The Cats That Own Us, part 3

This is a story about Zorah, Tribble, Zorable, a black marble bengal, he came to us as a returned 6 month old. He had been returned to the breeder, as a problem cat with a fixation on bread.

The breeder is not set up for housing cats that are not breeding; therefore Zorah was housed in a cage most of the time.

She had had several couples say they were interested, but then back out or not show up to view him.

The stress on Zorah was such that he had virtually licked himself bald from mid waist area to the tip of his tail.  (The patterns on Bengals go right down to their skin. As you can see in this picture.)

When we brought him home we also discovered that he has a mild cold and sinus infection that had to be treated with antibiotics, but he was otherwise a healthy cat…….and no problem with bread.  We started off by keeping the bread in a container, but one day forgot.  There was no problem, Zorah never bothered our bread at all.

Soon he settled into our household with joy. It quickly became apparent that Zorah has short vocal cords, so his meows are very soft. Not like loud mouthed Mica. That is how he got the nickname “Tribble”, he sounds just like the fluffy things on Star Trek’s “The Trouble with Tribbles”.

My son came up with the “Zorable”.  I guess that was just cause Zorah is so very adorable.

Now, while I claim the Mica is MyCat, it should be noted that Zorah has adopted our dog Brodie. Whenever, Brodie goes outside to do what doggies do outside, Zorah will pace at the patio doors calling.  My son says he is calling, “Brother come in, brother, brother come in.”  This could be true!  Unfortunately, I am not fluent in cat, and cannot therefore be absolutely sure that that is what he is saying, but it makes for a story.

They are best buds as you can see, soaking up the sunshine, or just napping.

Brodie is not sure he wants to be friends with a cat, but every once in a while, I can catch the two of them snuggling up together.

During the summer you have to be diligent watching for him, as you are letting the dog outside, because he will pop out of the door. We don’t know how many times, we have squashed or nearly squashed him between the patio door & doorjamb.

You don’t have to chase him very far, if he does get out, as he will only go to the edge of the deck. Of course if it is raining or there is snow, he will stop, and look back at you as if to say, “What the hey is going on. Come get me.”

Zorah is a little bit of a bully boy with the other cats. Mica just hisses and runs away. Contessa has raised several litters of kittens, she’s not taking any shit. She gives him the old right paw, and then left if it is needed. Tonka’s getting better at standing up for himself. He used to cry and run away, now he gets a little bit more into some fisticuffs before he takes off.

Strangely enough their food box, which is about 3 1/2 feet off the floor is their “home free”, and the cats will stop chasing each other until they get down. (Funny, if you should ask, “Why is their food box so high?” We would have reply, “That is the height that Brodie cannot jump to eat their food.”)

Don’t be misled, the fighting does not escalate, because Brodie will act as the referee, and if Zorah does not tone it down, he will actually straddle him and crouch down to stop him.

My son said that I should blog about Zorah being clumsy. I asked why I should include that, and was told that Zorah had just fallen off his slipper.

Being clumsy is something that all cats can include in their repertoire.  Yesterday Mica was playing in a clothes basket which was sitting on a table.  He got a little too rowdy, and the basket went one way, and he jumped the other.  Remember the scratches  on the upper staircase railing mentioned in ‘Cats That Own Us, part 2’.

Zorah is of the opinion that everyone needs a cat in their lap, no matter what they are doing.  Daddy’s reading a paper – Zorah climbs into his lap on top the paper.  Matthew is reading – well he just needs a Zorah in his lap.  Mommy is working on her laptop – Zorah can help.

He has also been known to invade Mommy’s lap when she is knitting.  Daddy now calls out a warning, if he sees Zorah coming, and I am knitting.  At least, I can lift the knitting up, and after he settles, I can continue to knit.

Zorah is our only declawed cat.  He came to us that way.  I am totally against having cats declawed.  It is not only removing a cat’s claw, but the procedure involves the removal of the first joint on each toe.  I know people do this to prevent a cat clawing up their furniture, but Zorah is our only declawed cat, and he still uses the scrap piece of carpet we’ve put up or the sisal board.  The other three may use either of the afore-mentioned, but they are just as likely to use the carpet on the floor, chairs, wood moulding, etc.  They are slowing being trained to use the appropriate objects, but as with children, it will take time.  Our cats did not come to us as kittens, and bad habits are very hard to change.

I think it is time to end this chapter, and start composing the next…………. CONTESSA, The Cats That Own Us, part 4

Cats That Own Us, part 2

Illusions, aka Louie (yeech)  MICA, MyCat, Mike, or Sir………….we just love giving our cats pet (sic) names.  Our veterinarian, Dr. Kevin, says we are the only family he knows that has multiple names for our animals.

Having had  Cinnabar for such a short time, but loving the experience of having a cat around the house, we decided to adopt another.  The criteria were for a young cat, but not a kitten.  We wanted to adopt one that needed that forever home.

With the internet to research catteries, we decided to visit one that was about 75 miles from us.

