Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Cats’

9th anniversary, 9 stories

September 21, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Movies, Tennis 8 Comments →

The Cat’s Eye Nebula, from the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day archive.

On Thursday we mark the 9th anniversary of Jessica Rules the Universe. We started blogging quite late, after having declared that we would never blog. At the time, we did not anticipate that we would join the ranks of the unemployed, and that if our byline did not appear in a newspaper every week, readers would simply assume that we had moved to another country and forget that we exist.

Our first blog was on blogspot and it was called Twisted by Jessica Zafra. Once, as an experiment, we turned off the comment moderation. The section was quickly overrun by trolls so we abandoned the blog altogether. In 2006 Melo Villareal offered to host our site, which he continues to do to this day. We couldn’t use our own name because someone had bought the domain name back in the mid-90s, so we decided on Jessica Rules the Universe.

On this blog we cover our personal interests: Books, Movies (and lately, TV), Travel, Tennis, Music, and of course, Cats. Occasionally, when riled, we write on Politics and Current Events (mostly Traffic). We also hold Contests, do Group Translations (See Camus in Tagalog, above), and organize Reader Support Groups when we take on books that require extra attention (War and Peace, Blood Meridian).

To mark our 9th anniversary, we’re showcasing 9 representative blog posts over the next three days. If you have any particular favorites, let us know in Comments.

From 2010: Emotional Blackmail

Mat the Cat: I would like a treat, please. (My cats are haughty but polite.)
Me: This is not a treat day. Your next treat is on Friday.
Mat: I would like one now.
Me: No, we don’t want you to get super-fat.
Mat: I am not fat, I am big-boned.
Me: This is not a negotiation. No treats till Friday.
Mat tries poor, pitiful expression (See photo).

From 2012: Roger Federer, we release you

Before Sunday, Roger Federer’s last grand slam victory was at the Australian Open in 2010. Since then it’s been two and a half years of mental torment, recrimination and self-doubt—not for Federer, whose perfect hair remained unruffled by the dominance of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, but for Federer fans like myself.

I hope you’re a better human than I am, because I was reduced to hoping that Nadal’s knees would fall off (Not impossible, given the way he plays) or that Djokovic would split in half (Not impossible either—his upper torso goes left, his legs go right, boom! Manananggal). Sportswriters wrote Roger off (He’s 30)—I stopped reading them. He got cranky after his losses—I figured he’d been babysitting his twins. I watched the grand slams almost furtively, lest others gloat that he’d become “vincible”.

From 2010: 86. Try A Little Suicide (Danny Zialcita’s Tinimbang Ang Langit)

Victoria sees Sandra and has a fit of jealousy, or maybe she just had some bad shrimp for lunch, it’s hard to tell. Joel takes off to a beach resort to write songs, and he’s so distraught he walks around in shiny gold hot pants.

Our cats have doppelgangers

September 15, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats No Comments →


We had promised to take Drogon to lunch with friends at the Henry Hotel, but there wasn’t enough space in the car for his big new carrier so we decided not to take him. While walking around the compound in Pasay, we spotted a cat that looked like Drogon,


and a cat that looked like Mat (from the back)



and on the veranda of the hotel, a cat that looked like Saffy.



Our cats are the Agents in The Matrix!

Good night, sweet Mat

August 25, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Movies, Music 22 Comments →

Keep chasing that laser pointer.

This morning I woke up at 6:30, which I almost never do, and saw that Mat had walked from the kitchen, where he was sleeping last night, to the foot of my bed. He had used his last burst of strength to cross those few meters.

The rest of the day he slept peacefully, and I even managed to make him eat and drink a little. Saffy and Drogon sat nearby, watching him. At 8pm Mat tried to stand up, but was too weak. He started gasping for breath.

Mat died tonight at 8:08 pm. He had a good last day, surrounded by his human, her books and papers, and his two feline companions. There’s no place to bury him here—the spot under the tree where Koosi is buried has been concreted over, and the nearest pet cemeteries are in QC and Cavite. Fortunately Tina offered to bury Mat in her garden in Paranaque, where she recently buried her askal Atis, 17.

