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Meet my cat Nougat

My cat Nougat
So Nougat has been pestering me the past few days to write about how I first met him. He has been complaining loudly and stepping all over the keyboard probably intending to write it himself. Since I'd hate to upset the birthday boy (he just celebrated his birthday on March 7), here's my "meeting Nougat" story. This is a sequel of sorts to my previous writeup about Kitkat.

Nougat just chilling out at home
After coming back home to my home country after a 5-year overseas assignment, I was thinking of adopting another kitten so that Kitkat can have somebody to play with. Up until this point, my general impression of cats is that they are fiercely independent companion animals that are pretty much aloof and would rather be left alone. As I have established in my previous story, my relationship with Kitkat was more of mutual respect with definite boundaries. I did impose some house rules with Kitkat (which I was barely able to enforce) such as sharp claws need to be trimmed and a bath is mandatory at least once a month. It was a struggle to adhere to these rules of course and I still have some scars to prove it. I figured that he might benefit from having another cat around to improve on his social skills. [Nougat is reading this over my shoulder and he keeps on reminding me that this story is all about him — OK, fine. I'll continue with the story then.]

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Nougat was one of 4 kittens born in the ceiling of a boarding house not so far from where I live. His father was an all-white housecat named Carlo while his mother is a stray tabby that comes and goes. A friend heard that I was looking for a kitten to adopt and it just so happen that his friend told him about the energetic kittens running around the ceiling crawlspace of their apartment. Nougat and his siblings would often run around the ceiling making a racket and would often climb to the roof and play there. The residents there were looking for homes for the kittens (as it turns out, only Nougat found a home and the rest became community cats that were free to roam the neighborhood).

Nougat around the time he first came into our home. He looked so mischievous.

From the get-go, Nougat was a playful cat full of energy with a strange affinity to bread rolls (a locally available bread called pandesal). He is so full of energy that it seems almost inexhaustible — running around our small apartment until very late. It is unfortunate and it quickly became clear that Kitkat and Nougat just had very different energy levels. Nougat constantly wants to play and Kitkat just wants to be left alone (preferably somewhere high or hidden where he won't be disturbed). That became the dynamics of their co-existence. It will be a constant game of cat and mouse (well, cat and cat in this particular case) and Kitkat became more and more adept at finding hiding spots — only going out when it's wet food time in the evening. I've always imagined that they have eventually settled on a fragile ceasefire when Nougat got a little bit older and a little less frisky. I do believe that Nougat was genuinely concerned when Kitkat got progressively ill and couldn't shake off his respiratory infection despite the numerous visits to the vet. It is heartbreaking to remember Nougat looking inquiringly at me on that fateful day when I had to return to the house with an empty cat carrier which I used to bring Kitkat to the vet earlier that day. He had been my source of comfort during those trying times.

Nougat had to take on the role of "the big cat of the house" and whenever I will go out of the house, I will tell him that he is in charge of the house and he should be the guard cat while I am away. Oh and he actually takes this responsibility of being the protector of the house quite seriously. He will be constantly on the lookout for "enemy invaders". For the most part, these consist of house lizards, cockroaches (A.K.A. enemy number one), beetles, small mice... almost anything small that moves really. I still can't believe how he can spot a small bug crawling on the curtains from way across the far end of the living room. One moment he will be contentedly grooming, then suddenly he will stand very still and his eyes will be focused on a particular spot on the wall. That's a signal that he would like to investigate further and if possible eliminate the enemy. He's also a cat that loves elevation where he can survey his protected domain. This can be anywhere, from on top of the counter, to the top of the refrigerator, and even perched precariously on my shoulder.

Nougat's ever-vigilant watch against invaders while perched on top of the counter.
At two years old, Nougat has transformed from that lanky energetic kitten into one of the sweetest cats I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He is minimally verbal but when spoken to (or if he wants to get your attention) he does make this soft whining sound that's almost like he is constantly complaining about something. We could have full-on conversations with us conversing back and forth with me assigning some meaning to what he is saying (Ok, ok, to the casual observer, I have to admit that it looks weird. Nougat agrees that I should stop doing that. He just told me).

Nougat in a classic cat-loaf posture
Nougat will absolutely destroy any vegetation he comes across. It's almost like he considers the very existence of indoor plants as a grave personal insult. I actually thought that he will not touch the cactus I brought home but no such luck. I woke up with Nougat gleefully rolling and pouncing the poor uprooted cactus like a ball. I won't even expound on the whole alugbati debacle. This is why I can't have plants in the house or even vegetables from the market lying around on the counter.

I would consider Nougat as low maintenance when it comes to keeping him amused. He has been exposed to different cat toys by this time and his all-time favorite is still his ribbon-on-a-stick toy. This isn't something I have bought in a pet accessories store. I got it from attending my cousin's wedding where it was used as something the participants waived around when the couple exited the church (since the tradition of showering the bride and groom with grains of rice is slowly falling out of favor). Over time, I have added other colored ribbons to this stick and I have since swapped the stick itself with a more robust replacement. He would absolutely go bonkers when I bring out this toy. Even do this strange chirping sound with accompanying quick quivering of his mouth in glorious anticipation (I honestly do not think I can describe it accurately but I do have a video clip to show exactly what this is all about). This is not the only toy that he enjoys. He loves to play with crumpled paper (receipts mostly) and hiding in those large brown paper bags from the grocery.

Nougat and his antics

Nougat is an obsessive groomer

Nougat in our traditional yearly Halloween pictorial
Marzipan's arrival came as a bit of a shock to Nougat. When a friend asked if I was willing to take on a rescue cat I only hesitated a little bit. While I was fully expecting to welcome a new black and white kitten into our home, she turned out to be a little older than Nougat. This probably dampened Nougat's top-cat ambitions since he has once again been relegated as the little kid brother status in the household. If he did harbor any resentment however, it was short-lived. They are now inseparable and it is good to see him play with another cat roughly his own age and to have that bond that he was not able to share with Kitkat. Everything is going well for Nougat, for the time being at least, in this cat household.

Nougat and Marzipan - I'll hug you tight and never let you go.

Nougat and Marzipan - some cat spooning action with gentle ear-biting 

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