In early November of 1983 a tiny, tiny kitten arrived. She was swaddled in
blankets, carried by a roommate in a cardboard box. She arrived in a household
that was theretofore pet-less. There was no clue as to what to do with her.
Immediately an acquaintance with a well-known love for all animals,
particularly felines, was called on the telephone.
"Do you think a vet ought to be called?"
"What the hell do you think, vets in New York make housecalls?!"
She said she'd be over as fast as a cab could take her, and hung up.
The prognosis was this. The tiny creature had been weaned far too early,
perhaps even before her eyes had opened. This is life-threatening for all but
the hardiest of felines. (It must also suck emotionally, but, nobody in our
household could read a kitten's little, petrified mind.)
But she had lungs. Lungs that sent her piercing, plaintive pleas ringing off
the walls and which perhaps even trickled their way into the next apartment.
She was hungry, also. The only way nutrition and hydration could be given
was off of warm fingers, dunked in a bottle of special "infant kitten" formula
that the cranky, (yet helpful) animal lover had brought with her. The kitten
The next three days were nothing short of miraculous. Our animal-loving
friend attributed it not to our 24-hour ministrations (which required days off
from work), but to the fact that the kitten was from "sturdy, City stock" and therefore would someday be "a good mouser." Okay, how nice,
Kitten chow (solid food) was not to be given for another three days. However,
already this little dynamo on four legs had managed to get up on the supper
table (via the hutch right nearby) and devour not one but two mackerel fillets.
A fine brand of mackerel fillets — but pretty heavy food for a brand-new stomach
nonetheless. Other no-no foods she managed to steal right from under us included
brie and a grape from a cheese platter (a snack rolled out in front of the
television moments after we were certain she was settling in for her 10:00 nap.)
Within five days, grapes became her edible playthings. Tablespoons full of
kitten chow were dispensed, along with vitamins, and formula.
The kitten was named after the descriptive word on the (rather costly) can of
peeled grapes: "Luscious." Yep, Luscious the Cat.
One needn't be reminded that what goes in must come out; so the precious
swaddling clothes, filled with a wee bit of cat litter, and a small plastic box,
took care of that straight away. The only problem was that the maid insisted
that the rags the kitten had come in should be disposed of. So every day upon
returning home, care was taken by one of us to thoroughly scrub and bleach the
soil off of the rags, and eventually Luscious was weaned from that. It turned
out that the kitten had the same emotional attachment to the rags that did we;
she slept on a windowsill, lined with the rags that the maid, until the end of
her employment with us, utterly refused to handle no matter how sanitized nor
Now Thanksgiving was upon us. The typical repast of hors d'oeuvres in the
living room went off without a hitch. Family and
friends crowded the modest apartment, so many gathering so closely to the window
with the view towards Times Square that the window fogged up.
I didn't have help in the house; out of kindness (and because of her
tolerance of Luscious) the maid and usual server were off for the holiday. While Cousin Lynn and Aunt Cleo helped to finalize the dining room table, Uncle
John and I snuck into the kitchen for "just one more little drink" before the
main courses were to be served. As I opened the wine bottles, John poured the
scotch, damning the bags of ice one needed to chip away at with a pick to get
anything beverage-sized to chip off the molten iceberg within. Neither one of
us, until our glasses clinked, realized that there was Luscious, sitting,
half-in, and half-out, of a sweet potato pie from Sylvia's restaurant. The look
on that kitten was precious. She'd eaten too much (having tasted, ever so
daintily, each and every neatly piped rosette of mashed potatoes
off of the portions that had been been measured out, all ready for a quick
browning under the broiler and then on to the dinner plates. Then, apparently, finding nothing more to eat she
settled in and consumed a goodly portion (1/8th) of the pie before falling
asleep in its warmth, her little head resting on the crust. Her ass was so well-fitted into the pie that she looked like some sort of peculiar garnish. She was fast asleep (but breathing; I checked). Needless to say, everyone had turkey, peas, sweet potatoes and stuffing but no one had a mashed potato rosette upon their plate. I told the few whiners in the crowd to "just imagine".
How a kitten weighing all of a pound and a half made it 36" onto the kitchen
counter I'll never know. But Luscious is still enamored of sweet potato pie, and
I never stop letting her have it around this time of year. Luscious weighs about twelve pounds now. She can't make it up
onto the kitchen counter any longer. But she suffers from none of the feline
ailments known to take from us cats half her age. Sure, she sleeps a lot these
days, but who doesn't after a big Thanksgiving repast - 23 years ago?