Pass in time

31 08 2009

It’s been almost 4 months.

I teared up when I typed that.

You see, while I can talk about her life, I cannot talk about her death without tears.

I know she’s no longer here, but it is an outer knowledge, something I keep away from me.

I have to make room for her, all of her, in me. Life and death and everything.

If I want to be able to remember without tears, then I have to bring her back in, even with the tears.

‘Just a cat’, I know.

But oh, how I miss that cat!

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Everybody do like a monkey

25 07 2009

Jasper is a-growin’ along, getting into the plants and such:

And, of course, he has to chew everything he can get his mouth around:

I love his little pink tongue slipping out amongst the black.

Wait. What? These photos don’t really look like Jasper?

Oh, but they do! They do look like Jasper. They’re just. . .  not, mm, him.

Yes, it occurred to me this past week how much the Vampire Kitty looks like a lemur. Especially when he’s all riled up and his eyes are wide and round:

(Sorry, it’s a lousy shot: I was futzing with the exposure. And he’s tough to shoot when he’s riled up.)

Well, take my word for it, he does look like a lemur.

It’s only fitting: I used to call Chelsea (among other things) my monkey kitty. She was agile in her leaps and incredibly dexterous with both her paws and her mouth.

Bean, well, Bean is not so dexterous. She gets called Panda Bean with some regularity, along with all the other varieties of bean: lima Bean, navy Bean, kidney Bean, garbanzo Bean. . . .

Anyway, since one of Chelsea’s other names was Sweet Pea, I had a whole legume theme going.

How will Jasper fit in all of this? Well, his paw-pads do look like black beans, but, given his temprement, I think I’ll go with a bastardized ‘Gonzo bean’.

(And yeah, that’s Gonzo from The Gone-Away World. What, you haven’t read it yet? Why not? Go, go now! Read that book! And if you can’t find it at the library and you don’t want to shell out for the hardcover, it’s coming out in paperback in August or September. You’ll have no excuses, then!)

Christ, where was I? Oh, yeah, in need of a life.

Okay, I’ll go take a bike ride now. Get out of the house, do me some good. . . .

(Top photo by Jaromir Kaderabek, found thru Bing. Here’s the post from his website; Polish, I’d guess. Wait: maybe Czech. Anyway. The second photo was also found thru Bing, and was taken from a post at k-punk.)

(By the way, I’m finding Bing a hell of a lot easier to use than Google. Yeah, I know it’s Microsoft, a big-bad-corporation, but I think Google is a big-bad-corporation, too.  Anyway, using Bing fits my motto of ‘No brand loyalty!’, i.e., always be willing to switch to something better.)

Bike. Yeah. Okay, then.





No more words

24 07 2009

I think I shocked my bioethics students tonight: A number of them visibly started when I referred to the process of selective reduction as ‘killing’ fetuses.

No one said anything one way or the other, and the discussion (on multiple births) continued on its merry way.

Why would I do that, talk about killing, I mean? There’s a perfectly fine term for the procedure whereby the number of fetuses in a woman’s uterus is reduced to a more manageable (for her, and for the remaining fetuses) number, so no need to bring up the distasteful associations of ‘killing.’

Except, of course, that’s what happens during a selective reduction: After examination and evaluation of the fetuses, a needle is slid through the woman’s abdominal wall and into the heart of the fetus. A potassium chloride solution is then injected into its heart, and the fetus dies, after which it is reabsorbed into the surrounding tissue.

It is not, strictly speaking, an abortion, which involves the evacuation of the uterus.

And the situation is utterly unlike that of an abortion. When a woman gets an abortion, it’s because she does not want to be pregnant, does not want to be a mother. When a woman undergoes selective reduction, it is precisely because she wants to continue the pregnancy, because she wants to be a mother.

How awful, I said, to be in that situation: She has to kill her potential offspring in order to save her potential offspring.

I understand why people want to refer to this as selective reduction, especially those who perform and undergo the procedure. About the only thing worse than the situation itself is not having this as an option.

And the term itself is accurate enough: fetuses are selected and the number is reduced.

Still, I think it’s a form of moral cowardice for those of us who support the ability of women to decide on this option not to speak honestly about what’s involved, i.e., killing.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts on abortion the necessity of recognizing that abortion involves killing—not as a means of decrying the so-called tragedy of abortion—but as a recognition of the morality of the decision to abort, and, most importantly, of the moral capabilities of the woman who makes the decision.