They had advertised a female “Queen” for sale.  A “Queen” is a breeder, and this one was being retired.  Going to see her, we were also offered a retired “Stud”.

Poor Louie was not up for the pressure of mating with a “Queen” in heat.  My husband decided that he preferred the male to the female.  So Louie came home with us; however, even before we reached home his name had been changed to MICA.

Cinnabar was called so because of his colour.  Mica was called so, because bengals can have some hollow hair that will reflect high intensity light.  When the cattery owner shone a 400 watts light on Mica he reflected sparkling gold, much like mica does in stones.

His first chore at home was to unload the dishwasher!   Next he decided he would be our official taste tester.  (Stove had not been turned on yet.)

Water dishes were for regular cats; he wanted & still gets water directly from the tap.  Daddy has taught 3 out of 4 cats to drink from the filtered water tap.  Keeps Daddy busy, he had to retire so he had the time for thirsty cats.

I found that with Cinnabar my wool stash was okay being on display.   Mica showed us what a good hunter he was.  This necessitated a trip to Canadian Tire for a cupboard to store the wool in.  Oh well my daughter appreciated the bookcase…………

He was like a weaver bird, after he got finished winding it around things, in and out, and around and around.  It made for a real good time unraveling it.

These are only two of his most endearing moments

Ah, can you tell which end is up?

Of course then there time to just hang around.

We’ve had all the cats on the upper rail at one time or another.  When we moved in we wondered what caused the scratches in the rail.  Ah………..that would be a cat that lost their balance while doing their high rail act.

MyCat (so nicknamed as he is in fact my cat, has had a bad time of it.  He was diagnosed as “Feline Hypersensitivity”.  This necessitates us dosing him twice a day with a capsule containing amitriptylene & valium.  The pills have to be cut down to his doses, and I found it better to put both medications in a gel capsule.  With a little oil it goes down real quick.  Of course at times he is resistant and can tongue that capsule out one or two times, before I get it far enough down his throat, so there is a deposit, but no return.

We almost lost him when he developed ‘Giardia and Tritrichomonas’ these are parasites, either one can make a cat extremely ill.  We later learned that the breeder had to shut down her cattery, as all her cats were carriers of the parasites.

She refunded our purchase price, but that still didn’t make it easy for Mica.  We had to give him two different medications, they almost killed him.  It took over two years for him to gain back his weight, and to this day he is a very picky eater.  I have finally stopped the weekly weigh-ins, as his weight has stabilized.

Today he is healthy & happy.  Thanks Dr. Kevin.



Coming, Cats That Own Us, part 3 – ZORAH

The Cats That Own Us, part 1

The first Bengal cat we were lucky enough to get for free.  He was a returned kitten (6 mos).

The name that was given to this gem was Simba (yecch), we renamed him Cinnabar.  He was a wonderful cat.  He taught our dog that “Cats rule & Dogs drool”.

He loved the warm dryer full of clothes.

Lying around the coffee table in his box,

Eating snow.  When snow was out of season, he drank water that was poured from the water cooler.

“What’s that saying, “There is no such thing as a FREE LUNCH”.

We had Cinnabar for about 6 months, when I noticed that there was something wrong with him.  There had been no initial vet visit, when we got him, because the “breeder” had said that he was a returned cat.  The previous owner had claimed that she was spending a fortune on vet bills, and the cat was just not acting right.  The breeder advised us not to take the cat into the vet until his next shots were due.  We thought he acted just fine, after the initial, “I’m in a new home, and I’m scared” phase had passsed.  He came when he was called.  He ate well.  He even did gymnastics on one of our kitchen chairs.  Cinnabar was a joy.

At 6 months he was not as active, and I scheduled a visit to the vet.  We found out that he had Feline Leukemia.  Because Bengals are bred from ‘Asian Wildcats’, they cannot be given innoculations with live virus vaccine, because they will get what they are being innoculated against.  They definitely cannot be given Feline Leukemia vaccine, because they will get it.  He was so sick his hemoglobin was down to 10%.  With a score like that an ordinary cat would be dead.

The prognosis was that in his best interest, he had to be euthanized.  The vet said it should be done right away, but I asked that we schedule it for the upcoming Sunday, so my husband could be there too.  It was heartbreaking to lose such a beautiful cat, but in the end I would rather have had him for the time we were given, than have not known him at all.

This resulted in some other acquisitions, one super vet, and 4 more cats.

Stay tuned for Illusions.  The breeder nicknamed him Louie (yecch) or as we call him, MICA.

Cooking up a Blog

My family has been encouraging me to blog, but I could not think of what to blog about.

Whiteladyinthehood suggested blogging about cooking.  Here goes.

Once upon a time a long, long, long time ago there was a young girl who started life as a new bride. My cooking talent was extremely limited.  I could burn potatoes, and having been raised Roman Catholic (back then) meat on Fridays was a no-no.  My sisters would make either scrambled eggs with canned spaghetti, or the dreaded Salmon Loaf. (What a way to waste good salmon.)

I knew that something had to be done, about my lack of culinary skills.  Considering my bigger brother had by then become a chef, and was working in London, England.

