La Jolla resident Tony Lovitt said he never considered himself a cat person, until he inherited a Persian cat named Mina. Mina was 12 years old when she made her way to Lovitt and stole his heart.

“She lived with me for almost seven years — one month shy of her 19th birthday,” Lovitt said. “I really loved her.”

But, just before her 19th birthday, Lovitt was faced with the difficult decision to put Mina down. The beloved pet was diagnosed with feline lymphoma, which slowly took over her life.

“When Mina’s ashes were delivered, an attached card from the vet, Governor Animal Clinic in University City, said that a donation had been made to the Arbor Day Foundation and that five trees had been planted in the Chippewa National Forest in Minnesota as a ‘living monument to your companion,’” Lovitt said. “I was deeply touched by the vet’s gesture and immediately inspired to write the book.”

The cover of “Five Trees for Mina.”

Lovitt is the author of the recently released children’s book, “Five Trees for Mina.” He said he hopes the book helps children and their families cope with the loss of a pet, but also encourages readers to support organizations such as the Arbor Day Foundation.

“I hope the story will help children cope with the loss of a dear pet and motivate them to have trees planted to memorialize their pet (or pets),” said Lovitt, a professional writer. “I think doing so is a wonderful tribute. Knowing that there’s a living, growing tribute to Mina somewhere in the Chippewa National Forest gives me great comfort.”

The book also offers other messages to readers, said Lovitt, who has lived in La Jolla for more than 20 years.

“I also hope the book serves as a reminder that caring for a pet is a long-term commitment and responsibility,” Lovitt said. “Also, that veterinarians do some amazing work and have to deal with the death of animals on a daily basis. Dr. Julie Sorenson of Governor Animal Clinic was Mina’s vet from Day One and I pay tribute to her in the book. She cared for Mina for nearly 20 years and did so as though Mina were her own cat.”

“Five Trees for Mina” is available in softcover ($11.95) and Kindle e-book ($3.95) versions, both in English and Spanish (“Cinco Arboles para MIna”) on Amazon. For more information about the book or to contact Tony Lovitt, email [email protected].