Friday, April 8, 2011

Ellie gets to live

My cat has been on death row for the past week.  I put her there.  Granted, she is 18 years old, twitches more than Daulton Lee, the drug addicted character played by Sean Pean in Falcon and the Snowman , is partly blind, partly deaf, probably some kind of diabetes or kidney disease going on, but overall, she looks content.  She does nothing with her day but sleep, stretch, and lounge on the daybed I purchased for my human guests, but it has now become the cat bed.  She occasionally gets up, flops on the floor, gets all of her energy out in about 2 minutes, then off for a little food and water, back to sleep and dreamland.  No harm done to anyone.

So why was I almost frantically trying to have her put down?  I'll say it again.  She is 18.  She has lived with me longer than my own daughter.  The cat was actually bought for my daughter when she was six years old.  It was one of those trips mistakenly taken to Petco on a Saturday.  The day they have the adoption animals available for purchase from the animal shelter.  There she was.  A strikingly pretty kitty with eyeliner blacker than Kim Kardashian's, dramatically circling both of her eyes.

Perfect little round face.  Soft grey and white fur.  And then the words no mother wants to hear, "Mommy, can I have her, I have to have her, I love her."  No amount of the "no explanation" can convince or console a child, at least my child, when she has her mind set on something.  We left Petco only to drive away with my daughter sobbing, "she loved me too, did you see the way she looked at me, she loves me." Guilt, guilt, guilt.  I have always been a pushover for tears.  And her.  So a couple hours later back to Petco we go.

When I got divorced six years ago and had to leave our home, one of our "possessions" that I got to take with me was the cat.  Actually I was ordered to take the cat.  My ex -husband never liked cats, never wanted us to have cats, so for him, if there was a bright spot at all to the divorce, this would be it, me taking the cat. Over the years we had owned many pets, and of all of them, this cat was the one I never really bonded with, never felt any connection with.  But still, she has been with me through the difficult times in my life for the past six years.  Right by my side, whether I wanted her there or not.  I owed her something.

The past month has been a tough one for me, more life changing decisions being made, confusion, where to go, what to do.  I started to panic.  I need to move, I will go to Portland or Santa Barbara.  Ah, but this cat.  This damn cat is such a drag.  Such a burden.  I can't even go away for a couple of days without getting someone to come over and feed her, clean up after her.  And, to make matters even worse, I am not even allowed to have pets in this apartment.  I have kept her hidden better than a man keeps his mistress .  But now I am tired.  Tired of hiding, tired of taking care of anything or anyone other than myself.  So, selfishly I thought, I want her gone.

I went to my own vet, who after a thorough examination, said she looked very healthy.  Oh great.  What to do now.  He won't put her down.  I contacted another vet, who by law, would need to examine her before he could do anything like that.  The cost for all that I needed would be about $250.  Might not sound like much to you, but I just lost my job, so that is a substantial amount.

I checked with the local Human Society only to discover that my landlord is the Veterinarian there!  Who knew? Two things came to mind.  I can't take her there, and why would a vet not allow pets at his apartments?  Whatever.  Then my girlfriend called from Sacramento.  "Come up and visit, put that cat in a carrier and we'll drop her off at the animal shelter here."  Wow - I felt a cold chill run up my spine.  I felt criminal, my head adding up the enormous amount of bad karma points I would be accumulating.  We were contemplating murder!  I felt like this was an episode of "the mob wives" or something similar.  "No, Virginia.  I can't do that.  This cat has been with me for 18 years.  I owe her something.  I at least owe her to die with as little stress and pain as possible."

So all of you animal lovers and people with a heart will be happy to know, Ellie gets a reprieve.  I awoke the other morning feeling a bit of calm.  It had come to me in the night.  It dawned on me that I didn't have to move, in fact, it would be a stupid time to move.  What I needed was to take some time for myself, lick my wounds, read, get out in the sunshine, write, enjoy my life, make something of it and quit running.  "No matter where you go, you have to take you with you" sounded off in my head.  And it is so true.  I need to make peace with myself, find peace wherever I place myself.  I have the magnet on my refrigerator.  I have always loved it, but failed to live it.

it does not mean to be in a place
where there is no noise, trouble
or hard work.  It means to be in the 
midst of those things and still
be calm in your heart. 

So the good news for me is that I am feeling at peace with the idea that to make any decision right now would be a bad decision, knowing that all I really need right now is time and that things will unfold as they should, they do not need to be forced.  And the good news for Ellie is, that she had been granted a pardon.  I get to retain my clean conscious and Ellie, well, Ellie gets to live.

(P.S.  I love you Mom)



  1. Sooo happy for Ellie and for you! Loved the magnet message, I'm going to copy it and put it on my desk here in the school office. I think it's best like you said, to take the time you need. You know our house is always open to you and Ellie for a visit or long-term stay :)
    I've always loved that cat and would take her for you if needed. I'm glad she's there for you~

    I love you....

  2. aww poor ellie! I got you into this could stick her in my apt? I'm allowed to have them...haha...
    love you!!!