In the ongoing debate about whether pets can rightfully be called “children” M.A Wallace raises some valid points of opposition in her article, “Pets Are Not Children, So Stop Calling Them That”. But to her claim that, “…having a pet is like playing with a living doll, a chance to enjoy the activity and ritual of parenthood without any of the purpose, consequences, or hard work”, I would respond with; “but you haven’t met my daughter, the cat princess”. I work damn hard at making her happy. I tend to her every need, prepare her meals just the way she likes it, I calm her when she is having bad dreams, play with her when she demands, and give her space when she asks for it. Of course, she is not a human child, but she is certainly my child.
Or so I thought. Until recently when all of that changed, and I am left to wonder if she is really of my ilk at all.
I had just returned from Cat Camp NYC with a bag full of cat paraphernalia, including my most treasured find- three bottles of feline wine I purchased from the Colorado company Apollo Peak; The Catbernet, The Moscato, and The Pinot Meow. The names are cute as all hell, so it’s easy to see how they would appeal to any cat lover (me). Plus, at $12.95 for the 8oz bottle and $4.95 for the 1.6 oz. single ounce tasting, it was a steal (considering what I was getting on my end). This was my motherload.
As the only female offspring of a wine-loving mother, I respect the sacred ritual of mother-daughter bonding over a bottle of vino. It’s a thing. And it is pure. There is nothing quite as honest or sentimental as a mother and daughter laughing (sometimes crying) over a bottle of Sancerre. And so, with my purchase of Apollo Peak, I knew it was my time to share this rite of passage with my own daughter.
Not long after Cat Camp NYC the very (un)epic Winter Storm Stella hit in New York and I was homebound without another human to drink with. But as luck would have it… I had some fine Apollo Peak on hand, and my daughter curled up beside me. This was the day. I was ready to induct my daughter into the time honored tradition that I have shared with my mother for so long.
The Pinot Meow
While I prepared dinner a glass of Pinot in hand, I set the table for an elegant evening with my little girl. But seeing that I had already started drinking (4 pm struck me as a reasonable hour to begin, given that it was snowing outside), it seemed unfair not to treat her to an aperitif as well. So we kicked off the “night” with a light Pinot Meow. I figured this could be a nice introductory wine; light, fuchsia-tinged, with traces of red beets and a touch of catnip. It was initially met with skepticism and a heavy dose of side eye- but I knew, as with any developing palate, she needed to grow into wine, find her footing and experience the subtle distinctions of each vineyard’s flavors. So I nudged. She sniffed. She circled. She walked away.
I was not deterred. As any true wine drinker knows it takes time to develop your tastes, and you must be dedicated to experiencing all varieties. You must want it. So we moved onto The Moscato. Perhaps she would feel differently about a crisp, white blend? Even though it contained the same ingredients as The Pinot Meow, I thought maybe it was a red vs. white situation? Maybe the golden beets in The Moscato would be more appealing?
To my dismay, the Moscato was also greeted with a sniff before she turned to walk away with her tail held defiantly high. I don’t blame her. I find Moscato to be awfully sweet, so I assumed the cat version must taste similar. And if the belief that my cat is indeed my daughter holds true, then I figured that she must share my love for drier wines.
Plus I was determined NOT to drink alone (in the afternoon). So we uncorked The Catbernet. I was convinced this would be a winner because who could resist the full-bodied, aromatic taste of a Cat/Cab-ernet. And this particular blend boasted traces of peppermint. Peppermint?! Had to do the trick. And yet….
Nothing. As you can see I worked this one, even going so far as to coax her into loving it by offering a taste from my finger. But yet again, a sniff was the most enthusiasm mustered.
I’m was baffled as to how someone who I consider to be my child could not like wine?! It couldn’t be right. Not my child. Never… But I guess in this respect (only!) I will concede to M.A Wallace, she is just a cat… And I couldn’t force it. But truth be told, whether she indulged or not, we enjoyed our afternoon wine tasting together. If nothing else, we got a chance to spend some quality time, we learned about each other’s likes and dislikes, and we shared new experiences. So I am grateful to Apollo Peak for at least giving me the opportunity to try and drink wine with my daughter. It was an experience. We bonded.
But most importantly, I know I made my mother proud.
All images taken by author. Taken March 2017.