Start here: The Alchemist. Then, Aqua Vitae.

Scent Notes: Pumpkin spice incense, bright pink peppercorns, an early dusting of snow.

One boring Wednesday, Laura the alchemist was hanging around in her small shop. She’d had two customers that morning, and since then, she’d busied herself cutting and drying herbs, doing tarot spreads, and just staring out the window, daydreaming. One of her cats, a small black one named Crowley, went sprinting around the shop, meowing as loud as he could. “Crowley, hush!” she said, but the cat would not quiet down, nor would it stop. 

After quite a few laps around, Crowley finally flopped over onto his side, looking up at his mom with a “pet my belly” face, as if that wasn’t the oldest trick in the cat book. Laura got up and lit some incense, a favorite scent of hers that was a warm mix of pumpkin and pipe tobacco. As the smoke filled the air, she heard Crowley hiss as the door to the shop opened. Laura turned, and there was a woman holding a very sick-looking kitten in her arms.

“I’m so sorry to bother you,” she said to Laura. “I happened to hear this tiny creature meowing in the alley a block down, and you were the closest place that was open where I could bring it in to see if it’s okay. I didn’t see a momma cat; I think this baby has been abandoned.”

Laura’s heart broke, and she motioned for the woman to come in while she gathered up some various fabrics and a cushion to make the kitten comfortable. The woman put the kitten in the soft nest Laura had made, and they both studied it intently. It appeared to be a grey kitten, although it was quite dirty so she couldn’t be sure, and was probably just a few weeks old. It was small, and its tiny mews could barely be heard, it was so weak.

Luckily, as an alchemist and herbalist and general hippie, Laura had lots of beakers, droppers, and alembics on hand to whip up all manner of mystical things. She told the woman to watch the kitten, then went around collecting catnip, valerian, goldenseal, and echinacea. Mixing the herbs with a distillate of vodka she always had on-hand, she made a tincture to drop into the kitten’s mouth. The least she could do was soothe the poor thing while it was in her shop.

Meanwhile, the woman had called and found a local vet who said they could see the kitten that evening. She relayed this information to Laura, who immediately said she would take the kitten and look after it. Later, at the vet, Laura found out the kitten was mostly fine, and as long as she could feed it and take care of it around-the-clock in the short-term, she’d have a new, healthy cat in a few months.

How could Laura say no? Answer: she couldn’t, and the tiny kitten came home with her. After many weeks of feedings, baths, snuggles, and litterbox training, Laura’s shiny grey cat, Quicksilver, had made a full recovery. She was absolutely beautiful, and a perfect addition to the family. (Well, Crowley wasn’t so sure about that, but he adjusted to this new reality as well as a spoiled older cat could.)

Scent Notes: Pumpkin spice incense, bright pink peppercorns, an early dusting of snow.