For many of us February is the month of love. Valentine’s Day is often considered the ultimate day to celebrate the relationship between lovers. Many people buy expensive gifts, such as large diamond rings as symbols of their love for each other. However, there is also the instinctive form of love between parents and their children. This is, however, not only limited to the human world. There are many stories of love in the animal kingdom. The story behind my 8” x 10” acrylic painting “Mimi and Momo” is one of these love stories.
Mimi and Momo, whom my children and I named despite my husband’s advice of caution, were two little kittens who were part of our family for about two weeks. We don’t even know whether they were male or female, we just liked the similar names for the tiny creatures who only had each other.
Our Australian Shepherd Alex must have found them a couple of days before we realized something was hiding in the little cave under some big rocks. We had noticed for a couple of days that Alex always gravitated to the same spot in our yard and despite being a well-trained dog, hardly followed our commands when we called him. Finally, we followed him and saw those two tiny kittens. We don’t know how old they were, and how long they had been abandoned.
They were crying and seemed quite starved. Therefore, we decided to take care of them, and they eagerly ate the kitten food we bought.
While Alex cared for them like a mother, knowing instinctively what to do, our female Golden Retriever Candy clearly did not want to be involved. Her motto was “Stay away from me, and I will not bother you.”
I don’t know whether it had anything to do with Alex being a shepherd, but he made sure that the two little ones stayed close. He carried them back to the kitchen or closer to the house if they wandered off on the lawn. He licked them clean, watched any of their moves.
For about two weeks we had our pleasure watching those two little kittens discover the world. The black and white kitten Momo was quite timid, but Mimi who was grey and white was very curious. They were just so cute to watch.
They really seemed to thrive until they suddenly got very sick. When Momo died within hours we were very sad but took extra special care of Mimi who seemed fine. However, she also got sick about a day later. We tried to get help for her but she did not survive either. We were told that the two little kittens probably did not have enough antibodies from their mother’s milk.
We were all quite upset but Alex was devastated. For days, he kept looking everywhere for them. We were just glad that the two did not infect Alex.
A couple of weeks later, we found out from a neighbour that the their mother had even more kittens. We don’t know what happened to them after their mother was found dead at the side of a road. Mimi and Momo probably were the strongest ones and therefore lived the longest. I am still sad when I think about them and angry when I consider that so many people still do not sterilize their cats. There are so many stray cats fighting for their life, the humane societies are overrun with them.
Nowadays, we have another cat at home, a former stray that we adopted from a young woman who had taken him in from the street. We got Miko when we had so many mice in our basement that I refused to go down anymore.
Alex always likes to chase Miko during the day when he moves too fast while Miko reigns over the house in the evening. He even gives Alex the occasional sniff and kiss. However, since Candy passed away about half a year ago, the two of them have come closer. Alex tries to play with Miko but so far Miko is not interested. It would be nice if they interacted more because I know Alex misses Candy. We do a lot with him, but sometimes he still seems lonely.
This year, I finally plan to finish my painting of Candy and Alex that I started two years ago but I am sure I also have to do a portrait of our cat. My daughter is constantly asking me to paint Miko. She is right, a portrait of him is more than due. I took many photos of him so I should find some that are good reference photos for my project.
If you have a furry family member whom you would liked to have painted please do not hesitate to contact me by email at kpeters@DomingoInformatics.ca. It would be my pleasure to discuss the options with you so you will have a unique lasting memory of your pet.