Acquired: Breeder (professional)
Posted Feb 03, 2014
My mom is a pet person. My dad is not. My dad will tolerate dogs, my mother loves cats.
So for the most part I grew up in a feline-free house with dogs underfoot.
Then one year, when my parents went through a rough patch, my dad decided to declare his undying love for my mother by getting her a cat for Christmas. It was the ultimate act of self-sacrifice and my mother knew it.
You have to understand that my dad is a notoriously bad gift-giver. His fails fall into the “epic” category - pink candles from Pay Less for their anniversary one year, and a vacuum cleaner for her birthday a few years later. Really atrocious stuff. And that’s if he remembered at all.
So dad outdid himself that Christmas with the most adorable Balinese kitten, complete with a sky blue ribbon around her neck. My sister and I had a lot of fun hiding her in our room on Christmas Eve - but we were Santa’s helpers and no job was beyond us, including stashing a mewling kitten.
I’ve never seen a person more gobsmacked (to use an English phrase) than my mother that Christmas morning. Mom actually cried. And then she named her kitten Mischa.
My mother and Mischa were inseparable. Mischa was everything my mother ever desired in a cat - companionable, opinionated, beautiful beyond words, gentle - unless confronted by an irritating canine. Then the claws came out. And she’d get miffed if one of them broke on the dog’s nose. She’d stare at her paw like she’d just broke a nail.
Mischa was a wonderful cat. I honestly have nothing but praise for her. She had good health her whole life, her needs were straightforward, and she had all the independence and gravitas one could wish for in a cat.
It broke my mother’s heart when Mischa passed on after 17 years.
And my dad was there by her side, holding her hand, through it all.