R.I.P. Boink

PottedBoink.small

Is there a cat who is not partial to ridiculous nap sites?

Tomorrow morning I take our nearly 17 yo cat to the vet to be euthanized. Her kidney disease has advanced that far.

She has been part of our lives for most of my kids’ existence and every memory of her lights up some corner of their childhood for me. My son and daughter were 3 when they got to choose kittens. Actually, this cat chose us, and from the moment we entered the big common room shared by all cats at that shelter, she pestered my son until he selected her. He named her Cock Boink Doc but we convinced him to just use her middle name.

It took more than a decade for the scar on my daughter’s cheek to fade. Boink ran across her face one night while she slept. What a wild kitten that was.

She chose us then shunned us. It was years before anyone got to pet her for more than a swipe or two. The kids would get so frustrated with her lack of affection. Then out of the blue she would hook a claw into their clothes as they passed by, to get them to stop and attend to her.

Eventually she transformed into a relentless lap cat – and has remained patient with these clueless humans, too. Remove her from your lap 100 times, she climbs into your lap 101 times. No resentment. Clearly we simply do not understand.  She is in my lap as I write this, but tonight I had to place her there; she lacked the energy to move on her own.

In her day she was lightning fast. We’re grateful she had little interest in hunting, but we did once enjoy having a landlord thank my son profusely “for having such a smart cat”, because she had caught the gopher who was  destroying his lawn.

porch

Boink (back) and Luna (front).

She had a peaceable nature and no ego problems. She never fought although she would stand up to a bully when pressed. Mostly she was indifferent to other cats. She accepted the rabbits, she made friends with the large nervous dog. When she was 7, we got a kitten, Luna, that she has groomed ever since, even though Luna is now 10 and twice her size. The last couple weeks, she hasn’t groomed Luna.

Our vet warned me that it wouldn’t be simple – she isn’t going to die in her sleep from this disease. I have to decide when she is no longer enjoying life.  Certainly, she hasn’t eaten much of anything for ages. But she still has interest in her favorites: asparagus and feta cheese. Every day this week we’ve been staring at her. Sure she looks awful, but does she look worse? Until today, when one answered yes, another answered no. But this evening there is no denying it. She is worse. It is time.

Goodbye dear friend and family member. We will miss you and all the days we shared.

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Blogging Feels Wrong

Warning. This post won’t be fun to read.

December 14, 2012 was a terrible day for the human race. It feels wrong to blog about it, to tweet or plurk or Fb it. Sure we all need to talk about what happened in Connecticut (and in China) but I am finding our social narcissism so disturbing. Worse though are those who keep blithely updating profile pictures or talking about weekend eating plans. I understand I have no right to judge how another handles stress. Grief.

I am mad at everyone but especially, perhaps, myself. I feel no hope that the United States can make the changes in societal attitudes that will reduce the number of such killings. Intellectually I’m thinking I should be out organizing for change. The rest of me retreats to a dark private corner where I can pretend I am not involved.

So many kids die all the time at the hands of adults with guns, but they die one by one and largely unnoticed, the car crashes to yesterday’s plane crash. If I were the parent of one of those other kids my usual sorrow would explode with the new distant grief yet chill with resentment that my own child died with so much less attention.

Every time there is a terrible public gun tragedy I think surely now- after this -it will be impossible for them to deny the connection between easy gun access and gun tragedies.  Every time I am wrong. 

Maybe we could start small. Maybe we could ban ammunition.

Gun advocates, please don’t point to the knife slayings in China as some kind of twisted indication that guns are not the problem.

On the internet I savor the opportunity to meet and get along with all sorts of folks and so I usually avoid discussion of politics or religion. Today that feels hypocritical: I can’t avoid mention of gun control to sidestep discovery of who is pro or con.

Blogging for Self-Awareness

I recently started this blog with an intent to write about, well, blogging, and my novels, and the writing process. Two weeks into the blog, I have more often proposed epitaphs or waxed wise about getting older. Maybe I’ve got a preoccupation with death, previously undetected.

I hope I’m not turning into my father, who was so fixated on death that for decades he kept running tallies of how many friends and acquaintances he had lost in all the groups that mattered to him, including WWII vets, high school alumni, and fellow retirees of his aerospace corporation. Although I wouldn’t resist developing some of his late-in-life eccentricities. After years as a rigidly rational engineer, he became convinced that UFOs are among us and, given a few more healthy years, he might have become a UFO chaser.