As this holiday season draws to a close, I am reminded of how much Tatianna loved Christmas. So here is an excerpt from Chapter 14–Tatianna and the Christmas Cat Tree:

“Christmas in the Mohr household had always been a time of great celebration and activity. I wanted Tatianna’s sixteenth Christmas to be the most special one she had ever had. Whether it was decorating trees, addressing cards, wrapping presents, or entertaining friends, Tatianna relished being in the midst of all of the festivities. She was the household’s feline socialite. She loved to greet the company and was quite the charmer…… Tatianna’s favorite trees were the ten-foot live Scotch pine tree in the living room and the three-foot tabletop snow-flocked tree in the dining room…..

During Christmas 2000, the live pine tree showcased exclusively more than two hundred cat ornaments—a collection that had evolved over Tatianna’s lifetime. The Christmas cat ornament collection innocently started in 1982 while I attended a veterinary convention in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. I was shopping in a Christmas store and simply wanted to purchase a souvenir. Little did I know that the purchase of six porcelain cat heads, representing white, black, gray, calico, Siamese, and orange marmalade cats, would grow into a massive collection!….

The ornaments from all over the world reminded me of my special travels. Some ornaments came from Macy’s in New York; Harrods in London; the Black Forest in Germany; Paris; Rome; Savannah; San Francisco; as well as Frankenmuth, Michigan, a German-style village that boasts the world’s largest Christmas store. But the ornament that had long ago captured my heart was a musical gray cat and marmalade cat together with a banner caption over their heads—“If I had but 9 lives I’d want to spend them all with you.” It played “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.” The ornament demanded a special spot on the tree; every year, I hung it at eye level in the middle of the front of the tree. The ornament truly epitomized Tatianna and Katarina…..

Besides all of the cat ornaments, the tree included a wooden beaded cat garland, beanbag-style gray cats that mischievously climbed up into the top of the tree, a cat tree topper, and a cat tree skirt. An orange marmalade beanbag cat adorned in a red Santa hat was sleeping on a branch two feet from the top of the tree. Old-fashioned bubble lights and red bows completed the whimsical tree. It was indeed a tree with a lot of personality, not unlike Tatianna. For a month every year for sixteen Christmases, it was her favorite hideout. Standing near the tree was always a gray porcelain cat doll dressed in a Santa suit that bore a striking resemblance to Tatianna.”

I miss Tatianna this holiday season as I do each and every day. Please take a look at the photos of her celebrating Christmas.  Yes, indeed–in life and in photos, Tatianna was quite the charmer!! 

Bountiful Blessings!