Peter and his wife Leslie and their newly born twin daughters, Natasha and Ariel, spent five years living in Cairo. As new parents, daily they had to deal with and worry about raising their twins while living through a revolution.
They were also confronted (as all cat owners are) with the daily antics of their household pet, Morsi, named after Mohamed Morsi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and president of Egypt. The Hesslers had adopted the cat to rid their Cariro apartment of invading mice, living as they were in a first floor apartment in Zamalek, a neighborhood on a long, thin island in the middle of the Nile.
While in Egypt, Peter wrote pieces for The New Yorker and did research for his book, The Buried: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution, which will be published next spring.
Today, Peter and his family live in Ridgway, Colorado, far up in the mountains and far away from the Nile. However, because of the twins and their love of their pet, Morsi is now safely living with them in Colorado. How they got Morsi to the U.S. is worth, if not a novel, a horror story. Peter, an endlessly upbeat writer, concludes this charming and informative essay with, “The first time it snowed, I threw open the door and told Morsi to run as far as he wanted into the forest. He crept up to the powder, sniffed it, and went back to the couch.”
No dummy he. Morsi might be an Egyptian cat accustomed to sun and sand, but he wasn’t born yesterday.