Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fine, a post on cake + The lone female kitten in the house (last post on cats, I semi-promise)

Good grief I know this is supposed to be a blog about veganism or vegan food but I (kinda) swear, this is the last time I'll be making blog posts on each of my cats. Unless something big comes up, I may mention them here and there amidst talking about food. 

Actually, the cats have played a big role in my veganism -- everyday I am reminded that all animals think and feel exactly like how my cats think and feel. It's not right that we put "pet animals" on pedestals, that we label them as "not food" (unless you live in Northern Luzon or some parts of China) while other animals -- i.e. cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, fish, other sea animals -- are "food animals". The stories about how they came into my life -- poor defenseless creatures, abandoned by their mothers and shunned by humans -- are things that I will always hold dear. Everyday as I am about to enter my home I am truly thankful to God that my eyes have been opened to the plight of animals and that He has spared these three cats from a terrible life.

More fluff to come about cat #2, aka Velma, but I want to distract you for a little bit.

I made this Almond Rosewater Tea Cake for my mom which she gave to this Indian-Malaysian lady that rents our old house in Pasig. Apparently the lady is vegetarian and is very pro-vegan, particularly vegan desserts. Getting new clients and discovering existing ones never cease to amaze me. For example, last week I organized an employee volunteerism fair at my real workplace and of course invited PAWS. One of the two PAWS volunteers was vegetarian (I made it a point to ask because we had to feed them merienda) and we gabbed about their animal shelter, rescued dogs and cats, and of course food. I mentioned that I was vegan and that I baked vegan desserts, and they both said they were once given a box of vegan cupcakes and cake for Christmas from PETA. I mentioned my baking company's name (Kitchen Revolution FYI) and yes, it was my cake and cupcakes that they ate! I was so tickled. I love that my food gets around and that the word's (a bit) out that there's a vegan baking company out in Manila.

Sorry for the lack of posts on food. I was able to cook for myself (not for sale! how refreshing!) last weekend, it was very relaxing. I experimented with a lemon pound cake, hummus, and my first vegan mac and cheese based on a recipe from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook subbing dijon mustard for the mustard powder, whole wheat flour for the flour, and orecchiette for the macaroni; instead of using typical bread crumbs, I used the only bag of crumbs in the house: a bag of communion host wafer crumbs. Short story: my mom bought the bag of crumbs from some Opus Dei center which makes communion hosts for mass; the remnants are bagged and marketed as bread crumbs. Needless to say that stuff is NOT good for mac and cheese. I was supposed to top the mac and cheese with bread crumbs and stick it in the oven for 30 minutes. Crumbs were supposed to turn golden brown, the host wafer crumbs stayed white. You can almost imagine it looks like shredded white cheese except it stuck to the roof of your mouth and tasted like... holy communion.

My weekend was very relaxing because I did not go out at all. I stuck around the Alabang area, hung around the house, finally got to watch some TV, and baby-sat the cats. Last Saturday was probably the most time I spent with the cats. I let them explore the garden and get up close with nature which was exactly what they needed since they've been cooped up in the laundry area because of my brother's allergies.

Cat face off!

So, on to Velma. I love all my cats, but Velma I hold close to my heart (don't tell the others!) partly because she's the lone girl cat and partly because she's such a fighter. She is much tinier than Lucky though they are the same age (she is about the same size as Francis, but she's 10 months old while he's about 5 months old) but she is stronger, faster, healthier, and I'll have to admit it -- smarter. Lucky if you're reading this, I'm sorry but it's true!

Velma came into our lives sometime end-April / beginning of May 2008. By that time we only had Lucky who was a few weeks old. This was also back when half my family lived in my lolo's (grandfather's) house while the other half lived in my tita's (aunt's) house as my house was being renovated. My lolo had a stray gray and white adult male cat living in his garage named Muning, Tagalog for "kitten" (pronounced moo-ning but with a short "oo"). Now Muning loved sleeping on top of the laundry machine in the garage which was right beside the kitchen door entrance. He was completely feral but was friendly with the tenants of the house. Often times Muning would leave his abode and stroll around the block (and perhaps the village?); one day he arrived home with this little calico cat in tow. Muning being the territorial spoiled cat forbade Little Calico Cat from eating his food or drinking his water; he didn't even share his laundry machine space! Poor Little Calico Cat was forced to hide around the corner where Muning couldn't see her. He would hiss and bare his teeth whenever she popped her head out, looking pitifully for some food. It's a wonder that she never left us despite mean Muning.

