It’s a busy time at the animal shelter, kittens are in full bloom. Wee furry faces of the cutest variety peek out of nearly every cage in the kitten viewing room. New mother’s with their broods are sequestered in an area to the front of the building. Kittens when weaned will be put up for adoption, and the mother’s fixed to prevent further over population. Having additional inmates in the cages also requires extra hands on deck. This makes moving around in the labyrinth of rooms a bit dicey. One of the attendants voiced “it’s like my mother’s kitchen in here, with eight children all under foot”.
As volunteers we do our best to clean our charges cages with the least amount of discomfort to each animal. After a while you learn to read the individual cats before sticking your hand in, avoiding a confrontation if the cat is not too excited about receiving unexpected company. There is such a thing as cage rage, sort of like road rage in humans. These animals you approach with extreme caution or you’ll end up in the emergency room getting stiches.
There are also the escape artists. Kitties who, though not aggressive, would prefer to have a little more leg room. With these cats you have to be quick. They certainly are. Taking your attention off them for a minute while the cage door is open will result in an escapee before you can spell c.a.t. Today a young cat whose name tag read “Connie” decided to bolt when the opportunity arose making a run for it. A sort of cat lock down occurs when this happens so the cat doesn’t get out into the dog quarters and create a major “swat team”, if you will, situation.
Once we had her confined to one room another volunteer and I laid towels along the floor and began the process of crawling around on our hands and knees trying to locate the truant behind all the crates and supplies stacked about the room. A seemingly easy process if you had an animal wanting to be caught, but when they don’t they have the upper hand, or paw in this situation. Calling her name, coaxing her with treats, and putting a fresh dish of wet food out, the progress we’d made after a half an hour included two tail sitings, and a face peering out from behind a palette of cat food which I swear looked as if it was smiling.
The door opened and an employee walked in asking what we were doing. Explaining we had a runaway, she asked us to describe the cat. “Black and white with a black dot on her nose”, says I, wondering what difference it made to the woman. “A tuxedo cat I think”, I added, trying to be polite. She replied, “like this one”? Turning around still on my knees I saw Connie the cat reclining on the chair in the corner watching the whole procedure with one eye open and what I felt was a hint of amusement. Really? Makes you wonder which one of the two species is actually higher on the food chain.
I could eat this salad every night, and if I did it would be a healthy choice. I use my leftover corn bread to create the croutons and I’m good to go. Also, I’m assuming most people don’t have fig infused balsamic. A good balsamic will do fine, the fig simply adds an extra dimension.
Spinach Fruit Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette and Corn Bread Croutons
1 bag baby spinach, washed and torn into large pieces
2 large oranges, peeled and sliced 1/4″
1/2 cup green grapes, halved
1 cup watermelon, chunked
1/4 small red onion, sliced thin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Corn Bread Croutons
1 pkg. corn bread baked and cooled
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
Lawry’s garlic salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Take half the corn bread and cut into 1″ cubes, reserving rest for other use. Cover cookie sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray. Place cubes in bowl and toss with melted butter. Spread in single layer on prepared cookie sheet and sprinkle with garlic salt. Bake for 20 mins. or until golden brown, turning once. Sprinkle over salad as desired. Store remaining in plastic bag for 1 week.
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallots
1/4 cup EV olive oil
1 tsp. fig balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
Bring pomegranate juice to a boil over high heat in small saucepan. Reduce heat to low boil and reduce to 1/3 cup, about 10 mins.
Whisk together with remaining ingredients and chill.