but were not interested in being manhandled by a little girl. A few of them would consent to be petted, but they were never snuggly enough for me. Of course, snuggly enough for me was in the love them and squeeze them and call them Complainy range. Since then, I have met cats that are very snuggly, and it makes me sad that I never had that growing up. I understand that it was probably my own fault, though. Maybe they wanted to snuggle, but they feared for their lives.

We briefly had a kitten when we stayed with some friends in a village outside Lyon. It was like renting a kitten for four days. I think Rent-A-Kitten services would be a great success, though they would probably convince everyone that they don't want to own kittens. At least, that was the lesson I learned.

This kitten was named Minou, which is simply French for kitten. Really, she didn't officially have a name, as her owners either called her Minou or what might have been "Kitty" with a French accent, but sounded to me like "Titty." We opted to call her Minou.

Minou, being a kitten, was incredibly playful. I'm used to the lazier behavior of adult cats. Kittens only nap when you're gone, I think. Then when you come home, they spring to life and start batting at your pant leg.  Mostly, they want to play. They might get distracted by a bug or a piece of string, but mostly, they want to play with you. They want to sit on your lap and bat at your hands while you're trying to read. At dinner time, they jump onto the back of your chair. Stand still, and they'll climb up your leg. Minou's very favorite game was Bite. You can probably figure out how it goes.

I feel like a wuss complaining about widdle kitty bites. They don't hurt that bad. At first, I was happy to play with her and let her bat at my hands. She would bite and I would bop her on the head with a finger. But at some point, it just seemed like all biting, all the time. By the end of our stay, we would go to our bedroom and shut the door to escape the teeth of Minou. It was tricky, because she was good at zipping into the room under your feet. Then you had to try and catch her from her hiding spot under the bed while she was attacking you.

As with Remix, we took to speaking for Minou in our own goofy Minou voice. Pretty much the only thing we ever made her say was, "I'm gonna BITE you!" We could make a whole little speech out of her biting plans as she crept across the room, our tender hand meat in her sights. And then the pounce - "here I come to BITE you!"

We were not sorry to leave our bitey friend behind. We own a pitbull and we were glad to be back home where an animal would simply snuggle us rather than attempt to draw blood. But sometimes, I sneak up behind Josh and give him a playful nip on the shoulder...I'm gonna BITE you!

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