Sunday, January 11, 2009
there was not a sweeter kitty meow meow meow in the country or the city meow meow meow
I've had a very cat-filled week (this isn't going to be about food insomuch that I haven't eaten any cats). First my dear boy Lloyd got a urinary tract infection and had to be rushed into surgery before his bladder exploded all over his other organs and it cost me EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS. I got this cat from Kitty Kind, a no kill organization full of crazy people, as all people willing to devote so much time and resources to rescuing garbage animals probably are crazy but also thank god they exist or a cat like Lloyd would have been thrown in the drowning bucket. When we got him he had an eye infection and a hernia and now he's got a defective wee wee. He'll have to eat prescription food for the rest of his life which will hopefully be a long one cuz I love him like crazy cakes.
Then like an idiot I volunteered to baby-sit a kitten all weekend. I say I'm an idiot because I had to go pick her up after the longest day of work and disappointment carrying ten tons of shit already and when I got home and wanted to black out for a proper ten hours I had a six week old ball of fluff needing my head and purring all night. TOTALLY WORTH IT.
I've got a lot to say about cats because I am a crazy cat lady. No, there are no (permanent) cats in my apartment right now and there probably wont be for many years. I can't afford them and don't have the time to spend with them. My roommate just told me about an article she read as she petted little Daffodil (the kitten who I assume was named by a child...I hope) that said a pet on average costs over a thousand dollars a year to keep. Perhaps this was a 'how to cope with the recession' piece, encouraging everyone to euthanize their animals to save a buck, I don't know. Whatever, I have no pets now...but when I can there will cats all over the damn place. Still, I am already a crazy cat lady. If I walk into a room and there's a cat in it, it's like everyone else just fades away and there are only the two of us. Music swells. Cats purr.
In itself this isn't such an embarrassing quality. I've definitely had more humiliating objects of affection. But since my family knows of my obsession I get lots of cat related gifts-socks, shirts, pendants, cat shaped boxes, books of cat quotations. So yeah, a cat lady isn't a crazy cat lady until her family finds out and dresses her appropriately.
Anyone who loves animals knows they're setting themselves up for heartbreak. Cats die. It's their worst quality, I think. Not wanting to go through it again this week I maxed out my credit card for Lloyd. Seeing him all sick and scared and drugged up brought back memories of all the other cats I've known, late nights of anxiety and early mornings full of dread as the phone rings with the news. No, they didn't make it. At the end we think back on the quality of that life and try to assess. Was it worth it? Did I do them right? Obviously, these are much easier questions to approach with a cat than a person. Both love and death are far less complicated with animals which I guess is part of the pleasure of their company.
Do animals living in an apartment really have quality of life? My mom's are pretty spoiled. She's like their personal chef/masseuse/cleaning lady. She begs scraps of fish for them at the market and mixes oyster juice into their water. Still, they often seem bored, restless and, let's face it, fat.
Farm cats don't necessarily live an idyllic life either. The drowning bucket was invented out on the farm. There's lots of competition and often little veterinary care, so I hear. I was on two farms this summer. Frosty Morning Farms had two cats, Jezebel and Don Gato. Jezebel was as fickle as her name suggests, but both cats seemed happy, fed, sun kissed etc.
In stark comparison was the cat at Cross Island Farms who I didn't even know existed until I'd been there two days.
Dani, who has four dogs running around like they own the place, mentioned that David had a cat. What cat, I inquired. I see no cat. Oh, it lives up in his office she replied. The office was down the hall from my bedroom and before turning in I peeked in on it. It was a black matted thing kept up in the attic like the mad first wife in a Brontë novel and it creaked the saddest, craziest meow as the light went on. I visited it every day but god that broke my heart. I asked Dani why the cat had been banished and sniffing she said, "Well, it peed in my potted plant and I just don't care for the smell." Good...god...there is no picture of this as it was too depressing.
So there's a wide range in quality of life in the country and the city for cats and people. I've learned through trial and terrible error how a pet should be treated, just how everyone painfully learns how other people should be treated, and themselves. Hopefully well. No locking anyone in attics unless it gets sexy V.C. Andrews style. It never does.
Meow meow meow.