Myrah, my cat, has caught on fire. Twice. The first time I lit a candle she became fascinated by it. Mesmerized. She continued to force her nose closer and closer to that tealight sized flame. She was not deterred by her whisker ends turning black, curling in like the Wicked Witch of the East’s feet, the odor of burning plastic filling the air or even just the survival instinct to stay away from extreme heat. No, nothing would stop her from touching Fire. Unfortunately Fire isn’t the cuddly sort, as you get closer it continues to push you away and if that means making a little less of you, that’s okay with Fire.
She went for a different tactic the next time the irresistible draw of heat scratched her furry head. Shortly after her first encounter, Myrah came to visit me in the kitchen, noticed that I was opening a hot oven and thought “hey, I could jump in there.” I caught her as her front legs left the ground and her back legs prepared to leap.
I became a little more cautious with my pyromaniacal cat. Not quite cautious enough ’cause some time later I let my guard down.
The allure of filling my house with the fresh scent of wild berry and clove overcame me and I lit a second candle. Not wanting to repeat the burning whiskers episode the candle was placed on a table, a table Myrah didn’t usually stand on and that I was sitting next to. Lulled into contented passivity by the candle’s subtle scent and darkly flickering flame I missed Myrah jumping onto the table, missed her deciding to warm her belly…cook her belly…over this same flame. Her long calico fur crackled in a fur and flame dance of explosive attraction.
“Myrah. Get down.”
Ever dutiful, she did. Whether it was just the right time or if it was her moving that created the final spark isn’t so important. No, what was important was watching my cat jump off a wooden table, onto carpet and dash from the room, all while on fire. Here is an interesting discovery. That outer wispy fur on a long-haired cat burns fast. The thicker inner fur needs a little more of something to keep a flame going. In other words, my house was safe and my cat was safe because her fur was quickly extinguished. She was quite happy, because her burned, matted fur was brushed off. She loves to be brushed.
Myrah, obviously, doesn’t remember any of these occurrences. That’s kind of her philosophy – why worry about the past when the present is so exciting.
I’ve stopped lighting candles and have come to realize that my winter’s will never again be accompanied by the flickering warmth of a fire.
This post has been in the works for many months only it never seemed like quite the right time. Presently, I know quite a few cats and owners that are feeling like life is more of a raging fire than a belly up, curled paws cat nap. This post went up this week in order to honor all of the crazy cats that we love because…because life should burn warm like a flame — makes it more fun.
No cats were harmed in the making of this post.
Don’t touch the fire.
There was supposed to be a real recipe this week. Several months ago, I used Interlibrary loan to check out The Pyromaniac’s Cookbook: the Best in Flaming Food and Drink by John J. Poister. There were all kinds of recipes – the classic fruit flambés, coq au vin flambé, carrots or mushroom flambés… There were funny quotes. I wrote them all down, preparing for this post. Absolutely no idea what happened to these notes. However, I feel that I remembered the most important lesson — heat your liquor.