The other day I was
talking to a neighbor who said he has found a way to help the poor and improve
our environment simultaneously. Its no secret, he said, that we have a
dire food shortage among the chronically poor. Its also no secret, he
pointed out, that many of our cities are overrun with feral cats.
exist, he said, that trap and neuter feral cats and then let them loose again.
These cats, he said, turn up on our porches, tails up, looking for food.
My neighbor is a wild game
hunter who has hunted on many continents. The heads of many of his prey are
mounted on his walls. He says he should not be the only one hunting feral cats
in an urban environment, something he does when he is not overseas hunting
bigger animals. He sees feral cats as a viable food source not only for the
poor but for anyone who likes wild game.
Hes partial to a
dish called Feral Cat and Dumplings, a recipe he shared with me
after I talked with him in our alley early one morning while taking out the
garbage. He had a lumpy canvas bag over his shoulder and said he had had a good
night hunting. (He didnt say anything when I told him I thought I saw one
Here is his most popular
recipe for feral cat, the seasoning for which, he said, can be adapted to
Feral Cat and
Skin and cut up your cat
as you would a young rabbit. Season the cat with salt, pepper, garlic, and
diced onion and then pressure-cook the pieces until the meat falls off the
bone. Remove the meat from the bone and save the broth.
1 egg (preferably from a
free-range hen until she plumps up enough for a future meal)
1/2 cup cooled cat
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Mix ingredients with
enough flour to make a firm dough. Turn dough out onto a board and knead in the
flour until dough is stiff. Roll the dough out thin and let it stand for an
hour. (If cooking outside in warm weather after shooting the cat, stand near
the dough to wave away flies and other insects.) Slice the dough into diamond
and/or noodle shapes and drop into boiling cat broth.
Water may be added to the
broth if so desired. This is recommended if entertaining guests who have never
dined on cat before. Then drop the boned cat meat into the broth and simmer
over low heat for at least 10 to 20 minutes before serving. Its fine to
withhold the dough and use the cat meat alone to make Curried Cat or Cat Tacos
should cultural tastes make one of those more appealing.
There is a movement under
way, my friend told me, to print out this recipe and post it in food pantries
and local shelters throughout the world so interested parties can copy it, trap
or shoot their own feral cat and then make a nice inexpensive meal at home.
An (innacurate) artist's impression of
My friend isnt
certain if the recipe is online yet since hes not into computers but he
said getting the recipe out to the public, here and abroad, is whats
important. He sees it as a step in the right direction for feeding the poor and
ridding our environment of feral cats.
Eating feral cats, he
said, is a lot cheaper than trapping and neutering them or aborting captured
females, something proposed by a new organization that he says is called
Planned Cathood. He says hell give me a brochure on Planned Cathood later
I asked him if he thought
one might grind up feral cat meat and make quarter-pounders with cheese, tomato
and Bermuda onion on a toasted sesame seed bun. Children, I mentioned, often
He said he thought one of
the cats in his bag was just the right size and probably marbled enough to whip
up some thick burgers for his family that night.
My neighbor is proof that
there is no end to the inventiveness of man when it comes to helping the poor
and at the same time cleaning up our environment.