Monday, April 14, 2008

Die! No, Don't Die.

This is a post about mixed emotions and guilt. It is not a post about what a horrible, callous person I am. I promise.

Sometimes I wish the cats would reach the end of their lives already. I don't feel good about it, and I don't really wish they would die. But sometimes I really do. Sort of.

Before we had a child, I almost felt like the cats were our children in a way. We took care of them because we loved them. They helped to fill our home with a little more love and affection, a little more cute and fuzzy. They filled a need deep in Mrs. Rodius' heart. And they killed bugs.

Then Cat #1, who had colitis and an unpleasant tendency toward diarrhea and a willingness to express his unhappiness at feeling poorly by peeing on our possessions while angrily staring right at us, developed diabetes. Shit, piss, vomit, and now injections! Yay! And as a bonus, the guilt for choosing not to move him across the country with us and not wanting to continue trying to control his uncontrollable roller coaster blood sugar numbers. Mrs. Rodius still occasionally sheds a tear for him.

Then Cat #2 was murdered in our living room. Cat #4 demonstrated a life-long tendency toward struvites and infections despite the expensive surgery that saved his life. That surgery has prevented subsequent blockages, but he still gets at least 2 or 3 bladder infections per year.

Cat #3, perhaps in solidarity with Cat #4, has also decided that regular urinary tract infections would be a wonderful way to spice up life. She also has seasonal allergies that give her rashes, making her scratch her ears to scabs and overwash so that she has bald spots. It's wonderful to wake up at 3AM to the relentless "flapflapflapflapflap" of a cat obsessively scratching her ears. She also hates Cat #4 and likes to have screaming fights with him. Also at 3AM.

Now Cat #4 has been acting, well, a little iffy. He's been vomiting white foam. He's breathing heavily. He's spending more time alone under the bed. He may have lost some weight. Thumper and I took him to the vet this morning, and now I'm waiting for them to call and tell us what's going on. I'm hoping he'll be OK. I'm hoping that it's not that he scratched a big wad of carpet fuzz off of the scratching post and ate it so that he has an intestinal blockage that will require surgery to remove. I'm hoping it's just a minor, easily correctible problem so that he'll be back under the bed tonight, back attacking Cat #3 and puking on the patio. But part of me, just a small part of me about which I'm not proud, hopes that it's something catastrophic. Something big and incurable. Something fatal. Something painful so that we won't feel as guilty about euthanizing him. And maybe, and don't tell Mrs. Rodius I said so, but maybe something contagious.

I know, that's horrible. And not just to the cats, but to Mrs. Rodius. Her cats are a part of her. Each one owns a little piece of her heart, and she will hurt so whenever they meet their ends, however it may happen. But I think maybe her need for them has abated somewhat. That if these cats move on to meet their maker, perhaps she won't need to find new cats to save. Because, yeah, they're our cats, and I love them too, blah blah blah. We made a commitment to them when we took them in. But now, with Thumper, the coughed-up furr balls and the scratched-up furniture seem less endearing somehow. The constant cat litter maintenance seems more tedious. And with the reduced income that came with staying at home with the baby full-time, the regular expense of vet bills and antibiotics and prescription food seems extravagant. Irresponsibly extravagant, even.

I know, I'm going to hell. Definitely going to hell.


anniemcq said...

Well, if you're going to hell for feeling this way, and I die first, I'll hold the door open for you, 'kay?

Rodius, this might be the post that cements our friendship forever. Because I too, have cats that I dearly love, yeah, yeah, whatever, but I'm looking so forward to the day that there isn't a smell of runny shit emanating from our (carpeted) basement stairs. I eagerly anticipate NOT waking at night to the slurping, wheezing sound of said kitty with the runny bowels licking her butt clean (and nauseating me in the process). I look forward to reading with Joe-Henry without said cat knocking the book out of my hands and "yelling" at me.

Will I miss them? Of course I will. I'll probably even cry.

and then I will buy new carpet.
I love this post so, so much.

I, Rodius said...

Thanks! I'm glad I'm not the only one. And isn't it great that our higher instincts towards kindness and understanding can bring us together like this?

mitchellkt said...

Lurker here. I, too, am an animal lover. Have grown up with both cats and dogs and love them to pieces. Our dog, a sweet, loving chocolate lab, cost us more in vet bills the first year of her life than our first daughter did in hers. She continues to need arbitrary expensive vet visits about twice a year. She is now 9 and significantly slowing down. She had a lump last fall that we had taken out and biopsied - cancer, but not a type that metastasizes. As I would not do chemo on my dog, this is great news for her, but there was that part of me that was slightly hoping that all the difficulties would soon be over. This is the first time I have voiced this sentiment, but I haven't actually "voiced it", right. My kids would be devestated and will be when the dog's time comes.

Just know you are not alone!

I, Rodius said...

Thanks for delurking. I love comments! And thanks for affirming the sentiment. We've spent more on our cat this month than our car payment on groceries combined! I guess this is why parents say, "Hell no!" when their kids beg them for a pet...

mitchellkt said...

My oldest at 7-1/2 has been begging for a pocket pet (hamster, mouse, rat), but I am holding steadfast in my no...for now. I had a couple of rats when I was younger, and they both died within months. It was heartbreaking, and I don't want to spend the money if the thing is likely to die after a few short months. Aside from the fact that we have said dog along 2 cats. My plate is full!

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