Marsala means mushrooms.
Marsala means wine.
Marsala means marvelosity of major proportions.
The most meaningful Marsala is a beauteous black-and-white cat currently living in the Kitten Room. (She is not a kitten. We will return to this later.) While I’m not certain how she came to share her name with the Sicilian city from which that mushroomy winey goodness cometh, I’m glad she does.
It somehow suits her. She’s luscious, distinctly sweet…and definitely fortified, a la Marsala the wine.
That secret strength came in handy a few months ago, when some well-toothed beast decided to taste Marsala for himself. (Aside: I realize it may very well have been a female saber-toothed tiger/velociraptor/politician. For the sake of pronoun simplicity, let’s just call the chomper a “he.”) Marsala had not yet received her foodie name, so that’s no excuse. But something about her sweetness — perhaps that scrumptious spot on her face — attracted the wrong kind of attention. Next thing she knew, Marsala was bleeding.
We’ll never know who or what took a bite out of Marsala, but we’re grateful to know the caretaker of her former colony. This stalwart trapper had diligently conducted TNR on all the cats in Marsala’s piazza, taking care of the “N” part on the spay/neuter shuttle that sets up shop outside Tabby’s Place several times a year. When Marsala turned up with her wound, her caretaker called on Tabby’s Place.
And when we met Marsala, we knew this sweet soul was not going back outside. She was a survivor, sure; but the main mark of Marsala was mellow, mild magnificence, the kind that could cuddle you straight into Puccini arias.
So now, Marsala has found her place right here at Piazza di Tabby. And amici, don’t say I didn’t warn you; your heart is not safe. When Marsala hits your eye like a big plate of Vegan Chicken Marsala, that’s amore. And that’s also a guarantee that you will utter, “Look at that SPOT!”
It’s not a smoodge of garlic on her lip. It’s not a stray mushroom. It’s a mark of beauty, large and luscious. There’s nothing subtle about Marsala’s spot, nothing shy, no attempt to shellac it with concealer or concern. Marsala wears her mark marvelously, and proudly, as she should.
In this regard, Marsala is far wiser than her estimated-two years. Clearly she’s learned from those glorious Italian old ladies who strut about the strada in housedresses, grey hair a wonder of wisps and self-confidence. These nonnas have lived long enough to love themselves, no beauty filters required. Hang out with them long enough, and you just might think you’re OK as is, too.
Hang out with Marsala long enough — which is to say, five minutes — and you’ll surely remember that life itself is OK.
Today, Marsala struts the strada of the Kitten Room with fellow not-quite-kittens Lotti and Toto. They will likely have to find another spot when our presently too-little-for-prime-time kittens level up.
That’s all tutto aposto. Marsala’s set to make her mark from Ringoes to Milan. Just make sure you get a taste of this treasure before her inevitable adoption.