22

Thunder K Katt: Kitchen Wiz

 

Greetings! We want to welcome back our cousin and collaborator, Thunder K. Katt. She’s here with tips for helping your human cook.

Hello everyone! It’s Thunder, and I’m here to show even how the most undomesticated kitty can help their human in the kitchen! Make sure your human is in a good mood before you help, though, or you may not get the compensation for your time that you deserve. All of these tricks have been tried by me and my sister, Onyx; hopefully they work well for you! 

Help set up by clearing off a space on the counter or table.

I’m not sure if all humans are as bad as mine are, but any time they clean off our counter and table, within two days it’s cluttered with new stuff! Cans of food (usually yucky foods, like canned veggies or sauces), bills, spices (again, nothing good like catnip- mine humans favor salt and white pepper), or bottles of soda- anything that fits will sit. Then, when she goes to mix the cake batter, or assemble the hamburgers, my mom gets super frustrated with the lack of space. Thankfully, cats can help with that! Use your paws or tails to swipe off the smaller items, such as pens, coins, and those pesky bills. If there are larger, bulkier items in the way, plop down next to them, forcing the full brunt of your weight against the item. They’ll move, and your human will have room to cook! Be careful not to disrupt anything glass, as the shards can hurt your paws, and try not to knock over any open containers of liquid- not only will you get wet, your humans will get grumpy. 

Help gather the ingredients.

Have you ever seen your human pace back and forth to the refrigerator and cupboard five or six times to gather what they need, only to realize they forgot one last ingredient, yet again disturb your afternoon lounge to gather it? Put an end to it by grabbing the ingredients for them! Although most containers won’t fit into our mouths (sticks of butter and some smaller produce varieties are the exception), you can jump on the shelf and knock the ingredients off for them. I’ve found this works best with sticks of butter, packages of cream cheese, meats and cheeses, and spices kept in sealed, plastic containers. I would avoid doing this with anything liquid, and with flour, sugar, or loose spices. If they’re looking for a produce item, roll it to them with your paw- try to avoid putting it in your mouth, as many things humans cook with are either too bulky to carry or can harm you if ingested. 

Test out the viability of the cookware.

What would be more tragic than your human working hard to prepare something, only to realize the dish they wanted to use wasn’t suitable to cook with? Save them the time and frustration by testing it out yourself! As soon as your human selects and lays down the dish they intend to use, jump into it. You can stalk around in it, roll in it, or just sit in it. Make sure you’re given enough time to truly test the quality of the dish- if you have to, repeat the procedure until you are satisfied. It is imperative that you perform this maneuver as soon as the dish is set out, to prevent anything from being put in the dish prematurely.

Quality inspection!

This is definitely one of the best parts of helping out in the kitchen! As yummy ingredients are opened and mixed together, make sure the quality is up to par! Simply go up to what you want to test and start licking. You can also stick your nose or paw in whatever you want, if there are multiple options. By doing this, you’re alerting your human that you’ve claimed that piece of food, and that they need to leave it for you. Don’t hesitate to perform quality checks multiple times throughout the cooking process- after all, a block of cream cheese is going to taste much different than cream cheese combined with milk, butter, and powdered sugar. You want to ensure that only the best is created in your kitchen!

Add fiber!

A big bonus to helping is the added fiber that cat fur brings to the meal! While performing your quality checks, take the opportunity to shed in some loose furs. You’re making yourself more comfortable, and adding the gift of beauty and fiber to your human’s creation! This sounds like a win-win to me. 

Make sure the oven is heated properly. 

It is important to note that this can only be done with ovens, not stoves, and this must be done with caution and good judgement! Most baked goods and oven roasted meals require the oven be preheated to a certain temperature before baking can ensue. Although most ovens beep to let you know when the desired temperature has been achieved, don’t leave anything to error. As soon as the door warms up, snuggle right up against it to make sure it is properly heated. Walk away as soon as your human opens it up, though- no kitty wants a nose burn! 

Help with cleanup.

Cleanup is typically seen as boring, and should mostly be left to the humans. However, there are a few ways you can have fun and help clean up. First, make sure you lead your human to the sink or trash can each time. This ensures your space is clean, and that they don’t get lost or distracted along the way. You can even sit in the sink if there’s room, since there’s no way any human can miss the adorableness of a cat. Secondly, much like how you help clear the space to cook, you can do the same for cleanup. Swat egg shells and wrappers onto the floor, or use your tail to sweep away powders. Paper towels make a wonderful crinkly toy that you can claim upon discard. Just avoid messing your beautiful furs up!  

Be a natural timer.

This trick works best with meats. How many times have you been able to smell the delicious meat being cooked, knowing full well that your meal is done, only to have your human sit around for minutes more, making you wait? As a natural timer, you can fix that problem! Cats have a superior sense of smell, and by extension, knowledge of when food is cooked. As soon as your nose and tummy agree that the meat is cooked, let your human know! This can be done by sitting in front of the oven and yowling, rubbing against your human while purring and then running towards the oven, or by jumping on and off of your human repeatedly. This way, even if they forget to set a timer, or if they set the incorrect amount of time, you’ve got them covered. 

Test the finished product! 

The final- and best- step of helping in the kitchen is being able to test the finished product. As soon as temperature allows, go up to the food in question and give it a few nibbles. You can start slowly by licking it, or you can go for a large chomp. If neither of these options appeal to you, you can step on it and leave a paw print, or you can leave nose smudges on it. If you enjoy the food, do everyone else a favor and drag it over to share! That’s the greatest compliment you can give to a chef! 

