A reader asks that I tell a bit more about my cats (baby cat pictured elsewhere in this Web site). If you are not cat crazed, skip this one. There’s hardly a culinary word in here.
Reader mentions that a bit of tuna in water will send most cats into raptures but have you tried what my friend culinarian Matthew Gray calls “kitty caviar”? It’s katsuoboshi, those paper-thin flakes of shaved bonito that are used to make dashi, the basic Japanese stock? While only two of my cats like it, most react as to catnip, sniffing it, rolling in it, throwing it around with their paws and eating it aaaaalllll up. Try to pick up a packet next time you’re in a Japanese grocery store (shaved bonito is in pretty much all grocery stores here). It’s hilarious to watch.
Cat A is Lei Makamae Makana o Lani (The Precious Gift from Heaven), aka Precious, Preshie and Fluff-fluff, so called because it took a very long time and a lot of politicking to get the laws changed at the condo where I then lived to allow cats to be admitted to the building. (If you want to do this, the Hawaiian Humane Society has excellent packets on how to proceed.) He is a grumpy, aging half Siamese half whatever who rarely speaks, pees in corners and is in love with my husband. Or, indeed, any man who comes into the house. I think he’s gay. For me, he has almost no time whatsover. Unless he wants to be fed.
Cat B is Popoki (meaning cat in Hawaiian) a declawed calico who came to me when a girlfriend got a Jack Russell terrier and Popoki (then named Sammy) lived a life of pure hell and terror. I said I’d give Sammy a home if Precious would allow it. She spent three days under the sofa, they made peace and she is a loving if rather sycophantic presence who must sit with me wherever I am. She cuddles, pokes her nose into my arm if I’m not petting, purrs, drools and generally makes a disgrace of herself whenever I sit down. Of course, she isn’t my favorite but I take what I can get.
Because Cat C, Pa’i, the one in the picture nuzzling me on Mother’s Day a year or two ago, is the love of my life and he doesn’t give a rat’s tail for me. He’s known around here as The Stalker, because he stalks around the house. He’s also called pawsucker because, since he was a baby, he’s liked to curl up and nurse on his own paw. He gets into everything; yesterday, I was doing watercolors and he stepped directly into a puddle of rose madder. He whacks me with open claws when he wants to be fed (I have very tender skin and look like a pin cushion most of the time). He NEVER makes eye contact. And he sits in my lap only when HE chooses and for as long as HE chooses and never long enough. His name, Pah-ee, is the Hawaiian word for printing press because he was found, just a few weeks old huddled in a printing press at the shop where my daughter worked. I opened to the door to find her standing there with a cat the size of a cell phone in one hand and all she said was, “You can’t say no.” I said “Yes, I can,” knowing what Precious would make of this interloper but it was to no avail. So, while swearing up and down this cat was NOT making a permanent home for us, I agreed to foster him until he was old enough to go to a new home or the Humane Society. Well, I’m here to tell you that, when you’ve had to bottle feed an infant (no matter what species), rising in the middle of the night to snooze over him while he kneads on you with needle-sharp claws and grinning foolishly into his furry face, that animal is YOURS forevermore. His antics absolutely delight me. I am his slave. I live for the spare moments when he deigns to sleep near me. But basically, he knows I’m his Mommy and doesn’t care.