16 August 2005


having a lot of "firsts" is probably just part of growing up for most people. after you move out of your parents' house, you then have your first apartment, your first car, your first pet, your first real job. it may not be your first car or your first job or your first pet, but it's your first one on your own, and somehow, for me anyway, it's different.

the first pet I got on my own was when I lived in Athens with Meg eight years ago. a friend of mine said that a stray kitten had been lurking around his father's shop, where they worked on the engines of large tractor-trailer type trucks. we eventually cornered her and brought her home, and I named her Morwen, which immediately got shortened to Wenna. she's been with me ever since, through multiple jobs, *cough* boyfriends, and residences. in that time, I've also acquired a dog, another cat, a horse, and several fish, some of which are no longer around.

this past Friday afternoon, she came in from one of her rare and brief excursions outside, limping badly. every time she put weight on her left rear leg, it would buckle underneath her. we immediately took her to the vet, where she submitted with good graces to an exam and petting. x-rays showed no bones were broken, but she had completely torn two major ligaments in her knee. her lower leg wasn't mechanically connected to her thigh at all. their guess is that she got the leg caught somewhere and twisted violently to get it out, snapping the ligaments in the process.

we left her there overnight, as she was resting comfortably (with a morphine patch, like a nicotine patch, but with morphine instead. for when you want to kick the pain habit, I guess), and I didn't want the other animals to pester her at home. the next day, their surgeon examined her and said that surgery was an option but that we would need to talk to a specialist on Monday.

the specialist on Monday quoted a figure for the cost of the surgery which could be described in percentage points of our annual income.

we had suspected that would be the case, but had waited until we knew for sure to confirm our decision that euthanasia was the only reasonable choice in this situation.

Duncan went to the vet's yesterday afternoon to be with her; when she saw him she purred and trilled like she normally does, and he stayed with her until it was over.

I am intellectually and psychologically at peace with our decision, and relieved that she was comfortable and happy at the end, but damn if it doesn't hurt like a motherfucker.

I've said most of my life that I'm not a "cat person"--I don't indiscriminately LIKE CATS, like some people do, I'm more likely to do that with dogs or horses--but I love MY cats, I like them as individual creatures, not for just being a cat.

another list, this one in honor of Morwen, who has been with me virtually all of my adult life.

things that made Wenna herself.

bye Wennawennawenna. we'll miss your little paws and your green eyes and even your dead weight pinning down the covers at night so that we cannot get comfortable. most of all, we'll miss the sound of you, curled up in bed with us, your people, on a Saturday morning, purring so hard that we can feel it in the mattress. you were, and still are, loved.


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