Hopefully these tips and tricks make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable! Everybody needs help; now you can be the purrfect assistant to your humans cooking needs!

Purrs and furs,

Thunder K. Katt

 

3

How Do You Vacuum a Cat?

I really hate what aging is doing to my body. Particularly my sinuses. Probably not the part you were expecting, but I don’t know you well enough to be any more intimate.

When I was in high school, my best friend had allergies. It seemed like she was miserable all the time. Mainly it was the usual suspects: ragweed, pollen, goldenrod. She was also allergic to dogs and cats. One of her concerns was that she really wanted an Old English Sheepdog, but she couldn’t breathe around them. I think the breathing finally won out. Just as well. I read that those dogs have to be brushed daily, preferably at least twice a day. If they’re talking about using a utensil, that’s as much as I brush mine.

I tried to be sympathetic, but it was useless. I had no idea what it was like to be that miserable just because the weather changed. So I did the typical teenage thing. I congratulated myself on not needing to carry what seemed like a whole box of tissues in my purse. And finding somewhere to dispose of them.

A few years after college, I got severe headaches, and the doctors couldn’t figure out why. If I were a doctor, I’d want to be a dermatologist – no emergencies and the problem is right there, sitting on the skin.

I finally went to an allergist. She did that obnoxious test were they turn your back into a chess board and use a tiny needle to inject certain allergens. Turns out there were no major problems, but I did react to some trees, grasses, mold – and cats.

That day, when I got home, my husband had a surprise for me. The cutest little (4 weeks old) kitten. She lived with us for twenty-two years with no problems. Hah! Shows what that test was worth.

As the years went by, I had more and more trouble breathing around mold. We have an old house and the basement has leaked around the foundation off and on. Seems to be some grumpy gremlin around the base of the house. At first, I only noticed the problem when I used the treadmill. Now I can feel it just going down there. Is that a great excuse for not using the treadmill or what?

Then it was cut grass. Then other things growing around me. I am still no where near my friend’s level of discomfort. Lucky for you – otherwise, you would have heard me whining about it a long time ago.

But it was still pretty obnoxious a couple of years ago when they started putting cut flowers in the cheese cooler before big flower holidays (Easter, Mother’s Day). When I opened the cooler this week and saw them (they had slunk in the night before), I groaned. Sure enough, my eyes watered and got swollen and my nose ran for hours. They’d been storing up their nasty little histamines all night to get me.

But the absolute worst happened a few weeks ago. I was wearing a fleece jacket and it was getting more and more uncomfortable to breathe. I looked down and it was covered with cat hair. That can’t be it – I’m not allergic to cats. I took off the jacket and could breathe again. Oh no, I thought, not the kitties.

It was shedding season. Kommando Kitty (who has adopted me as her main human) is a cross between a Siamese and something Siberian, I’m sure. She has medium short hair that molds against her body. And more of it than I have seen on any cat except my parents’ Norwegian Forest cat. She even has fur between her toes. And it’s really fine fur – sticks to everything.

I would brush her whenever we sat together. Did wonders for her coat; not so much for my sinuses. As you might imagine, I was distraught. It was the first time I had a problem around any animal and it was mine! She cuddles in my arms every night before she goes to the foot of the bed. She watches TV on my lap.

My family laughed at me because it was “my” cat who was giving me problems. The calico seemed to be hypo-allergenic. Until I brushed her and got the fur all over me.

All you cat people probably know that cats are at their friendliest during shedding season. The loose fur itches and they want to get rid of it, preferably all over you. You skirtch them and get handfuls of fur. You brush them and empty the brush multiple times before it comes back fur-free.

We had a cat that I would brush downstairs before going to bed. We’d go upstairs and when I scratched her back, I still got handfuls of fur. This would go on for days. Then magically stop. The biggest problem was the amount of fur in the trash. It looked like we were trying to grow a new cat.

I was still totally traumatized by my new affliction when I realized it had stopped. Kommando continues to rub her face against me, but my sinuses are clear. That’s weird – everyone knows that allergies to cats are caused by their dander, not the furs themselves.

But as you know, I’m a little unique. Apparently the allergy is not very severe. It only activates when I look like a yeti in cat fur. I’ll wait until fall to test my theory. The cats shed the summer fur in the fall to get in their winter furs, so it’s not as severe. If I’m OK between now and then but start to react, I’ll know I’m right.

If that’s the problem, I have a choice between shaving them and vacuuming them during shedding season. Obviously, cleaning my clothes after brushing is not an option. That is a lot of work. Bathing isn’t an option. I’d have to do it daily for two weeks. I need my blood.

Same issue with shaving. Both the cat and I would need a transfusion at the end. Me from her teeth and claws. Her from me trying to shave her. Besides, it took Kommando several months to grow back her fur after she was fixed. Guess it’s hard to get all those furs through the skin at the same time. She’d just get furry in time to get shaved again. And she’d look funny.

So vacuuming it is. It may be a little tricky. They both hate the vacuum cleaner. Maybe I can use the little ones they have  for computers. Probably not, I think those blow air not suck it in.

Hmmmm. Think I’ll stick with the theory that they just spent too much time in the basement with the mold this spring.