Ambling along the Pet Express Expo at SMX Mall of Asia, I approach a young lady cuddling a pair of Persian cats. Krysta Agarao is one of the human companions of the scores of furry friends waiting to be blessed by a priest that Saturday morning.

Krysta, a nursing graduate from Far Eastern University, used to work in a Macau casino for two years. “Actually, my sister owns Hershey and Pringles. Hershey is female, bi-color grey and white. She is one year old. She and Pringles were born last June 26, 2017. I helped in the delivery of the siblings,” she recalls.

“Their mom, Miley, was listless that morning. I prepared a big box for the delivery. Later she began contracting and around 11 PM she had a discharge. At 11:45 PM Hershey was born and five minutes later, Pringles followed. I had to wear gloves. Pag nawala ang scent hindi na raw papansinin ng nanay (If their scent goes away, they say the mother won’t pay attention to them anymore).

Unfortunately, Miley died of a kidney disease not long after giving birth. She was five years old.

“We never have them groomed at pet salons. Some are not accepting cats. Anyway, we feel the cats get stressed out there unlike the tender loving care we give them at home. Yes, it entails expenses for the usuals: food, pet visits, 4-in1 shots, and other essentials for their upkeep,” she says.

“We give them dry and wet food and boiled chicken. Scrap food is a no-no. Maglalagas at posibleng mag-LBM (They’ll shed their fur and possibly have LBM).

“Hershey is more malambing (affectionate) than Pringles. We bathe them twice a month with cat shampoo complete with blower.”

Our interview is cut short when the officiating priest calls the human companions of the stars of the show to gather near the stage for the blessing ceremony.

Hershey and Pringles have a colorful and historic lineage. To those who love this elegant cat, it will come as no surprise that the long-haired beauty originated in the cradle of civilization: Mesopotamia, which was later known as Persia and is now modern-day Iran, according to CatTime.com.

Long live Hershey and Pringles!

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s September 2018 issue.