Colette (1983 - 2004)
Colette, the dark chocolate brown cat with golden eyes, who greeted visitors around the Jarvis-Nichols Building on Main and Kasten streets in Mendocino, passed away on February 27, 2004. She was nearly 21 years old.
Colette joined the Gallery Bookshop staff as a kitten in spring 1983, and grew up to become the official Gallery Bookshop greeter, first from her basket on the counter, and later draped across books. She slept each night in the courtyard where she was born and every morning would greet the first employee at the door. She loved to be gently scratched on the head, and believed everyone came to admire her, rather than to find books. Colette also was passionate about dogs, growling, hissing, or even attacking to drive them out of the store.
When the Bookshop expanded in 1993, and life as the bookstore cat became more hectic, Colette sought sanctuary in the courtyard, where, through a friendly open door at the neighboring Mendocino Gift Company, she found a quieter home. There she continued her duties of providing a very willing cat 'fix' for visitors away from home and defending the store from cats and dogs of all sizes. As the years slowed her steps, she spent her time in her own chair at the Gift Company, complete with heating pad and kitty-sized steps up to her 'throne'. As her joie-de-vivre and health began to fade, the folks who loved her and cared for her let her pass on with dignity.
Colette lives on in the photo collage of local and visitor critters in the Gift Company and in the paintings at Gallery Bookshop. Colette was a classic shopkeeper's cat, gracing both establishments with her beautiful spirit. Her passing leaves our village with one less old-timer to greet, but one more memory to keep.
A historical note: The first cat-about-store was Leander, whom then-owner Tony Miksak inherited when he purchased the business in 1980.