Though I always thought of myself as someone who traveled to fairly uncommon drumbeats my latest moves seem to be pretty pedestrian, placing me smack in the middle of what every one else is doing. I’m part of the crowd that fled San Francisco for Sacramento; like many in the pandemic, I’ve jumped on The Office bandwagon, watching the series through for the first time (I’m less than halfway, in Season Four), and I have adopted a cat!

Meet Miguel.

I have only been his cat momma for 2 months, but he has made a big impact on my life. My daughter and I began by co-parenting him in the month of December, but my college freshman has been back at school for the last month and Miguel and I have been continuing to forge our bond and match wits. I’m not sure that I am a formidable one to match wits with but at least I think I have been training him some as he has been training me.

To paraphrase Olympia Dukakis’ character in Moonstruck, what I don’t know about cats is a lot. I don’t think I really understood how being a hunter is such a big part of who they are. I certainly didn’t expect that part of his morning routine with me would be pouncing on my feet if they moved under the covers. I’m proud of his agility and ninja-like ways, and glad that he doesn’t have occasion to use them except for fun, but in order to trim a ninja’s nails you have to think like a ninja. I swoop in when he’s grooming himself with a front paw extended. To do this I have to be vigilant for opportunities and so have nail clippers staked out at my desk and bedside. It’s kind of hilarious the pride I take in getting a nail every other day or so. It doesn’t hurt him and it doesn’t hurt for him to see that he’s not the only one who can play it stealthy!

Believe it or not, Miguel is my first pet. (I don’t think tadpoles or brine shrimp count.) With a dad and brother who were allergic to dogs and cats, we couldn’t have any furry pets when I was growing up. In San Francisco, being a renter the market was against us. It was always NO from the landlords, even after young Lydia wrote a sweetly compelling note to one that included a drawing of a wistful cat with anime eyes. I knew what the answer would be, but I felt like her voice should be heard so I went ahead and sent it on to him without explanation. You’d think this plea from a youngster would have melted his heart a tad, but he sent back a curt restatement of the lease language and that was that. My new place in Sacramento is very encouraging about having animals and there is a wonderful cat sitter neighbor who is already helping me to learn the ropes and letting me have peace of mind about leaving him alone when I am away for a night or two.

Miguel came from a cat rescue shelter in Stockton called Second Chance Kitty. We don’t know that much about him. We don’t know his exact age. We know he was feral, but he was fostered by a kind woman who delivered him to us with good manners, litter box discipline, and a regal elegance. Because of his dignified nature we could not keep on with his given name of Mickey. I rebranded him Miguel. Partially in homage to Miguel de Cervantes, the granddaddy of all novelists, but he is also named after the Miguel, the first boy I ever babysat. Miguel was the boy next door who I looked after pretty regularly when he was 2 and I was only 9. With such a small age difference it seemed that I was barely qualified to look after him, but it was understood that my mom was around if anything serious should come up. Fortunately nothing ever did. (I will also mention that it was a sweet babysitting gig because the neighbors laid in a fabulous supply of junk food for me and my siblings, if they occasionally babysat instead of me. ) Young Miguel called me ‘Naneece’ instead of Janice. His mom was French Canadian and his dad was Portuguese. Because of this form of address, my brother still calls me Nan.

When Miguel was first taken to the shelter he was with two siblings – whether they were actual littermates or from a band of unrelated brothers we will never know – who were adopted before him. While we felt bad that he was separated from his buddies, we’re grateful that fate saved him for us to be his family. He seems happy to have landed with us too. He likes it so much in his new home that I can’t get him into a carrier to leave the apartment and see a vet. Fortunately there are such things as mobile vets and I shall have to find one because I am too tender-hearted to ambush him and shove him into a carrier. And yes, veteran cat-daddies, I have employed the tricks and strategies to induce him in there. He loves to hang out in his carrier and sleeps in it many a night, but only if it is way up high where he knows it is out of the action and he will not be whisked off to parts unknown.

So, I wanted to share what’s new and happening with me, and that is, I’m delighted to be parenting the best Russian Blue boy that ever was.

On the food front – if you are interested, I have gone back and provided a detailed granola recipe under the original blog post On Achieving Earthy-Crunchiness. Maybe now is the time to try your hand at making your own granola while staying more at home. If you do, please let me know what you think.