I like dogs. We’ve always had dogs and they were always German Shepherds. The dogs instinctively knew their role: to serve and protect. And they did it quite well without ever complaining.
Then there was Misha, a small, dainty bundle of tangled black, white and grey fur that always needed grooming. She established her role rather quickly: she was the center of the universe.
I’m not quite sure how I ended up with her — at the time, I thought I was just cat-sitting for a weekend.
Misha and I had met once before, right after my daughter, a student at UCB, and her boyfriend/now husband adopted her from the local animal shelter. Misha was cute enough, but she was a cat. My daughter had always wanted a cat; I’m not sure why, because as an adult, she and her husband have adopted very large dogs that keep up quite well with my two very active grandsons.
However back in her college days, my daughter had Misha. And, being a cat and somewhat curious, Misha got out of the Berkeley house and was hit by a car.
I got the call at school during lunch.
Mom…daughter was crying. Sob, sob, sob.
Misha got hit by a car. Sob, sob, sob.
I thought that was the end of cat’s nine lives from my daughter’s sobbing. I was wrong.
Mom, she needs surgery.
Honey, there comes a point you have to let Misha go onto kitty heaven.
I tried to be gentle, but good grief, the soon-to-be ex and I were underwriting two kids in college, a bi-coastal marriage with two households, and this was a very young kitten of questionable lineage.
You’d never make that decision about your dogs. My daughter quickly grew very indignant.
Actually we had, but the kids didn’t know it and this didn’t seem like the best time to rewrite history or argue the point.
Besides, Misha had already had the surgery.
Can you put money in my bank account? Please…
We ended the conversation and I headed back to my classroom, where the phone was again soon ringing.
The teacher next door walked in, mid-conversation, and, having kids and animals of his own, quickly pieced together what was happening.
He stood at the door and kept mouthing, It’s a cat. Are you crazy? as I listened to my daughter give the Misha Medical Update.
Did you know they have kitty respirators?
Cha-Ching, Cha-Ching, Cha-Ching, Cha-Ching.
So, by all standards, Misha should have lived the rest of her remaining seven or eight lives with my daughter, who obviously had the cat’s best interests at heart.
But, no, Misha ended up with me.
We had a love-ignore relationship. I tried to love her; she pretty much ignored me. Maybe not totally ignored me, because I fed her and tried to groom her. But it was definitely in the toleration range.
Misha wanted to be left alone until she didn’t, and she wanted to be petted or groomed until she didn’t, at which time she’d hiss and bite or claw. Unfortunately, I never saw the hiss, bite or claw coming so she usually got me. Then, she would walked away, twitching her very elegant tail and feeling very pleased with herself while I nursed my bleeding wounds.
If I didn’t give Her Highness the attention she demanded, Misha would walk out in front of
my our her home, sit on the lawn at the edge of the sidewalk and patiently wait for a neighbor to walk by. Then, the cat would throw herself on her back in front of anyone who strolled by, purr loudly, and wait for a tummy rub.
Everyone in the neighborhood thought Misha was the most perfect, most polite, most beautiful cat they had ever met.
Evidently, I was the only one who knew the truth.