Outside the fishmonger’s, some young boys were throwing rocks at something and laughing. I saw that it was a frightened young gray and white tabby cat, no longer a kitten but not fully grown. The poor thing was very thin, and very scared. I handed the basket to Erik and strode up to the brats.
“Leave it alone!” I raised my voice in ire. “It’s done nothing to you. Leave it be!”
The urchins scattered, but not without calling a few oaths in their wake. I squatted down and called to the cat, wiggling my fingers enticingly. Eventually, it — he, as I soon noticed — came over to me. A bit more crooning on my part, and he rubbed his face on my hand and began to purr. I picked him up and cuddled him to me.
“You poor thing,” I murmured into the top of his head. “No one’s taking care of you, are they?”
I looked up at Erik; with a resigned expression, he went into the fishmonger’s to buy something to feed the cat who was obviously going home with us. A couple more stops saw me pointing out that we needed bread, butter, and a bucket of milk; Erik went in to make the purchases so that I could hold the creature.
We walked home, the cat content to be snuggled in my arms.
“Well, my dear, it appears we now have a pet,” Erik laughed. “What will you call him?”
“Pierre, I think. It just seems to fit him somehow.” — Excerpt from In The Eye of The Beholder
Pierre, Claire’s cat, is based on my own pet. Paddy was six years old when In The Eye of The Beholder was released; he was two years old when I started writing it. He is now 16 and still plugging along. He usually sits next to the computer when I’m working and, in fact, is watching the letters pop up on the screen right this minute.
It was Paddy’s charming antics that inspired me to give Claire a cat. You may rest assured that, from the moment she rescues him outside the fishmonger’s, Pierre is loved and spoiled.