This video was taken three years ago with our old phone. Mat was always an angel, and I am lucky to have been his human. Goodbye, Matthias Eomer Octavian Federer-Urban. You were thoroughly lovely.

Here’s Mat’s favorite song.

Think of adopting a stray cat.

Mat the Cat: A Life

August 24, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats 10 Comments →


Mat, the big white cat with black ears, paws and tail who moved into my house 13 years ago, hasn’t eaten solid food in four days. He’s declined everything I put in front of him, including his favorite treats, and takes in only milk. Mat has always loved milk, and showed no ill effects despite all the warnings in cat care books about too much dairy. He still gets excited when he sees me opening the refrigerator to get the carton, but he’s very weak and wobbly. I’m afraid he is not long for this world. Each time I’ve left the house this past week, I expect that when I get back he’ll be dead, or up and about as if nothing had happened. Cats have powers beyond my comprehension. Meanwhile I’ve spent the better part of the last two weeks looking for any food Mat might feel like eating. I have haunted pet food stores and specialty groceries and tried different brands of canned sardines. It’s a pain, but a pain I willingly bear because this is an exemplary cat.

You don’t live with a cat for 13 years without knowing his likes and dislikes, and I am certain he doesn’t want to go to the vet. He’s always hated going to the animal hospital—he hyperventilates, drools, and yowls in the car as if he’s being kidnapped. I don’t want him to spend what could be his last days alone in alien surroundings, feeling like he’s been abandoned. (Koosi, who died two years ago at age 14½, spent nearly two weeks in the hospital and had to fake being well so she could come home to die.) Mat doesn’t seem to be in pain. He’s been hanging out in the bathroom near the litter box—he’s always been the most polite, considerate cat.

Read Mat the Cat: A Life.

* * * * *

UPDATE: Yesterday morning Mat was too weak to even drink milk. I left the house in the afternoon and expected a wake by the time I got back. When I returned not only was Mat alive, but he had walked out of the bathroom and was crouched in the kitchen. The cat wants to live.

I took him to the nearest veterinary clinic, Animal House, where they gave him fluid intravenously, administered an immune system booster, and prescribed soft food that I can feed him with a syringe and a natural diuretic (sambong). I explained that I don’t want Mat to be confined in the hospital, and I will not have him euthanized, either. All I want is for him to be comfortable and free of pain.

Mat was perkier when we got home, and I managed to get some food in him (He actually put up a fight). He’s sleeping soundly, with Drogon hovering over him. I don’t know how much time Mat has, but we will count each extra day of life as a victory. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

Happy Birthday, Mat!

August 16, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats 5 Comments →


It’s the 14th birthday of Matthias Eomer Octavian Federer-Urban. Happy Birthday, Mat! He has a cold and does not want to be The Oracle, so no questions, please. However, if you feed a stray cat or make a donation to an animal welfare group today, he will send you good luck.

The animals on Zoo should rise up and overthrow the series.

July 31, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Television No Comments →


The series opens in Botswana, where the hard-drinking handsome American Jackson Oz (James Wolk) and his best friend Abraham Kenyatta (Nonso Anozie from Game of Thrones) are taking tourists on safari to see the lions. Conveniently, Oz’s father (Ken Olin, seen in old videos) was a brilliant zoologist who got kicked out of Harvard for espousing the theory that animals would rise up and overthrow humankind. Shortly after we hear the older Oz’s lecture, lions attack a tour van and kill all the tourists. If those tourists were taking selfies with the lions, they deserved to get eaten. Yay, natural selection.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, two lions raised in captivity kill their trainer, break out of the zoo, and attack two men urinating in an alley. Again no one looks into the simplest explanation for the violence: lions don’t like public peeing. (Seriously, don’t mark their territory.) Newspaper reporter Jamie Campbell (Kristen Connolly) believes that the big cat attacks have something to do with the brand of animal feed the zoo uses. This is plausible because whenever we run out of Fancy Feast cat food at home, my cat Saffy sharpens her claws on my favorite books.

Read our TV column The Binge at BusinessWorld.