A girl with a 'stache

This post is dedicated to our second cat. Her name was supposed to be Seal, after the cat in “Sarah, Plain and Tall”. But we had just moved to Spain and my Dad was adamant about translating that to “Foca”. She was an adorable little thing. And she had a ‘stache. A large, white, unapologetic ‘stache right under her wet little nose.

Foca circa 1992

We also called her “Focahontas”, and immortalized her in the following cartoon:

Just chillin’.

Please don’t ask me why she’s sitting next to a smokin’ peace-lovin’ groover–but I can detect clear disapproval in the turn of her mouth. Can’t you?

Focahontas then became a character of great import in our short-lived comic-strip about 2 French women of the court during the reign of the Louis XVI in Versailles. Or was it Louis XIV?

Please notice the cork atop her "do"

But I diverge.

Foca suffered brain-damage as a young kitten when she came barreling down the hall and ran straight into my Mom’s shinbone. For the next few days, she had a number of little “episodes”: her eyes would become bulbously wide, she would start meowing in an alien-like, deep voice, and turned in circles while drooling. I thought there was a strong likelihood that she was possessed, but the vet explained that her brain had swollen. And when the swelling went down, she was left … intellectually incapacitated. Ergo: we would toss a toy down the hall; she would run towards the toy at full speed, but halfway down the hall she would flop onto her side to take a snooze. Years later, she fell 2 stories from our kitchen terrace in Valencia after attempting a leap from the top of our washer to a nearby window ledge. The additional mental damage that caused is as of yet untold.

She drowned our socks in her water bowl. She compulsively wiped condensation off mirrors and windows with her paws, with a spirit of great industry. She was weaned too early, so at night she would snuggle down with us and suck our fingers while kneading with her paws to stimulate milk-production. I’m sorry, Foca, for all the letdowns you experienced when no milk came forth from our fingerpads.

But I do her great injustice if I don’t speak of her one great accomplishment. Picture this: it’s 2 am. A young Jenna gets up to go pee in the night. The darkness is thick and swirling—an eery silence presses around her. She approaches the bathroom—but wait! Hark, a strange tinkling sound! A pair of glowing eyes! What foul deed is afoot? Marry, what wraithlike apparition has wandered in from the depths of the night?

It was Foca, perched on the toilet seat, takin’ care of business. Really. She did this occasionally throughout the years but never flushed, the wench.

So the moral of the story is … if you’re having trouble potty training your child, don’t worry, because if our brain-damaged cat could do it, chances are your child will figure it out in due time. There is a place beyond the diapers, and in that place the light of hope dwelleth (someone remind me of that when it’s my turn to struggle through the piles of soiled little poo-packages).

On the subject of girls with ‘staches, and to get your mind off the hideous phrase “poo-packages” that I never should have coined, here are a few more pictures. Please don’t be frightened.

The 'staches of Christmas 2003

More ‘staches during the fateful Xmas ’03

Postscript: ignore the 1999 date in orange on that picture. I never bothered to set the date on my camera. It’s just the kinda girl I am.

Tomorrow, a recipe post for Bananas Foster Crêpes!

4 thoughts on “A girl with a 'stache

  1. Mom

    Let’s correct a few details:
    Foca arrived on the scene in the spring while we still lived in Madrid. As a little butterball of a kitten, she came charging down the hall at full tilt and hit the brick wall of my shin bone just as I stepped out of the bathroom. It was a day or two later that the odd meowing/drooling/spinning in circles episodes began and hence the visit to the vet. It was 6 years later in Zaragoza that she fell from the slippery window ledge 2 stories down and in true cat form, landed on her feet…. leaving her legs so sore that it was fully half a year before she would come down from your elevated beds by herself or jump down from a chair. And don’t forget her motherly instincts…. when she would drop your small stuffed animals to the floor from your elevated beds, come down the ladder, pick them up by the scruff (meowing as she went), and hid them behind the bathroom door….

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