Cats are Flammable

The week before Christmas was memorable in my home this year becuase of the Great Windstorm of 2006. You might have heard about the storm that knocked out power for a million people around Puget Sound. Well, we lived at Ground Zero, and we were powerless for just about the longest of anyone: six days. Six agonizingly long, electricity-free days. no TV, no computer, no Internet. No Xbox, no Colbert Report. But strangly, what I found that I missed the most was something that’s been around for a century: the light bulb. Every day, I’d wake up in darkness, spend the day in murky, dim-grey overcast dusk-like Seattle Day Darkness, then watch it get ever dimmer until we were plunged back into the blackness of evening. It didn’t help that we broke our hurricaine lamp on day 2 (here’s a fun family activity: try picking up hundreds of shards of glass from the carpet in near-total darkness with just a few flashlights).

Each morning I’d get up, light about four candles on the kitchen table, feed the cats, and then sit down to a bowl of cereal. Round about day 4, Marin’s orange tabby, Muff, jumped up on the kitchen table and waddled over to greet me. What happened next was startling and unexpected: he brushed past a candle, which caused his right side to instantly burst into flames with a dramatic foosh! And dramatic it was; flames leapt inches above the top of Muff’s back, like he was feline kindling.

Now, a brighter (or less obese) cat might have shouted (in catspeak) “oh my god oh my god oh my god” and darted out of the room, complicating an already “flammable” situation. But not Muff. He stood there, blinking at me, while I jumped to my feet and patted him down. It only took a second or two to extinguish him, and he was no worse for wear. In fact, the only evidence of the accident was some singed fur.

And that’s how I spent my Christmas vacation.

9 Responses to “Cats are Flammable”

  1. Muff Says:


  2. that weird person Says:

    There has been a large study of catspeak. Apparently, the translation of the human exclamation of panicked jabbering is to stand completely still and gaze boredly at the nearest human.

  3. Rocknj Says:

    There is a perfect name for a band…”Flammable Kitten”.

  4. Dave Says:

    Ironically, I considered names like “Flaming Cats” in our band name search. My daughter would never have forgiven me.

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