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Friday, May 20, 2011

The Other Dontella Versace

My friends and family will attest to the fact that I have a dog that is trapped inside an exotic cat's body.  As I write this my cat, Donatella is rolling over on demand, which confirms yet again what I have suspected for years. It all began the day I decided to get a cat for my children as a loving distraction after their Dad had taken a great job in California.  I knew my marriage was not headed in a positive direction as I felt instant  relief the day my ex husband left to pursue this wonderful job opportunity. My Father had recently died and life had presented us with challenges that were beyond simple. I wanted something that I could add to our lives that marked the beginning of a positive, happy and exciting chapter for us as a threesome, enter- Miss Donatella - a gorgeous, black, shiny, intelligent cat who we lovingly named in memory of our persian cat, Mr. Versace.

I had read about the Bombay breed in an article years prior and remember being impressed with the characteristics of the breed. They were described as highly intelligent, extremely friendly and a cross between a monkey and a dog. This breed was created approximately fifteen years ago by a woman who wanted to create a cat who looked like a  Mini-Panther. She succeeded and that is precisely what Donatella resembles. They are only bred for show and there are only fifteen or so breeders in the US.  I put myself to the task at hand and found a breeder in Amherst, Massachusetts who had to interview me prior to purchasing the cat.
Oh boy, I don't exactly look or sound like the animal whisperer but keep in mind- I trained a chipmunk to respond. Needless to say, I passed the interview and we drove to Amherst to purchase our new exotic kitty.

We drove for hours and arrived at a small pink cottage on the side of a remote road in Amherst. It  was covered in vines and looked rather haunted but I showed no sign of concern.  There was a thunderstorm and it was extremely dismal that day but we all  excitedly jumped out of the car and rang the doorbell.  The breeder opened the door and there were mini-black panthers jumping in all directions. She had over fifteen kittens and more than six adult cats on the main floor of her home. It was like a scene from a scary movie.
It stills baffles as to how she picked Donatella from the crowd of identical kittens but then again, she was the cat lady.  Prior to leaving, she walked us up a narrow stairwell that was steep and had no railing. We entered a room with a crib in it and I was slightly disturbed yet quickly delighted when I saw a large basket of itty bitty newborn kittens in the crib. They were adorable but clearly it was time for us to leave as my surroundings were rather unsettling.

We have had Donatella for two years and she has brought us great delight. I have taught her how to roll over, fetch and she will bob her head to music- that was not so easy. She responds to her name, comes running when she sees us, answers the door when the bell rings and kisses on demand. Donatella has lived up to the reputation of this exotic and beautiful creature. I highly recommend the breed if you want an outstanding cat in looks as well as personality. Someone call David Letterman, this could be my claim to fame.

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