Saturday, May 30, 2020

Misha, the Baby Kitty

Misha's exact birthday isn't known, but we believe she was born in June 2019.  With her first birthday coming up, this seems like a good time to tell the story of how Misha came into our lives.

We decided last summer to get a second cat because Sasha seemed lonely.  He had started to wake us up in the middle of the night crying for attention, and he would practically demand that we brush him several times per day.  Lilly said that Sasha had been much happier when she had had other pets, including Sasha's sister, Mimi, and a dog named Moby.

In August 2019, we went to the animal shelter operated by the Hawaiian Humane Society in Honolulu.  After checking in, we walked to a small building where the youngest of the available cats were kept.  There were about two dozen adorable kittens playing, sleeping, and hiding.  Several other prospective adoptive families were also there, oohing and aahing at each kitty.

We decided right away that we didn't want the one unhappy kitten that tried to escape the shelter each time the door was open.  Lilly and I were getting to know the other kittens, but then a teeny-tiny gray cutie with long legs and big ears caught my eye.  I picked her up, and read her ID tag:  "Donna (short-hair female)."  Well, it was love at first sight.  I said to Lilly, "This is the one."  Lilly looked at the smile on my face, saw how comfortable Donna was with me, and agreed.

Lilly took a picture of the ID tag Donna was wearing, and she went to the office to make the adoption official.  I stayed with Donna where we had found her.  I had convinced myself at that point that Donna was the best kitty in the place (if not the world), and I was determined to prevent anyone else from getting their hands on her.  I held her tightly to make sure no one could take her from me.

Lilly returned with the adoption paperwork, which indicated Donna was two months old, weighed 2.08 pounds, and had just been spayed.  Her size suggested Donna might have been the runt of her litter.  We put Donna in a cardboard pet carrier box and took her home to Kakaako on the city bus.  I protected that box as if it contained the crown jewels of England.

While on the bus, we decided that we would change Donna's name to "Misha."  To me the name invoked memories of Russian literature.  The name reminded Lilly of a Game of Thrones character.

Once we got home, we introduced Misha to Sasha, who did his best to ignore her.  When Misha became too annoying, which was often, he would hiss at her.  She wasn't scared in the slightest, but his reaction was a concern because Sasha was at least 10 times her size.  Lilly said (correctly) that he would quickly get used to her and grow to love her.

A greater worry, however, was that Misha had digestive problems during our first week with her.  We brought her back to the shelter to be seen by a veterinarian, who suggested that we change Misha's food and give her medicine.

We did both, and Misha quickly got better.  No one could have been more adept than Lilly in putting drops of medicine down Misha's throat while I held her wriggling torso.  Misha made it clear she didn't like that medicine at all.

We did a little research and concluded that Misha is an Egyptian Mau.  She has most of that breed's distinctive characteristics, most notably the extra flap of skin that allows her to stretch to run faster.  There's no doubt that she's a natural huntress.

During our first few weeks and months together, Misha would often climb on me to take a nap.  If I was working on my laptop, she would try to walk on the keyboard or even fall asleep on my hands.  We had truly bonded.  Although Misha provoked Sasha often, he learned to accept her, and even show her affection.   We were becoming a true family.

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