Belling the Cat, Parents and Children, and the Virtual Graveyard

bell the cat

Jezebel is not happy with me this morning.  Not at all.  But I did level the playing field between her and Fanny.

Cats generally despise collars, and it takes awhile for them to get used to them.  Isabel never would wear a collar.  She was too good at removing them, and at some point several years ago I gave up.  Isabel’s almost 15 years old.  She has no interest in actually going outside anyway, so collaring and belling her is sort of pointless.  Miz Izz is quite content to lounge in the window sill, enjoying the climate control as she watches the birds and other little critters of nature.  She didn’t get to be an old fossil by being stupid.  F.B. is the same way- I’ve never tried collaring F.B., and it probably wouldn’t make much sense because she is even less interested in the great outdoors than Miz Izz.  F.B. has got to be the most sanguine cat on earth.

I put a collar, tag and bell on Fanny after her brief, unauthorized forays out in the great wide open.  Both times I found her large, frightened carcass under the dump truck on the body shop lot.  At least with the bell on, I have a chance of hearing Fanny if she tries to sneak out the door.

bff

Jezebel spent a good portion of the evening trying to run away from the bell.  Hopefully by tonight she will realize the bell’s attached, and hopefully she will begin to understand the more you move the more noise it makes.   I’m hoping she will chill some, and at least partially forgive me.  I’d put a collar on her much earlier to get her used to wearing one, but she is so tiny that I have the collar adjusted almost as small as it will go as it is.   I thought about those teeny collars for ferrets or the collars for ankle biter dogs, but cat collars are specifically made so if a cat gets tangled and is dangling from something the collar will release before the cat is asphyxiated.

bad kitty

Jezebel doesn’t really try to get outside, but she does torment Fanny every chance she gets.  Fanny- all 17# of her- is a wide target.  Fanny’s not only slow, she has a bell on to boot.  So Jezebel, being young, lithe, fast and silent, can stalk and ambush poor fat Fanny with impunity.  Even though Fanny is about 3-4 times as large as Jezebel, Fanny is a poor fighter and has a hard time defending herself, especially when Jezebel wraps herself around Fanny’s neck and starts in with the rabbit kicks.

So I have to try to make it fair.  Even though I know, life is not fair, and some things really suck no matter what you do.

Sheena is not much longer for this world, and in some ways it breaks my heart.  I scheduled the mobile vet to come to our house tomorrow (if she’s still with us then) to put her down.  I hate it, I hate it, I hate it, but she’s gotten to the point where she doesn’t want to eat, and isn’t enjoying being a dog anymore.  She’s actively dying at this point, and it’s not right to let her suffer.

In some ways I wish we could have done more for her, but she was so ill-treated and in such poor health when we found her, that there’s only so much you can do.   She has had numerous issues with mobility from the beginning with the severe HD, but now the mammary growths have come back with a vengeance, and they are everywhere.  She is barely able to stand and walk and it’s getting hard for her to breathe.   I’m glad I got through to the mobile vet.  I wish he could have made it out today but tomorrow’s the soonest I could get.  Although Sheena has never had problems with going the vet, let’s face it, she’s not going to have an easy time getting in the car to begin with, and even worse, it’s not easy to load 75# of dead dog back in the car.  I took Heidi to our regular vet when we had to let her go, which I preferred in a way, because we love our vet, but it’s not a pleasant 40 mile road trip back home knowing you have a dead dog in the trunk that you’re going to have to both unload and help bury.  It was awful enough with Heidi, and she only weighed about 60#.

goodfellas trunk scene

I can’t help it, and I know it’s macabre, but there’s something about transporting a dead body (even a dog’s) in the trunk that reminds me of the movie Goodfellas.

I really don’t want to do that again.

We had a mobile vet come out when Kayla was dying.  I think it’s the same guy who came out with Kayla.  I hope so, because he was very understanding.  Kayla was a good 90# when she died.  I could not lift her by myself.  It might sound cruel, but we laid her out on a large blanket before the vet started in with the chemicals, so we could sort of roll her up as if she were in a hammock- so we could carry her outside and lower her into her grave.  I know it sucks, but even in the mechanics of death, someone still has to think about the logistics.  We will have to do the same thing with Sheena.  I can go on and on about how it sucks that we outlive dogs (and Sheena’s probably only about 7 or 8, which really sucks) but you can’t change reality.

nuns

I think most people have a sort of love/hate relationship with their parents to some degree, but the older I get the more I appreciate my parents and their work ethic and old-school values.  They did the best they could, especially considering Mom is bi-polar, and no matter how much Dad worked, it never seemed like there was enough money to get by.    I could barely afford one child, let alone three, and Steve-o (thank God) had very few illnesses or medical issues.  I do think it a bit creepy last Sunday, out of the clear blue sky, Mom starts apologizing to me for my trainwreck of a childhood.

trainwreck

What Mom doesn’t get, is that even had I been born into a family with every possible material advantage, it wouldn’t have changed my overall reality much.   I might not have been cursed with an uncontrolled, sadistic older sibling.  I might have worn better clothes, and might have had new glasses when I needed them.   Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten rheumatic fever, or maybe I would have gotten a more extensive formal education, but the fact is that in the 1970s, nobody knew how to deal with people who are wired like me.  Hyperlexia only occurs in about 1 in 50,000 children, and 75% of those are male.   Nobody knew what to do with my precocious reading, and nobody knew that it went along with constant anxiety, poor motor skills, abysmal social aptitude, and weak health.

geek_girl_2

High fashion, no.  High IQ, well, intellect does have its advantages.

Mom did the best she could with what she was given, and no apology was ever necessary.  After all, I’m not a correctional institute inmate, I’ve managed to be gainfully employed, and I’m not a serial killer.  I went to school with people who fared much worse in the long run than I did, and they were given many advantages I could only have dreamed of.

Perhaps had I been given every “advantage” I might not have had the fortitude to work for anything or appreciate anything.  Perhaps scarcity and adversity are good for the soul, even though neither of these are fun to endure.

mick-jagger

The older I get, the more I believe the great theologian/philosopher Mick Jagger has it right:

“You can’t always get what you want

You can’t always get what you want

You can try sometimes, you just might find

You get what you need-“

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