A short, sweet life: Miga Maeckle Rivard April 2021 – May 13 2022

Our sweet and adventurous kitty Miga was hit by a car on the morning of May 13 and perished. It was the end of an all-too-short life for our fearless domestic shorthair.

She joined us just over a year ago when our friend Ahmed Sharma brought her into the family. Shortly after her arrival, we named her Amiga, or Miga, for short, because she was everyone’s friend.

Miga assumed total control of all dog beds. Cacteye did not contest her dominance.

The greyish-brown striped feline started her life indoors, a cuddle bug that adored kneading the lap, belly or chest of anyone that provided a warm-body and horizontal surface. One of her favorite places to sleep in the early days was right next to your face on the same pillow where you rested your head.

As she grew up and gained more confidence, she assumed total control of our dog Cacteye’s dog beds. Inside or out, she reigned. He didn’t seem to mind, perhaps because she was such a willing playmate.

The two forged a quick and deep friendship. Cacteye, another rescue, and Miga would famously wrestle each other in the bed covers in the mornings, getting tangled in sheets and blankets and fake fighting with extended paws. In the evenings, they played chase in the front yard, taking turns hiding from each other, then pouncing in play.

Cacteye and Miga were great friends and loved to wrestle.

Miga adored toys and playtime, and never turned down an offer of catnip, which she would find in the garden or on the kitchen window sill. Rubbing her face in the green foliage, she would then roll around on the ground or floor, winding down from a long day of playing, eating, sleeping and hunting.

Miga gets her catnip on.

Over time, Miga became an accomplished killer. She massacred cockroaches, mice, geckos and even some butterflies, hiding in the foliage of our downtown pollinator garden and joining us on the front porch in the evening as the sun set. One of her favorite perches for pursuit was an oak tree in the back yard, which was inhabited by a squirrel family. Miga would await their movements, stalking the tree and and climbing up its young trunk, but the squirrels were too fast for her.

As she gained confidence and grew towards adulthood, Miga became more confident and adventurous. In recent months she preferred to sleep outdoors on Cacteye’s cushy dog bed, than join us and Cacteye inside.

Miga massacred mice, roaches, and other “intruders” that dared trespass on her yard.

Perhaps this contributed to her demise. On the morning of March 13 a kind woman rang the doorbell and asked if we had a cat. She had noticed Miga dead in the street in front of our house and had taken the time to pull over and put the body on the sidewalk. She noticed the Airpod tracker on Miga’s collar and tried to locate us, but to no avail. She then asked our neighbor if the cat was his, and was directed to us.

It looked like a quick death, but the pain for our family will be long lasting. Miga’s short addition to our lives enriched us greatly. We miss her already.

Miga on the prowl.

Rest in peace, sweet Miga. You will be forever loved, always missed, never forgotten.

Houdini Maeckle Rivard: sweet, independent kitty, 2005 – 2020

The charmed life of our sweet grey rescue, Houdini Maeckle Rivard, came to an end on September 11, 2020–almost exactly 15 years after she entered our lives that same month in 2005.

Rescued from her cage at the Alamo Heights Pet clinic where 18-year-old Alexander Rivard worked as a vet tech, the grey cat with bewitching green eyes joined our family and became a much loved companion.

Houdini learns how to drink from a faucet from big brother Chester.

Houdini quickly made friends with her big brother, Chester the cat, who taught her how to drink from a faucet. She and Cocoa, her canine sister, would carefully exchange sniffs, and after years of cautious courtship, became great companions.

Initially, she was meant to be Alex’s cat, but when school took him out of state, she became a fulltime member of our pet entourage.
 And why the name Houdini?

“I named her that because I was super into a movie about Houdini at the time,” Alex recalled years later. He referred to the 1953 classic, “Houdini,” starring Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. 

Houdini graced the family’s 2005 holiday card.

Shortly after joining the household, Houdini served as cover feline for the family’s 2005 holiday card. Her captivating green eyes peeked from an adorable face of fur and whiskers, the perfect image to accompany our seasons’ greetings sent to friends and family.

Ferociously independent, Houdini embodied a classic feline aloofness toward humans. Petting and engaging were on her terms only; but if she felt like climbing on your belly and kneading the covers while you relaxed on the couch, you were expected to comply.

And we did.

“Make me.” Houdini loved the ranch and often refused to leave, climbing trees to avoid the car trip.

Houdini despised riding in the car and would wail and screech on every trip. So as not to leave her unattended, we would take her to the family ranch on weekends. The two-hour drive was a nightmare for all.

But upon arrival, Houdini would bound from her cage and climb trees, chase birds and mice, and lounge on the porch. Like the rest of us, she never wanted to leave the Llano River property and would often hide under the house or climb a tree to avoid the dreaded car trip home.

When we moved downtown to Arsenal, Houdini enjoyed splitting her time between the two households that comprised our family compound. She would make her way across the yard from our house to that of family matriarch Oma, the 88-year-old Hilde Maeckle.

Oma adored Houdini’s company, and would crack open the canned cat food, invite her in for treats and pets, and the two would keep each other company on Oma’s couch.

Houdini get tipsy on catnip on Oma’s porch.

Houdini enjoyed a dose (or three) of catnip on occasion. She preferred her catnip fresh, still in the ground if possible. Typically, she would sniff out the herb in the yard, roll around in its leaves and become visibly intoxicated, rolling and lounging in a catnip stupor, enjoying her own feline happy hour on Oma’s porch.

We figured Houdini was part Russian Blue, a breed of cat famous for its thick grey fur and green eyes. Houdini’s hefty coat always appeared well-groomed and tidy and she never scratched herself or had fleas. Only once did she suffer a cat fight–when a feral cat from the alley entered our yard and attacked her from behind. The wound required stitches, but she healed well. 

Houdini Maeckle Rivard

In her later years, Houdini stopped eating and meowed alot. She spent most of her time sleeping.  She enjoyed the pollinator garden between her two homes and in true character laid down to die there under an Esperanza bush on September 11, 2020.

She now rests alongside her buddy Cocoa under a large pecan tree that front’s Oma’s porch.

Rest in peace, sweet Houdini. We miss you and love you and will never forget you.