Saturday, November 9, 2013

kafka caffeine

It is a bit of a cliche and a bit of a cartoon truism that cats like milk. In my interactions with cats I have never had any experiences to call these sources into question. Cats like milk. Nevertheless, I have read that cow's milk is not terribly good for cats and so I have never given kafka, the Library cat, any milk. That doesn't mean he hasn't had any. The cat kafka is inclined to take what he likes if he can. But a cat has a more limited array of tools at their command when they occupy the world of people, and so, sometimes in order to take what they like, something extra must come with it. In young kafka's case, the extra was espresso.

In the early afternoon at the Library I was preparing a milkier cappuccino for an afternoon spiritual lift, and, because one of my colleagues seemed in need of one, I was making a cappuccino for them as well. I drew the two shots of espresso, steamed the milk, and assembled the drinks in my giant white latte mugs. I set one down on one of the break room tables and took the other out to my co worker. While out there I got caught up in some Library business and it was quite a while before I could get back to my drink.

When I entered the break room kafka had his front paws perched on the rim of the latte cup, which was wobbling, and he was steadily lapping up the warm frothy mixture of espresso and milk. As he looked over at me the slight weight shift caused the cup to flip to its side. There was no torrent of cappuccino onto the table because this small cat had managed to consume a large portion of a generous beverage. Still, a small, pale brown river turned the tabletop into a landscape and wetted kafka's paws. He sat down and licked them clean, and then we just looked at each other.

You may think, from these accounts of kafka in the library, that we are always regarding each other over some disaster, but no. As often as not, when we encounter each other, in pretty much any situation, we just look at each other. We grow quieter and quieter, more still, and then, usually at kafka's action, it's over. So we looked at each other as we often do. And after awhile of looking at each other I wondered if all the caffeine would have any strange effects on such a small cat. Then, without warning, kafka leaped prodigiously, balletically, from the table onto me. Using tiny needle claws and a bare dusting of cat magic he was almost instantly perched on my shoulder. He balanced and collected himself. Then he rubbed the side of his face three times against my cheekbone. I could feel the wetness of the cappuccino on my face. I smelled coffee. Then, without further notice, he jumped to the ground and was gone, off into the heart of the library where he conducts mysterious deeds. I barely saw him leaving before he was gone. I picked up the cup, wiped down the table, and made myself another cappuccino.


  1. I like your stories and writing. Thanks, this lovely (to me) afternoon at 94704.

  2. I disapprove. Kitties should not have caffeine. I think it can be dangerous for non-human persons. It is for dogs, this said with the understanding that they are inferior/animals.

  3. Well, clearly it was not his intention to caffeinate the dear.


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