Having married a man, whose love of books and knowledge was essential to his lifestyle, I decided that I needed cookbooks to improve my skills in the kitchen.  Thank goodness for libraries.

I would check out 3 or 4 cooking books, and pore over them, deciding which would be more useful to me on a day to day basis.  Betty Crocker’s Cookbook won out as my first purchase.  I still have it after 45 years, and my son & daughter are fighting over who gets it, when I am no longer around.

Over the years ½ a tonne of cookbooks must have come through our doors, thank heavens for being able to research recipes on the Internet.

Monarch Flour had a cookbook available by sending in a coupon.  That book has been used so much the pages were pulling away from the spiral binding.  My husband found a stationery store that sold specialized sizes of binders; he found a 9” by 7 ¼” binder for me.  After punching holes to match the rings, a very good book was saved.

Five Roses had the same deal, although it got some use, the wear & tear was easily fix with duct tape.  Oh yeah, Betty Crocker has some duct tape & packing tape holding her together too.

I love a saying that my daughter has ‘Duct tape is like the Force….there is a light side and there is a dark side, and it holds the universe together’.

My collection of cookbooks has risen to include two books by a local writer, who has collected mostly Mennonite recipes, and written two books, “FOOD THAT REALLY SCHMECKS” & “MORE FOOD THAT REALLY SCHMECKS”.

I also added several Chinese cookbooks to the mix, and, to top off my collection, “The Joy of Cooking.”  All these books were added to my collection only after I had borrowed them from the Library, and tried several of the recipes.

Along with the cookbooks came the cooking shows “The Galloping Gourmet” with Graham Kerr (learned my chopping technique with him), “Yan Can” with Martin Yan (knew my chopping), he taught me how to WOK. Let’s not forget Julia Child, who showed me that even a greatly experienced cook like her could have a turkey squirt out of her hands to land on the studio floor.

My first experiments were with classic meat and potato dishes, with North American versions of spaghetti.  Then we segued into Chinese with simple stir fries, then I got really creative and was making egg drop soup and wontons for wonton soup. We made the wonton dough from scratch, rolled it, cut it, and wrapped it into its little bishop-hat shape.  Notice I said “we”, I could not have pulled it off without my trusty sous-chef (handy hubby).  A side note is that my husband is so handy cleaning up my messes; he can get ahead of me.  We lovingly call him “FLASH”.  Sometimes he even puts away items I haven’t used yet.

Just to let you know, it was so long ago that you could not buy fresh bean sprouts in the grocery stores, only canned (yuck).  So we had to grow our own.  Making stir fries took a week in planning, so you could have the fresh bean sprout.  Now we have a huge Chinese supermarket that just keeps growing in size, and it handles everything one could wish for.

Of course there was Italian cooking going on too.  Pizza (homemade), lasagna, and cannelloni.  “Cannelloni” girl find happiness in the big city? (sic)

Then came Ukrainian perogies, Polish cabbage rolls, and a ‘French’ onion soup, which is superb.

Later my husband and children developed a taste for Hot & Sour soup. That was added to my repertoire.

Mexican was next.  A Mexican themed restaurant call Chi-Chi’s came to town, so “FLASH” decided to treat me to a night out.  The fajitas were wonderful, but the fried ice cream was superb.  The fajitas, tacos, and quesadillas were easy to learn how to make, but I have never tried the fried ice cream. Hmmmm

It soon became obvious to my family that “you can’t take mom to a restaurant, because she can end up making it better”.

Now our city has a “Multicultural Festival” at the end of June, and my son’s favourite food vendors were the Greek\Turkey\Cypriot, who served “Gyros/Donairs” and the El Salvadorian, who served ‘pupusas’.  Gyros/Donairs with tzatziki sauce were no problem, I already knew how to make them, the El Salvadorian well……no, didn’t have a clue.

Then one day my son came home from work saying that an El Salvadorian woman had started at his shop.  She had brought pupusas to work. They are a corn-dough outside with a meat & cheese filling that is served with a light tomato sauce and a side of marinated coleslaw called ‘curtido’.  She was happy to give him the recipe.  Using her recipe and some videos courtesy of YouTube, we gathered in the kitchen, myself, my son, and don’t forget “FLASH”, to start our odyssey into El Salvadorian cuisine.

Now pupusas are made with a special corn flour called Ceratex or Masa Harina that is mixed with water.  You take a piece of dough and pat it out in your hand to make a circle, then fill it with different fillings.  Our favourite filling is ground bacon, pork, and mozzarella with loroco.  Loroco is a Central American vine flower bud, and imparts a lovely flavour.  With the filling in the center of our circle, we pull the dough over the filling, so the filling is now surrounded by the corn dough making a round ball, and then you pat it between your hands to flatten it out.  When it is about a quarter to a third of an inch thick it is fried on a griddle until it is golden brown on both sides.  Serve with the above.

I wish to acknowledge that my developing my cooking skills could not have been done without my family’s support, especially “FLASH”.

Stay tune for all about cookies…………………….