16 August 2005
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.
- the little tiny feet that spread out to giant fierce black paws when she was playing or hunting.
- how she would sprawl on my back or the backs of my legs when I lay down on my stomach to read.
- the way she asserted that her place to sleep was right between our heads; no matter how many times we removed her, she would just come back. in an effort to rest more peacefully, we started closing our bedroom door at night, but she quickly figured out that if she hid under the bed while we were getting ready for bed, she could creep out when we were asleep and settle anywhere she wanted.
- her fur, which was silvery and gray and black stripey as a kitten, delighting me to no end--"I've always wanted a silver-gray cat," I told Meg--which then gradually turned brown and muddy orange. I always thought she did it just to spite me, but the very tip of her tail stayed silver and black, like a little raccoon.
- we never knew, when picking up a pile of clean laundry, or a heaped up duvet, if there would be a brown cat burrowed into it.
- her fascination with the ring off the bottom of the milk jug cap. it didn't matter how many other toys we bought, or how much catnip was in them, milk jug rings could get her to play when nothing else interested her.
- her truly green eyes. I've never seen another cat with eyes that color.
- *rustle* *crackle* *rustlerustlerustle* "Morwen, leave the bags alone, it's 2am!" *squeak* her fascination with those crackly plastic grocery bags. any time you left a grocery bag on the floor, she would just KNOW, and then come to investigate it. usually she would pat it for a while and then sniff it and maybe lick it a little bit. after that, she would lie half on it and nose around the other half. we don't know why, but we know that all it was noisy.
- she would talk to us in her little squeaky voice, literally carrying on a back-and-forth conversation, frequently about the fact the dog won't pet her even though she is ever so pretty.
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.