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Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994
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Archive for the ‘Cats’

State of My Household, Summer 2017

May 01, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats 1 Comment →


Saffy Safin-Sprungli had a check-up and a manicure this weekend. The vet says she is very healthy. She turns 17 in June. I went looking for wet cat food (she’s had several teeth taken out) for senior cats and couldn’t find any. Then again we should probably stick to the same routine and let her eat whatever she wants.


Drogon Targaryen-Targaryen has a habit of leaning against my books and staring at me while I write. He enjoys playing with Jacob and attending dinners at my friend’s house. When we go out he carries on like he’s been kidnapped, but complains when it’s time to go home.
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Back-to-work links: Jerusalem cats, the Pope’s laundry, Salter, trashy movies, old book smells, and Prince’s death anniversary

April 17, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Cats, Health, Music No Comments →

Holy Cats! Jerusalem’s strays and their unsung guardian


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Drogon is 5! This week he is The Oracle.

April 12, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Music 14 Comments →

It’s Drogon’s birthday! (I assigned the date because I don’t know exactly when he was born—it’s also the birthday of Koosi, the first cat who adopted me.) Drogon likes sitting at windows and watching the outside world. Unlike our eldest cat Saffy who is antisocial, he enjoys visiting his human’s friends on their movie nights. These days he plays tag around the house with our new cat, Jacob.

Drogon is also a ferocious hunter, with skills he seldom gets to practice as an indoor cat. The other night I noticed him sitting in the bathroom for a long time, staring unblinkingly at the wall. The following morning there was a broken dish by the sink, books fallen off the table, and in the center of the room, a small cockroach corpse. All hail the fearless hunter!

In keeping with our tradition, we declare Drogon the Oracle and invite you to post your questions and wishes in Comments. No rush—he’ll answer them throughout the long weekend.

Here’s one of Drogon’s favorite musicians, Thundercat, who is inspired by his cat, Turbo Tron Over 9000 Baby Jesus Sally, Tron for short.

We’re a three-cat household again: Welcome Jacob Howlett.

March 26, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats 1 Comment →

Last week a reader sent me a series of emails about this stray cat that was always waiting for him at his house. He wanted to know what he should do about the cat. If you bother to send a stranger six emails in a row about a stray cat, it means the cat already owns you. I advised him to feed the cat and see what happens. I said that if he adopted the cat (which had already adopted him, so this would be a formality), he would have to decide whether the cat would be an outdoor cat or an indoor cat.

The outdoor cat arrangement is more casual (You could be one of several human serfs in the neighborhood providing the cat’s meals), but if the cat doesn’t show up for several days you may lose your mind from worry. The indoor cat arrangement requires an initial cash outlay (for deworming, flea bath, vaccinations, spaying/neutering) and causes some stress when the cat is introduced to the household, not to mention that you’ll be stocking up on cat food and kitty litter forever, but it leads to a relationship as intense as any you may have with humans in your lifetime.

The very next day, I myself adopted a cat.

For many years a family of cats has lived downstairs in my building. I used to feed their matriarch, a ferocious white kitty who showed her appreciation by bringing me the occasional rat carcass. The current generation consists of three cats, including a very sweet ginger with a funny walk. A car had run over him when he was a kitten, but he survived. For months I’ve been considering getting a third indoor cat. My foundling Khao Manee Drogon, who’s turning 5, needs a playmate, and my antisocial calico Saffy, who’s turning 17, hates playing (As far as I can tell she is pondering a unified theory of everything). Then last week while I was worrying about bills, I told the ginger cat, “If a cheque arrives in the next three days, I’ll adopt you.” I wasn’t expecting any payments, but suddenly a cheque arrived. A promise is a promise.

After getting de-loused and dewormed and having a thorough bath, Jacob Howlett moved into our house last Saturday. He spent his first night in a cage that Bubbles lent me, because he had to fast for 12 hours before his trip to the vet. (Jacob’s vet is Dr. Pete Tutanes, who works with a big chain of vet clinics but runs a small, spartan clinic in Makati. Telephone 882.0192; 0922.807.9695.) Also I wanted to make sure Saffy didn’t attack him—she’s very territorial. Drogon is already his best friend.

Jacob Howlett is a wee kitty at the moment, but after a couple of months I expect he’ll be enormous.

Would you like to support CARA (Compassion and Responsibility for Animals) programs for stray cats and dogs? Among other things they have a spaying and neutering program, which is better for the cats’ health plus it ensures that we will not be overrun by cats. You can find CARA on Facebook or call them at 532.3340.

Back from the land of K-Pop

February 22, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Places, Traveling 2 Comments →


Drogon is not amused at his human’s constant absence.

Just returned from a week in Korea, the land of K-Pop, Koreanovelas, kimchi and general kookiness, where the toilets have settings that never occurred to me and everything is good for you (They’re not just stairs, they’re the Stairs of Longevity leading to the Gift Shop of Good Fortune).

The travel show Trippies premieres on CNN Philippines next month.

The stray cats of Istanbul star in their own movie

February 10, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Movies, Places No Comments →


Still from the documentary Kedi

I was just talking about the street cats and dogs of Istanbul. We were interviewing the director of Hagia Sophia for the travel show when a very self-possessed cat walked over and sat between my co-host and myself, to remind us who the real boss was. Now there’s a documentary about the Turkish felines.

Update: It turns out that the interrupting cat was the same one who had greeted Barack Obama on his visit to Hagia Sophia. His name is Gli and he has a very memorable face.


Photos from LoveMeow

If you love something, you let it go. Cat people understand this intuitively. You never quite possess a cat, and the sooner you acknowledge that, the better. Cats will chase the tinfoil ball, if they are in the mood, but they will almost certainly not bring it back. We forgive them for this because there is no other option.

I have no trouble linking cats to the divine. Chris Marker’s transcendent short film of a sleeping cat is nothing if not an image of Nirvana, pure being, whatever you want to call it. The look in a cat’s eye guides us toward an idea of freedom, as Claude Lévi-Strauss suggested. Having spent a lifetime studying the structures of ancient societies, the French anthropologist understood well the prison cell into which technological man had locked himself. Only at rare moments, Lévi-Strauss posits near the end of Tristes Tropiques, do we see beyond this cell. One of those is “in the brief glance, heavy with patience, serenity and mutual forgiveness, that, through some involuntary understanding, one can sometimes exchange with a cat.”

Read it in the Paris Review.

Watch the trailer.