cora, whose brain is the size of an unshelled walnut.

cora has a very expressive tail as well as light green eyes.  she is almost completely black. she will only eat purina healthful life and fancy feast.

Note: Cora died on August 19, 2012. She had just turned 21 on August 1. Her decline came out of nowhere, and she was gone in three days. (Unbelievably, she actually killed a mouse two months before she died -- her first.) Since there will never be another cat like her, I am keeping the rest of this page in the present tense (for now).

Here is Cora on the couch in my living room. As I code this, she is next to me, curled up on part of my nightgown.

Cora was found as a kitten in a parking lot in Decorah, Iowa in late 1991; hence her name. She has been living with me since January 2002. We keep each other company. She has bonded with me so much that when I say, "Hey, Cora?" -- or simply meow -- she meows back.

I realize that hearing about other people's cats is intensely boring -- they're generic -- but I have to add that when I go to bed, she puts her head on the pillow too. We have many things in common. Each of us is extremely unsubtle, hates being cold, sheds large quantities of hair, and has less than a full set of teeth. We both like to sleep, eat junk (in her case, this would be cheap dry cat food and cheap wet cat food -- the upscale organic brand was a total lose), talk, and groom ourselves -- plus, she hates surprises as much as I do. On the other hand, she doesn't smoke and I don't try to eat cellophane.

We do share meals. Some of her favorite foods include roast chicken, lettuce, muffins, rice cakes, ice cream, buttered corn off the cob, and onion rings. She dislikes fish of any kind and milk. Freakshow.

Cora's hobby seems to be smells. She is especially fond of shoes and shoeboxes, and has been known to force her entire head into a recently worn sneaker. Olives are another favorite; I have never seen an animal so transported. She even rolls all over the paper towel I use for the juice and pits. Her most recent obsessions are Bounce and Ben-Gay.

She is a feline barometer. I know it will soon rain when she starts to meow incessantly and hide in the bathroom (which has no windows). Once she woke me up in the middle of the night. She was sitting under the (opened) skylight, screaming. Ten minutes after I cranked it shut, the downpour began.

When I return from an extended trip -- which breaks our routine -- she berates me and glues herself to my side for at least a day. She has been known to show her retroactive distress by pissing all over something that she knows matters to me: either manuscripts, the bag I take to work, the suitcase, or (worst of all) the bed. Did you know that half a bottle of white vinegar in the wash water eradicates the horrific smell of cat piss?

Cora wakes me up at 7:00a every morning by literally yelling at me in Cat -- and not for food, either. Just to get me out of bed! She is the best alarm clock I have ever had, although sometimes I wish she had a snooze button. Edited to add: Over the past few months, she has also begun screaming around 12:00a, and will not shut up until I am in bed with the lights off. I wish she would magically appear at the office and scream when I need to do something I have been putting off. A shrieking cat is a great motivator.

To round things out, here is a website for Cat Cora, who is not a cat.

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