The story of the real MishMish is very like my children’s book. MishMish was real .The little girl who believes the cat to be a spy could be my daughter , but she was already an adult when MishMish came to live with us. And our tuxedo cat, Peter, didn’t make it to the book, but he was very much part of her story.
It happened like this.
One warm July day in 2003 while digging gladiola bulbs into the earth, I heard a nearby meow. Not the high-pitched, impatient meow of our oversized tuxedo cat. This was a deeper me-ow, confident of attention. I looked up and into olive-green eyes within an orange and cream tiger face. Her nose was much shorter than our cat, Peter’s, and pink tipped.
“Meow,” she declared again, and emerged from day lilies matching her color. She was tiny and emaciated. Though her stripped tail was thick and fluffy, the fur on her body was limp and unattractive. She looked at me expectantly.
“Wait here, MishMish,” I said, calling her the name everyone in my husband’s country, Egypt, used for an apricot-colored cat. “I’ll get you something to eat.”
But she didn’t wait. She followed me to the back door and repeated her appeal, “Me-ow!”
I brought out bowls of dry cat food and water and placed them down where she patiently waited. She te quickly and looked up for more.
“You’re starving, aren’t you? Where did you come from?” I asked as I added food to her bowl.
MishMish didn’t answer. Just ate and returned to the far end of the garden.
Next morning she was waiting at the back door. Of course, I gave her more food.
“That cat’s ugly,” said my daughter. “Her face is flat; and look at that nasty fur.”
“I think she’s beautiful,” I said. “And she’s very friendly and patient.”
We brought MishMish to Paws, certain someone was missing her. But she had stolen my heart. After three weeks I called Paws, found out she was still there, and paid to have her join our family.