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A Strange Intersection of Cat and Tea Culture

August 31, 2009

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Vinnie_and_Tea_StoveA couple of weeks ago I ordered a charcoal-burning tea stove set from Tea Habitat. I will write more about this later, since I haven’t even had the opportunity to use it yet, but I have to share the complete absurdity of what happened after it arrived at my house. I unwrapped everything and had the pieces sitting on the coffee table in the living room and Vinnie, one of my two black cats, took some sort of strange attraction to the stove part. I caught him licking it enthusiastically at least three times over the course of a week or so. The accompanying not-too-sharp, captured-by-phone photo, in which the other cat is visible in the upper left, having nothing to do with this silliness, was a quick attempt to capture proof. Other times he stopped licking and jumped down as soon as I picked up my camera. Fortunately, a few days ago I was able to capture film documentation of this ridiculousness.

I really can’t imagine what it is about the stove that he found so tasty. The clay it is made of is pretty dusty/chalky and the surface is rough enough to produce quite a lot of noise against a cat tongue. There is a cute fishy creature on the top of the stove cover, but it doesn’t smell like fish to me. Most likely, there’s something in the mineral-rich clay that the cat finds appealing, but it’s also possible that he invents weird activities like this just so I’ll wonder if he’s gone off the deep end of the cat sanity spectrum. Vinnie was the only one in the house who found the tea stove delicious; the other cat, Natasha, displayed no interest in it whatsoever.

Fortunately, this clay-licking nonsense isn’t a practice that the cat has extended to include teapots. I would have been pretty upset with him if he had decided to lick the Chou Zhou kettle (Shao Diao) that goes with the stove because I’m sure he would have knocked it off of the table and broken it. And while he does love to get in the way when I’m at the tea table, he usually doesn’t pay any attention to any other type of teaware, which I think is quite a good thing.

The Chou Zhou stove is now safely stored inside of the tea table, so Vinnie is unable to get to it. I don’t think that the stove is going to emit a cat breath scent when it’s being burned to heat water for tea, but that remains to be seen.

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