Tuesday, February 03, 2009

It's just a cat.  It's just a cat.  It's just a cat.  It's just a cat. 

Just a smelly, grass-puking, mangy god damn cat.

This has been my mantra all morning.  Just a cat.  Just a cat.  Not a kid.  Just a cat.

And it was working for me.  It kept my voice steady when I called the vet clinic to ask, you know...do I need to make an appointment to kill my dying cat, or can I just drop by?  And it kept right on working for me as I picked up said sad, emaciated cat off the bathroom floor to gently slip him into his travel cage--the same travel cage we used to carry him home for the first time 13 years ago.  Just a cat.  Just a cat.  Not a kid.  Just a cat.

It sort of stopped working for me a bit on the drive over.  The 'not a kid' part led to some pretty gruesome (and, in retrospect, extirely predictable) tangental mindfuckery which my fragile nerves had some trouble processing.

But I choked it back and was in control again as I walked into the clinic.  Just a cat.  Just a cat.  Asshole husband didn't do the dishes last night.  And just a cat.

The receptionist was a huge help.  Cold.  Businesslike.  You're here for termination?  Would you like him examined first?  Will he be going to the common crematorium, or would you like an private urn to take home with you?

Yes.  Sniff.  No.  Ew.  What was that first one?  And are you always such a bitch?

I was kind of getting pissed at her.  I mean, wasn't anyone going to try and stop me from doing this terrible thing?  Shouldn't an exam be...I don't know...obligatory?  And God!  She didn't even ask me why I was doing this!  How I had arrived at this horrible decision!  Didn't she want to know that he hadn't eaten since Sunday night?  Wasn't anyone going to ask me about how he'd fallen down the stairs Monday morning, and never quite got up?

I wasn't crying when she walked back towards the exam rooms, shouting, "I have a termination here.  Where should I put it?"

I couldn't look at the cage.  Couldn't sit next to it.  I kept my mind on the bitch receptionist, and started pacing.

It's just a cat.  Just a cat.  What a bitch.  Just a cat.

When the receptionist came back out.  She walked over to me, stopped me mid-pace, put an arm around my shoulder, gave me the saddest, most understanding look, and said softly, "I'm going to take him now.  You've given him a long life.  This is absolutely the right thing to do."  Then that nice receptionist lady had the great pleasure of watching me come completely unglued.

It's been a shitty day.  A shitty week really.  It should have been done last Friday, but it's taken me this long to be willing to face up to it. 

God what will I tell the kids?


la dragon said...

Oh, God. I'm so sorry. I'm crying too. I don;t know what you're supposed to tell the kids, I'm sure you'll come up with something sensitive and honest that they can understand.

Not just a cat. Part of your family for a long time. You'll be missed, Puss.

Anonymous said...

Oh Jeda,

I'm so so sorry! You know deep in your heart you did the right thing.

Tell the kids the truth.

I will have some Ben & Jerry's on behalf of you.


Batgirl said...

Oh no! I'm so sorry :-(

Tell the kids the truth. What helped my sister, cousin and I as kids was burying the pets. We had a nice little pet cemetary in my grandma's backyard.

Trace said...

So sorry about your kitty...
You had Puss well before your kids, so he was much more than just a cat to you, and he should be regarded as such! (Apparently that receptioist didn't read that "an empathetic nature is required" in her employee handbook...)

How your life has been made more enjoyable by him, and what a good mum you were to him for such a long time. At this time, when he needed your comfort the most, you gave him loving peace.

Amy said...

I'm sorry. There's never a good time for something like that.

Alpha Grandpa said...

Your dad would say just a cat, I say part of the family. I cried for you when I read it this morning. I watch my dad and I think why can't we care for our family, like our pets, sometimes we could do what is best. This idea of enduring to the end is bull!

Queen LaTeacha said...

OH....my baby and her kitty. I'm crying for you, for the kids, even for me (I've loved Puss too as he slept on my bed and on my lap), but I can't say I'm crying for Puss.

He's happy, scampering about, chasing little lights up the wall. I'm so sorry you had to do that, but you honest to God made the best decision.

The kids will cry, and feel empty for awhile, but they will have learned something about life.

So sorry.

Amy said...

Hi, just found your blog. Sad first post to read...I couldn't personally ever say, JUST A CAT...my animals are like my fur kids..I have lots of them..both fur and regular kids.

It sucks playing God..deciding when to let go and stuff like that. We use to tell our kids when animals passed on that they went to live with Mr. Jesus. Even though we aren't really relgious. My Dad gave me such a hard time about that and it became a joke whenever an animal died..Mr. Jesus gets another..

I believe you can never go wrong with honesty, kids are smart and appreciate the truth more then a fabricated story. It's gonna hurt them probably, but that is part of life..the good times and bad times..I'd probably say let's go get another kitten a couple days later...but that is me...

Anonymous said...

Dude, I've been so caught up in my own troubles (almost losing job and such like) that I haven't read your blog for a while. What sort of friend am I? I'm so sorry.

When I saw Puss at Thanksgiving, he was not a well boy. Cute and lovable as always but seriously not well.

All I can say is I'm glad I said goodbye back then. He's in a better place now and I bet it's not so fucking cold!

We'll have a drink in his memory next week.

RIP Puss. xxx

Anonymous said...

Oh Jamie,

I bet you didn't think I read your blog did you :)...everyone at my work reads your blog, you should really think about writing a book.

I am so sorry to hear about Puss. You made the right decision, even though it is one of the hardest decisions we ever have to make. I am alway's telling my little furry guys "can't you just fall to sleep or something" it would make it so much easier on us.

But the beauty is he loved you unconditionaly and looked to you to do the right thing when the time came, and you did.

Now for the kids...always a tough one. You can always go find those nice missionaries to give them a lesson or two :)