By A.C. Cargill
Teatime can also be pet time, especially if you have a cat. Our cat, “TC,” was especially companionable as we sat and sipped and snacked. No disparagement meant to other pets (dogs, birds, fish, lions, tigers, and bears —oh, my!) or their owners, and I admit that I might be a bit prejudiced. After all, TC was quite “pc” (a “people cat”).
On this sunny, but chilly, Autumn day I remember our teatimes well.
TC was about six months old when I met my hubby, who had rescued this lovable kitty from life in an alley behind the house where he had been abandoned. First, hubby left out a bit of food and water. As TC got used to this, he would approach to be petted and sometimes sit in hubby’s lap. Eventually, TC just followed him back to the house and staked his claim on home and heart. He adopted me, too, when I became part of hubby’s life and soon was a regular attendee at teatime.
One of TC’s favorite hangouts was an upholstered dining room chair with a comfy padded seat, part of a set of six. It was the chair he always chose for his teatime nap. Was he just making sure he didn’t miss out on any of those treats? Based on his uncanny ability to be napping there about the same time as I started tea preparations, I would answer definitely “yes.”
Preparation for tea involved certain sounds. The metallic twang of the Asta tea kettle lid as I lifted it to fill the kettle with water. The whoosh of the water hitting the metal of that kettle. The clink of the ceramic lid as I took it off my “Blue Betty” teapot. The thwunk of the tea tin lid when I removed it and spooned the Assam tea into the teapot. And so on. Each sound traveled to TC’s sharp ears, which twitched and turned toward the kitchen, the rest of him remaining immobile. Those sounds weren’t enough to get him even to open his eyes. He knew that he had several minutes while the water heated to a boil, was poured into the teapot and steeped for awhile. Why waste the energy needed to peek?
Not until I had loaded up the tray with the teapot full of steaming tea, a plate of cheese, crackers, and fruit, plus the cream, sweetener, cups, saucers, and dessert plates, did TC open his eyes. He didn’t move yet, though, for he knew that I had to set everything out on the table. Only then would he stir, his routine always the same.
Starting with a wide, toothy yawn, he would stand and stretch. Then, he would jump down from the chair, walk around my legs a turn or two (clearly meaning “it’s about time!”), and jump back into the chair. There he would sit upright, looking at first hubby then me with his bright green eyes and licking his chops, waiting for that special tidbit (usually a bit of cheese or tiny pieces of salty cracker). Sometimes, when we were having pie and whipped cream, TC would get a dab or two of the whipped cream on a saucer, usually getting some on his nose. More often, he would get a spoonful or two of tea, with plenty of milk and sweetener. It disappeared pretty quickly once he started lapping it up.
Teatime for TC was over when he would jump down from the chair, stretch again, and mosey off to another favorite napping spot. Hubby and I would finish our tea while chatting over the events of the day, crunching the last cracker and drinking our tea to the last drop.
Though TC is now in the great kitty beyond, he’s still with us at teatime — in our hearts, that is. Speaking of hearts, time for hubby and me to have some cookies and tea. Enjoy!
Check out A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill, for an inside look at the tea life!