Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kitten & book

A week ago on Saturday the 13th, I woke up late to a sick kitten. She was lethargic. Not eating. Shaking. I got her to the emergency vet. They ran all kinds of tests, but everything came up negative. They suspected Feline Leukemia due to her age (5 weeks) and the fact that Mama cat has not only not been spayed, but hasn't had shots, either. I was willing to go along with this, until David pointed out some things. 1) She was the runt, and they do tend to have problems. 2) She had a weird tendency to lick the raised print on any t-shirt. 3) While she was a fine jumper-down, she was never very steady on her feet. 4) After she passed, the ninja-cat (a.k.a. Ginger kitty) stopped being so horrible to all the kittens (maybe she knew something was up from the get-go). All-in-all, I think something went wrong inside her. She was really pretty and very, very sweet. I thought of her as Ursa Minor (mama is Ursa) and Fi called her little tiger.

The hard part for me was trying to keep her alive. I took her home that evening with some gel vitamin supplement and instructions to feed it to her, even if per force. I tried that and some egg-cream mixture, hoping she'd feel like eating. She bit the crap out of me and started seizing and screaming. Her fever must have spiked. That was when I totally lost it. Mom said I needed to calm down before the kids got home. I did. While I was calming down, she passed.

The hard part for the kids was coming to the realization that she was gone. DJ so obviously went through all the stages of grief. It was very clear and, in an intellectual way, an interesting thing to watch. Each stage was clearly defined: Denial (She can't be dead! You mean she's not coming back??), Anger (It's not fair! She didn't DO anything!), Bargaining (I wish I could see her play a little more), Depression - a little strong, I'd go with "sadness" (I MISS the little black kitty), and then acceptance (I miss the little black kitty, but I'm glad we have the other kitties). Fi processed things a little more internally and a bit more calmly.

We buried her on Sunday. The boys cut flowers from the garden to put on her grave. As soon as the kittens are weaned, we'll take mama-cat in for her shots and spay and them in for the same.

On Friday the 12th, Siamese kitty went missing. I think sometimes he gets confused. I didn't even miss him in all the excitement of Saturday. Sunday, we tied a running shirt to the fence as usual when he goes missing. I hate to admit it, but by Tuesday I was thinking awful things. I don't really like that cat - I love him, but I don't like him. He's an ill-behaved and ill-tempered beast. We DO have, like six- I mean, five, other cats. But he is my Siamese buddy. He's gregarious; he'd easily find a new home. He showed up on Tuesday night with a badly mangled tail. I think it's broken in at least one spot, and I swear I can see bone. Chunks of skin are missing. I think either a dog got him by it, or he got it stuck in something like a fan. I'm not sure he has feeling in the tip. I think it may have to be amputated. It's an absess waiting to happen. Yet another vet bill. Well, he was coming up due for shots, too.

Spoilers ahead!! Don't read on, if you don't like spoilers!

Meanwhile, Life of Pi proved an excellent distraction. Wow, is it gory. I have to say that I'm not sure which of the two stories I like better or believe more. I know the mind can do some weird stuff when isolated for a long time.

I could see turning a part of yourself into a tiger as a way of distancing yourself from the atrocities survival forces you to commit. I can also see a tiger never being found in the Mexican jungle. I can see turning the other people into animals to distance the awful things that happen to them from the memories of loved ones, but I can also see a zebra jumping and landing in a boat and an orangutan floating on a ton of bananas. I can imagine a carnivorous island, but one where the trees spit the unedible bits (teeth, etc) out as fruit? Not sure on that. I guess the point of the story is that you may as well believe the animal version. It's nicer in so many ways.

I really enjoyed the way the author dealt with religion. He seemed fairly objective, if writing from the stance of an open-minded, non-practising hindu. I just loved the confrontation with his parents, the priest, the mullah and the hindu leader on the walk; such good points were made about non-exclusivity of other faiths.

It does make me wonder which parts of the book were "true" and which were "artistic lisence." I may have to do some research. But not tonight.


  1. Pet deaths are hard. Pet funerals are good. It helps to grieve and it helps to have a location to visit and express that grief. Davey sounds as if he's the lucky one: emotions visible and expressed. Fiona sounds like she's more introspective and internalizes her feelings. Both reactions are normal, as you know!

    And, of course, it's the perfect introduction to the issue none of us wants to have to discuss with our kids: Where is the kitty if she isn't here? And why can't she come back?

    Tough times, tough things to talk about, but all part of life.

    And I may just have to read "Life of Pi." Thanks for the review!

  2. I bet you bad boy was sleeping under the hood of a car. That's usually how cats lose tails: they crawl under there for a nap, and then the owner starts the engine.

    Don't wait to get it taken care of! It can be much worse than a abcess.

    Welcome to adulthood ... no place for sissies!

  3. I'm sorry you lost the kitty. It's inexplicable, but I'm glad your kids are coping well.

  4. Aunt Cheryle: Thanks. And yes, Fiona is VERY introspective, but the thoughts are quiet and logical. Davey is more of an extrovert and his thoughts are more "gut feeling" and less logical progression.

    I highly recommend the book. :)

    Mom: Probably. It doesn't look much like a dog bite. We didn't get him to the vet before the trip, and now he's actually looking pretty well - moving it and twitching it and such.

    Rudee: Thanks for the kind words.