One of my first experiences living with cats came when I did an internship in Bend, Oregon. I lived with one of the reporters from the paper, and she had three cats. In my book, this is starting to verge on Crazy Cat Lady status, but it was fun seeing the cats’ different personalities, and I ended up liking the cats much better than the roommate. Unfortunately, the cats could not say the same of me.
Not having lived with cats before, I wasn’t used to the way they constantly get under foot. As I put my dinner into the oven one night, a kittie rubbing against my legs, I heard a yelp. A terrible yelp. I looked down and saw that I had closed the oven door on the cat’s tail. Horror! I yanked the door open, and the cat darted across the family room and hid in the corner. Within seconds, the two other cats surrounded the wounded cat to check on him. They gave me the evil eye. The cat — and its tail — survived just fine. But I’ve been obsessive about cats and stoves since then.
Until Monday night, that is. Winston is always such a pain in the kitchen. This is mainly because he jumps on the counter and pokes his nose into whatever I’m preparing. He enjoys the following foods: all meats and fish, eggs, cheese, milk, pasta, leafy greens, bread, melon and beans. So he can find something he wants to nibble nearly every time I cook.
So anyway, Monday night, I was preparing dinner. I had put some chicken in a pot on the stove, and Winston was milling around on the counter. I got distracted as I lit the fire. When I looked back, Winston had leaped back, and he was squinting his right eye a little. And then, wait, what was that burning smell? One of the whiskers over his right eye was black at the tip and several other whiskers had curled over. Egads! I scorched him. Massive guilt. I know cats have feeling in their whiskers, though I’m not sure if the whiskers sense temperature.
He did forgive me after a few cat treats, but his whiskers are still kind of hanging in front of his eye so that I continue to feel guilty. I hope he has a short memory.