I’m not one of those folks who believes that animals are little people. But I do believe that critters have unique and wonderful personalities. Take my three little ones for example.

dsc_0328Elegant, athletic, sweet-natured mama’s boy Clancy. His litter-mate: tiny, strong-willed, insistent, New Yorkish, in-your face Amelia. Clownish, roly-poly comic-boy, Lou Costello-bodied goofy Moe.They are as different in their natures as they are in appearance; each one, special. Each with his (or her) own magic. They never disappoint.

         Cats like what they like. They like some foods, some treats; they disdain others. But Clancy  – he’s different. I’ve known cats who liked unusual foods: My ex’s phlegmatic, wonderful, big farm cat Dodie loved anything orange. She’d lick a cantaloupe until there was nothing left of the fruit but the rind. But Clancy. Clancy knows. Clancy has a palate. Clancy is discerning. Clancy makes me believe in reincarnation; because if ever a creature was a gourmet returned to this earth for another shot at life, it’s this creamsicle tabby.

     This is a cat who will not touch KFC. He would not, if starving, eat a bite of Burger King. But place a piece of proscuitto de Parma and a slice of Oscar Mayer ham side by side, and the Italian offering will be gone in an instant. The O.M. will remain abandoned until it is a dried-out flake.

          Tonight, I made chicken picatta and gratin of fennel for dinner. Clancy sat attentively – intrusively – at my side, as he does whenever he knows there is something good to be had. His body presses close; his face is almost in my plate, his ears refuse to hear the “no!” he usually obeys so readily.

        And what was he interested in? The fennel. Show me a cat anywhere who will eat fennel gratin. Chicken picatta was a good second course, but the vegetable was the clear first choice. And the other two cats? Amelia was curious; Moe, indifferent. So. What does the discerning chef come up with next? And is there a possibility of a cookbook for cats with highly developed tastes? Tonight, I laughed as I enjoyed my dinner. And I reveled in the company of my wonderful dining companions. What cook could want for more?