When I am in a place in my world where I find myself questioning what it is all about, I have found some circumstance often presents itself to reaffirm my faith. About three weeks ago a small black and white cat made her way up our hill screaming at the top of her lungs. There were so many burrs and brambles in her coat she looked as though she’d intentionally tried to camouflage herself as a tree. I happened to be out front working in the yard when she flew across our driveway practically propelling herself into my arms. Since then, it seems, I have become Mom.
After inspecting this most unexpected visitor, we found her to be very bony and definitely experiencing a Prozac moment without any medication at hand. I filled a bowl out front with water and got her some of Miss Boo, the Queen of Cat’s food and set it out in another. Before I put the bag down she all but laid in the bowl and rolled luxuriously in the kibble before consuming the entire bowl in what I would guess was a Guinness Book of World Record time. Wow.
Boo, our resident inside cat lives a pretty good life since she tagged me on the arm from the inside of an SPCA cage six years ago. Beautiful in spirit as well as color, Boo has Caribbean blue eyes, and a short but prolific white coat mottled with a calico print of earth colors. Following her brief stint in the “big house” she has come to expect her bowl filled with her favorite treats and goodies, her catnip mice provided on a regular basis, and as much love as she’s willing to allow us to provide .
Mouth’s presence (duly named because she seriously never stops talking) is not a source of jubilant rejoicing for Boo. Mouth shows up for her early morning meal on the front porch as soon as the light goes on in the kitchen. Boo, with extreme Joan Crawford bearing, sits just inside the window by the front door where they face off like mirror images of one another in a speechless standoff. I believe if Boo had a middle finger she would salute Mouth through the glass to indicate this was her house, her territory, and her humans, not necessarily in that order.
Boo, is a strange cat. If offered a piece of salmon or tuna she will turn to look at you as if you had just tried to slip a drop of arsenic in her water. Not having any idea what goes on in her furry head, I am, however, always intrigued at the reactions she exhibits to what’s happening in the world around her. Sometimes she’ll just sit and stare at me as though I have spinach in my teeth or am wearing my underwear outside of my pants, which is a little unnerving.
In watching the young cat I discovered she is so deprived of contact that any show of affection offered is greeted with a grateful and enthusiastic response falling just short of gleefully humping your leg. I gave her food and water in plastic containers at first, but then in a moment of total weakness, purchased some cat dishes on the discount counter at Raley’s that she could have for her own.
The interesting thing about watching the progress of this skinny young cat is that she loved her new dishes to the point where she laid in them and rubbed herself all over them as if declaring that they were hers. After that I put out a small mattress that I had made a long time ago for Boo but she had outgrown. Mouth fluffed it, rubbed on it, placed it where she wanted it, and made it hers as well. This got me to thinking about the faceless homeless people who pass us every day with their few possessions guarded carefully in a shopping cart and quite often accompanied by a small dog riding happily in the kid’s seat for company.
It took me four years to convince my other half to allow me to bring a cat in the house. Back in the B.S. portion of his life (Before Susie), he owned a cat that had a compulsive urination problem. Despite numerous vet visits and several final desperate appointments to a cat psychiatrist who billed out at an incredible $150.00 an hour, a cure remained elusive. In the end, the obsessively piddling cat deposited enough urine onto Rick’s expensive new carpet to result in not only tearing up and replacing the entire carpet, but also the pad, and the subflooring at a cost of $5,000 not including doctor’s visits. This, understandably, did not leave him with a good taste in his mouth for those of the feline persuasion.
My son and his wife also sent their two felines, George and Gracie, to a kitty shrink. It seemed Gracie had been acting somewhat depressed. Really? How do you arrive at this conclusion with a tabby? After many sessions it was determined that Gracie felt threatened by her environment as well as early weaning syndrome and she was given a script for Prozac. I’m not lying here. After the prozac regimen began Gracie simply sat wherever she was deposited and either stared mesmerized at the twirling ceiling fan over her head or examined a piece of lint under the coffee table for four hours. Maybe the poor cat just needed to go outside and catch a mouse or two? Who am I to say, I haven’t an advanced degree in feline behavior and although I have four years of Spanish, I don’t speak Cat.
At any rate, we have a new member. I caught my other half outside yesterday petting her and placing her on her new blanket. Awww. Last evening I went out to take out the trash and found a buck, two does, and two tiny Bambi’s with full spots lined up at the cat’s dish taking turns finishing off her dinner. Hearing a tapping at the window I turned to find Rick staring out shaking his head and mouthing the words “don’t even think about it”. Okay, okay. How would I get them in the moving van anyhow?
“Of all God’s creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the lash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat.” – Mark Twain
Caesar Romero Nachos
10 6″ Flour tortillas
1/4 cup EV olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups rotisserie chicken (garlic if possible)
1 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
3 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 cup diced Roma tomatoes
3 green onions, sliced thin
1 2 1/4 oz. can black olives
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut each tortilla in 6 wedges. Place in single layer on cooking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt.
Place in oven and cook for 10-12 mins. Check regularly as flour tortillas will burn and remove when golden brown and crisp. Let cool. Add additional salt if needed.
1 cup Newman’s Lite Caesar or equivalent
1/3 cup Lite Ranch Dressing
Whisk together well and refrigerate until ready to use.
Assembling the nachos:
Cut chicken into serving size pieces. Toss in a bowl with 1/3 cup of dressing and green onions. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In separate bowl toss lettuce with 1/3 cup of dressing and ground black pepper. Set aside.
Preheat oven to broil.
Place chips on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan. Top with chicken/onion mixture, 2 Tbsp. dressing and remaining Parmesan.
Place under broiler until cheese melts.
Top with lettuce, tomatoes, and black olives. Serve with extra dressing. Yum.