We’re not a bunch of weak sisters who must be shielded from the consequences of our own actions. We may be sad or relieved or numb or any number of other emotions, and our feelings about it may change over time, but we can handle it. Really.

I’ve become even more adamant about avoiding euphemisms since Chelsea’s death. I killed my cat, I kept saying to myself, and told C. over beer and whiskey.

C., thankfully, did not correct me, but another friend admonished me when I told her I ‘mercy-killed’ Chelsea. Don’t say that, she said. You put her to sleep.

My friend was trying to be kind, but, no, I did not put her to sleep. I lay her on the table and put one hand on her chest and another on her ears and talked to her as the vet shaved her leg, soothed her as she cried a bit as he slid the needle in, felt one, maybe two breaths, then watched as her eyes dilated and she stilled.

I didn’t need the vet to tell me she was gone.

She wasn’t sleeping. No, Chelsea sleeping was curled up, tail nestled along her body or wrapped around her nose. Chelsea sleeping was her face tucked into her paws or her head twisted upside down, her body corkscrewed.

Chelsea sleeping was her soft purr into my ear as she propped herself on my shoulder or beside my pillow, her breath steady puffs in, out, in, out.

No, I know what I did to my beloved kitty, and it wasn’t putting her to sleep.





She came in through the bathroom window. . .

3 07 2009

. . . well, no. Through the front door, actually, in a cat carrier. And she’s a he, Jasper, the newest member of this absurd household:

He’s about 10 weeks old, 2.1 lbs, found wandering around Jackson Heights and brought to Brooklyn Animal Control.

(He’s propped up on my wrist pad watching me type this right now, which is preferable to having him rolling over the keyboard.)

Jasper’s shelter-given name was Felicia—but, as much as I like cross-gender names, Felicia didn’t cut it.

He is, as you can see, all black, with gold eyes. Feisty, given to chewing on my toes, ankles, and knees, and perhaps more adventurous than a kitten who just got his balls lopped off should be. He’s also a bit stinky, but, due to the aforementioned lopping, can’t be bathed for awhile.

Bean is thoroughly unimpressed.

I had mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I wasn’t ready for another cat. I still tear up when I think about Chelsea’s last days, and Bean and I had settled into a comfortable routine. Why mess with that?

But I think that admission nudged my thinking along and toward a new kitten: It made me realize that I would miss Chelsea no matter what, and that I shouldn’t use her as an excuse for not bringing a  kitten into the household.

Yes, a kitten is disruptive, and that’s all right. That’s what I tell Bean, anyway.





Playmate, come out and play with me

19 06 2009

There will be no porn in this post. It’s about cats (NOT pussies). Got it?

It’s been about 2 months since Chelsea died, and while I think about getting a kitten, it’s more an abstract than real thought.

I have almost a week off between summer teaching sessions at the beginning of July, and toyed with the idea of getting a kitten then. I’ll be home; I’ll have time; I’ll be able to referee between kitten and Bean.

But I’m not ready. And I don’t know if Bean is ready.

Bean has never been an ‘only’ cat. Sweet Pea was three years old when I picked up the second legume, and thus grew up living with another cat and me. Now the other cat is gone and Bean is, I dunno, fine and needy and lonely but really, mostly fine.

She gets a lot of attention from me, which she doesn’t seem to mind. We’ve established a new routine, just the two of us, and it seems to be working. I think she gets a little bored being the only one of her kind around here, but, you know: projecting, anthropomorphizing, etc.

I know she’d hate the kitten. Hate it. Hissing and backing away and hissing some more and batting at the tiny critter whenever it came near.

It’s what Chelsea did to her.

But Chelsea and Bean also curled up together and tussled and chased each other and double-teamed me when they heard me crack open a can of wet cat food. That day I took Chelsea to the vet, I leaned her over Bean, to let Bean sniff her, one last time. Bean licked her head.

Instinct? Habit? I don’t know. It felt like good bye.

And, as I told lesleykim in a comment to another post, as hard as it was coming home without Chelsea, I don’t know that I could have handled coming home to a feline-less apartment.

So I want a kitten for Bean, and for me. Just not yet.





Out of the corner of my eye

10 06 2009

I saw Chelsea on the train today.

There she was, sleeping on a towel in that corner near the end of the car with FatCat, when she woke and stretched and sauntered over to me.

What? There is no corner near the end of the car? Ah.

Did I mention I had been dozing? And that in non-dreamland she would have hated the lurch and screech of the train?

It was good seeing her, though.