Now just as with Francis, I did not immediately take a liking to Little Calico Cat. I was busy being a mother to Lucky (my brothers and I were completely new at kitten parenthood) and busy at work. However it was my two brothers (again! they have such big hearts) who fell in love with her and would often bring Lucky out -- then an infant -- to play with her. Back then Little Calico Cat was very affectionate and very friendly. When she'd see you sit down on the lawn chair she would quickly hop on over to you and let you scratch her ears. Sometimes she'd hop back on the floor and rub her ears on your ankles.

Finally I warmed up to her, took her to the vet and had her checked out. Actually back then we all thought she was a he and I wanted to name her Sam, as in Samwise Gamgee. Brother #5 wanted to name him Vladimir, as in Dracula. The vet informed us she was a girl, so Vladimir was transformed into Velma.

Velma is a special cat because she only uses three legs. Her right arm is bum and we have no idea what caused that to happen. There are two schools of thought: [1] she was born with that congenital defect (and she's a runt) or [2] she was hit by something and her arm never healed. Her lacking a fourth leg never stopped her from doing what she wanted though. When wrestling with Lucky she always wins. She runs faster than him and jumps higher. It's almost as if her bum leg has given her extra feline powers of strength.

I'm quite glad that Lucky has Velma because Lucky would've been one spoiled cat if not for his female counterpart. They are almost like husband and wife, or maybe it's brother and sister? They are a perfect pair. Up to now Lucky doesn't know how to cover his poop in the litter box and it's Velma who gets in the box and cleans up his mess. Sometimes when I'm in the middle of cleaning out the box she hops back in and covers the poop up, as if embarrassed about it! When Lucky's feeling extra naughty he jumps and wrestles her but she oh-so-calmly wrestles back and pins him to the ground with one paw. Sometimes she's the mastermind of their naughtiness -- she opens closed doors with her left arm and lets Lucky through before she goes in. They are so sweet together though! At times I catch them sleeping together in one cat bed, Lucky usually lying against her leg, kinda like how a mom would allow her child to sleep on her lap.

Back when we first let her in the house she immediately became un-affectionate and pretty much suspicious of us. It was only after a few attempts when she'd let us catch her and pick her up. She seems to be content that she isn't the cat that everyone fawns over -- I wonder what goes through her head when she sees us baby Lucky. She is such an observant cat, very quiet and very shy. She's a quick learner too -- one time she discovered marbles being kept in a bowl in the living room. Often she would pick one from the pile (with her mouth), drop it on the floor, and proceed to play football with it. With only three legs. I think she also returned the marbles when she was done.

I don't have much stories to share about her only because she's a very private cat. She and Lucky are the best of friends but for some reason, she despises Francis. I don't know what it is... is it because Francis is un-neutered (he'll be neutered in a few days)? Francis has an outdoorsy smell to him? Every time they see each other she hisses at him.

We haven't had Velma spayed yet even though she's reached puberty and is in heat every other two weeks. I'm getting her blood test results tomorrow to see if her little body is strong enough to take the invasive surgery and the anesthesia. Apparently her bum leg may be a symptom of a weaker system. It breaks my heart whenever she yowls and screams because her body is telling her to mate while she's stuck in the house with neutered Lucky... She rubs herself on everyone and everything, and it's upsetting that she can't help that she does those things and can't control it at all. It's like she's writhing in pain and I can't do anything to stop it! Oh well, I hope the test comes out well, I really don't want her accidentally getting out into the wild and getting pregnant...

Oh yes, in another display of her awesome feline strength... Back when I got the cats collars two weekends ago, she was the only one who was able to semi-rip the collar in half after one day of wearing it. The collar holds on to dear life around her neck to this day while the collars on Francis and Lucky are still good as new.

1 comment:

Jeni Treehugger said...

Awwww bless little Velma three legs - she's adorable. I like the ginger boys too.
And your Cakes are always the prettiest!!!
I guess that is why you run a vegan bakery.

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