Book Review/Synopsis



by David Michie

What can I say about this book but that it’s a refreshing outlook on life as seen through the eyes of a very special feline.

As a recently born kitten she and her siblings had been stolen by two street urchins and sold on the streets of New Delhi. She was the last remaining and, deemed unsalable, was wrapped in a newspaper ready to be tossed into the gutter to die.

Due to a traffic backup, as he was returning from the airport, the Dalai Lama happened to be observing this little drama from his stopped vehicle. He asked his driver to approach the boys and offer them an American dollar for the soon to be discarded kitten.

This led to the remarkable relationship which developed with this bundle of Himalayan fur, not only with her holy rescuer, but with whomever else she came into contact. She was given many names and responded to all of them. She became a favorite of the Dalai Lama’s two assistants who called her HHC, “Her Holiness’s Cat”.

As she grew she slowly and carefully began to explore outside of the residential, office and temple surroundings. First down the stairs, then out the door, down the pathway to the gate and finally, one day, out beyond the gate! It was scary for the young kitten especially when she found herself being pursued by a group of shrieking school children trying to catch her. To escape she squeezed into an opening which led to the earthen ground beneath a building and encountered her first prey. Making quick work of the mouse she crawled back out to the now quiet street and went home with her prize. Dropping it on the carpet in front of the two assistants had a caustic effect as they ran around their desks while one picked her up and the other put the mouse gently in a small box. As the chauffer walked in on the scene he was given the responsibility of observing the mouse and when it revived to release it in the nearby woods. He dubbed HCC with a new humorous name Mousie-Tung (Compassionate Mouser)!

Her days were full beginning with early morning meditations and then throughout the day observing the many visitors who came from all over the world to meet with the Dalai Lama. One day he took her, Snow Lion (her favorite name) to the kitchen where she met the special cook. Whenever a guest came to visit, Mrs. Trinci would come and do the cooking and HCC would always be given the choicest morsels.

As time wore on she started exploring further down the street. The tantalizing smells emitting from the Café Franc lured her into the touristy restaurant. A deep growl sent her clamoring for her life to the top of a magazine rack. The café owner came to see what his French bulldog was barking about. Upon seeing the cat he picked her up with disgust and going to the door made ready to throw her across the street. Two passing monks stopped and bowed toward Franc telling him he was holding the Dalai Lama’s cat.

So began HCC’s new double life with a new name “Rinpoche” (Precious). She was fed the finest tidbits while she surveyed the customers from her newly cushioned seat on top of the magazine rack. After all, she was now the famous Dalai Lama’s cat!

Her routine was temporarily broken when she had to leave and go live with Chogyal, one of the assistants. The Dalai Lama was to be away for two weeks and the time would be used to repaint the interior of the building. She was totally upset by her new circumstances and stayed under his bed in protest for three days. Out of boredom HHC finally wandered out and made her way outside to a wall. Sitting on top of it she watched the children play and the world go by.

As the evening dusk came she settled herself on it in loaf position. She felt she was being watched and from a movement saw a strong dark stripped tabby looking at her. She had seen him before and felt a tingling.

The painters finished and she was returned home. She longed for the tabby and would often search for a glimpse of him. However, life returned to normal and she would resume her daily walks to Café Frank. On one such trip a lady who owned one of the shops noticed the cat and started feeding her. Unable to resist, HHC ate the offerings. Back home she started being more fussy, but ate heartily when Mrs. Trinici cooked. All the rich food was having its effect and the vet suggested she start losing a few pounds.

The monks couldn’t figure out why she was gaining weight until they discovered her double life. A few words to all the people feeding her and she started to get back to normal.

Her next trip to the vet was to be spayed. He noted that she was losing weight but would be unable to do the surgery. With a smile he informed the monk that she was going to be a mama!

Snow Lion had many adventures, including being reunited with the two boys, now young apprentice monks, who once had almost destroyed her. They are all told in an amusing manner as she becomes an instrument for expounding the compassionate teachings of Buddhism. This is extremely well done.  So much good can be gleaned from this book – impossible not to do so from the oft humorous cat’s antics.


David Michie has written three other sequels which I look forward to reading. – Marilu Shellie


Follow by Email