In Japan, they’ve invented a wine for cats, although Nyan Nyan Nouveau does not contain any alcohol, rather being a mixture of grape juice and catnip. My cat Cujo prefers Amaretto Sours, just replacing the amaretto with tuna brine, and swapping out shrimps for the lemon juice.
It’s his birthday today so I’m having a little cocktail party for him – very exclusive, very sophisticated.
Jezebel will be coming, and his friends the urban foxes will join us later. The Shadow will probably drop by.
We had a tea party when he was 2, and a rave party last year but he’s 4 now, so he’s outgrown that a bit, I think.
I’m not completely deranged thanks, in case you were wondering – publicly drinking with cats at cafés has been popular in Japan for a while, with Tokyo currently being home to 58 cat cafés.
One café in Tokyo even added goats recently in order to get the edge on its competition – a brilliant idea which should be practiced by all businesses. Not just food places, either – I’d feel a lot happier shopping for clothes, for instance, if there was a friendly little goat in the changing room, wouldn’t you?
Me: “Does this look OK, should I get a larger size?”
Baby goat: “Beeeeeaaaaauuuaaarrrrrrrgh!”
Owl cafes are a thing in Tokyo also, although they don’t seem to be taking off as successfully as the feline versions. I don’t know if that’s because owls have a tendency to hack up pellets of rodent bones and fur amongst the bone china and scones, but it seems likely.
These cat communes where the inmates are endlessly cooed over and photographed, feel much as the temple of Heliopolis in Ancient Egypt must have done.
The cat was then being singled out for godhood due to the discovery that that the pupils of a cats eye enlarges or diminishes according to the height of the sun in the sky.
Rather than concluding that the eye was affected by dimness and brightness, it was a belief that the cat was in tune with the universe. Which may very well be the the case.
The appreciation of the feline spirit is not confined to Ancient Egyptians, the Japanese and me.
I recently visited the Romeow Cat Café in Rome, and had some of the most delicious vegan chili hot chocolate I have ever tasted, with the visual aid of several aloof smooth-coated cats dangling tails and paws from shelves.
This weekend we booked for High Tea at Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium just down the road from us in Shoreditch.
Actually an Alice In Wonderland themed cat cafe, this is a magical place absolutely dripping with set dressing and twinkling lights, populated by a cast of pampered rescue cats.
We stuffed ourselves with scones and cake while the cats roamed around the tables, walls and ceiling. Practically everywhere you looked there was a slinky beast slinking around.
None of them were as good looking as birthday boy Cujo though, but then he’s my familiar, I mean my cat, so I suppose I would think that?
While we were inside the cafe, passers-by pressed their noses against the window glass trying to catch a glimpse of the action, as if these were rare and exotic creatures from the Farthest Shore, rather than domestic house cats who were – until recently – unwanted, rejected by society.
I know that consorting with cats has traditionally aroused suspicion of the darkest kind, with some people viewing them as gods, and others as demons. But if I am edging into Crazy Cat Lady territory – what of it?
It’s not as if I’ve joined the cult of Freyia and Holda, denounced by the European Church during the fifteenth century.
These cat cults practised rites in which it was believed the goddesses appeared every night, one in a chariot drawn by twenty cats, and the other followed by a cortege of virgins riding tomcats.
Working themselves into a frenzy by screaming out the battlecries and howlings of cats, the adepts at these reunions gave themselves over to wild and extravagant orgies.
I mean, those guys were tap tap curly wurly cuckoo.
Now, all I’m doing is having a quiet drink with my furry friends.
1 ½ shots Amaretto (or tuna brine from the can)
¾ shot Bourbon (or bottled anchovy sauce)
1 oz lemon juice (or a raw shrimp)
1 tsp simple sugar syrup (or a tsp of tuna flakes)
½ egg white, beaten.
Dry shake all ingredients without ice in a chilled shaker. Add ice, shake again and strain into an ice-filled glass. Or if you’re making it for a cat, just dry shake the ingredients and serve immediately.
There is typically a pretty crazy aftermath with this type of event. That’s when the real party animals turn up.
And the nearest kin of the moon,
The creeping cat, looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet.
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has taken a new phase.
Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
Will pass from change to change,
And that from round to crescent,
From crescent to round they range?
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.