Getting Boyfriend the cat to make a commitment.

My best Boyfriend.

My husband is downstairs, building a very small house for our front porch. It looks a little like a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home for cats, and it’s the latest step in my fiendish plan to adopt the stray cat known mainly as Boyfriend.

Boyfriend has been around since June or July, when he showed up, starving and timid, on our front walk. We fed him and he kept coming back. He got his name this summer, after he developed a habit of calling up to my office window when he wanted food and cuddles. Smitten, I thought of adopting him then, but we had two cats at the time. So Boyfriend remained outside. And I stopped worrying about him because he appeared to have been taken in this fall. I’m thinking he was taken in by the college guys in the neighborhood because he’s fat and not neutered.

But then my older cat, Copy passed away. And then all the students started going home for Winter Break, and Boyfriend started coming around, asking for food and trying to get into the house. And I started thinking of making him a permanent family member and giving him a permanent home and a permanent name. Continue reading

Writer’s block and the cat.

I haven’t written anything in the last week. Nothing. And it’s not like I haven’t tried. It’s just that everything I’ve tried to type has turned into an obituary for my cat, Copy, who was put to sleep last Tuesday evening. So – although I can understand how you all might not want to read a eulogy for my cat – I’m writing this now, in the hopes that once I’ve posted it, I can get back to work on my novel.

Writing without Copy might be extra difficult because she liked to spend time with me when I was writing. But probably it’s just been hard to write because I’ve been preoccupied with losing such a big part of my home life. I adopted Copy when I was just six months out of college. She was there through my first 10 years of real, honest-to-goodness adulthood: new jobs, new apartments, new boyfriends. Through shack-ups, break-ups, break-downs, break-ins – she was there for everything. Often, she was more of a roommate than a pet. She woke me up in the morning, hung out with me when I got dressed for work, met me at the door when I came home, sat on my lap when I wrote and always knew when I had a migraine.

It was a very satisfying friendship and I knew it couldn’t last forever, but it was a shock when the vet told me that Copy would have to be put to sleep.

Suffice to say, very little last week went as planned. We canceled our Thanksgiving trip to Texas because the cat – before we knew she would have to be put down – was too sick to stay in a kennel. And then there were several free days when I could have spent hours writing, but was unable to. Every blog post, every short story, every section of my novel I’ve tried to work on, has drifted toward the subject of cats in general and my cat specifically. So I decided to not write at all.

It’s nearly been a week now, and I have to start writing again. I’m hoping that this blog will get the ball rolling again. I think it might be working. I have an idea for a short story already, and there aren’t any cats in it.

Pet owners like that are the only pet owners here.


I spent most of yesterday wandering through various veterinary facilities, husband in tow. We sat in waiting rooms and exam rooms, carrier in my lap, or worse, the carrier sitting on the floor, its occupant out, growling, firmly held down on a metal examination table.

It was more than 48 hours since she was able to eat or drink or move freely.

Last week I posted about my cat, Copy, and her vet fears. This week she’s in the veterinary hospital with a mysterious bacterial infection. What happened? No one knows. She was in magnificent form at the vet’s for her vaccinations  Friday. She hissed, she spat, she did her best Linda Blair impersonation. We apologized to the vet techs and murmured sweet nothings to the cat and brought her home for the bath she needed. And then she was bafflingly ill. Continue reading

The bad cat owner.

She's hell on vets.

Today I broke a promise to the cat.

The promise, which I made about three and a half years ago, went like this: “I vow that unless you get really, really, horribly sick I will never bring you to the vet ever again. You may live out the rest of your life in peace, without a person in a white coat ever approaching you. That is my gift to you.”

That might sounds like irresponsible pet ownership, but give me a second to explain before the finger-wagging begins.

My cat is terrified of the vet. Not scared in the way most animals get when they go to the vet, because I’ve taken other animals to the doctor. My cat is a 12-pound ball of screaming, fighting, clawing, squirming rage. When we were going regularly, they used falconer’s gloves to hold her down. They asked me to drug her before I brought her in.

For a while, because my cat likes to maul her own tail, we were at the vet’s office all the time. The cat spent something like four to six months with her head in and out of a plastic cone. Four months of appointments hadn’t gotten her any more comfortable at the vet’s office, and I hated drugging her. So when we got the tail under control, I decided that I’d give her a break from the vet’s office, a permanent one.

Well. It lasted three years. The cat really needs a check-up and I can’t put it off any longer. This morning I called the vet and made an appointment. I took the guilt trip laid on me by the receptionist and then I looked over at the cat.

I’m out of tranquilizers. I won’t be able to sedate her for them this time. I hope they’re up to it.

A crisis of political identity and a picture of a cat

Last night, spurred by fatigue and indignation, I began a blog about current events. It quickly became political. Then it became emotional. Then it became crazy.

So because I don’t want to be that blogger, I shelved it and went to bed. But I woke up thinking that oh my god, I grew my opinions back.

Let me explain. I’ve been repressing my own politics for a decade. As a reporter, I wanted to appear fair and objective and politically neutral. I’m not saying I always succeeded, but I did refrain from a lot of political discussions. I didn’t register with a party. I honestly did consider all the sides of each situation, and if I argued with friends and family about politics or current events, I always found myself playing devil’s advocate. I’d argue for the side with which I even didn’t agree, just to even things out in my mind, just to make me feel neutral. For a while, I actually believed I had no political opinions.

But now they’re coming back, and while it’s a thrill to not shove my feelings under the rug, I am sometimes surprised by the thoughts bubbling to the surface. The last time I was actively politically-minded, I was in college. Things have apparently changed: I thought I was a liberal, I might actually be a socially liberal libertarian. I don’t know. I’m going to have to do some research.

It’s a little uncomfortable for me to write about this, like talking about religious belief in public,  but I think I should probably know what my beliefs are, because if I continue to spew them, I’m eventually going to have to defend them.

This blog is a little heavy so let me end by distracting you with a picture of a cat. Whatever I may be politically, I at least know that I will always be able to define myself as a crazy cat lady.