Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Good Cat

Batty the black cat on a bathrobe - it's hard to take good pictures of an all black cat with a cheap cameraWhen I met Leslie in 1991 she had 3 cats. Batty, the all black cat, was the last survivor of those three.

Batty was a smart cat, with a large "vocabulary" of vocal sounds. She would growl like a dog when someone came to the door.

Batty and Leslie had an extremely close relationship. Otherwise, Batty was not much interested in humans. After many years Batty figured out that I wasn't going away and started to warm up to me, conditionally.

If Batty let any other human touch her, that was a major complement. Just to appear in front of strangers was a high honor.

A month ago we suspected Batty was sick. She was very old, about 16 years. The diagnosis was intestinal cancer. Estimates of how long "it" would take varied. As it turned out "it" took a month.

Monday we took Batty, too sick to eat, too weak to walk but wide awake and as alert as ever, for her "last ride."

Batty the black cat - a favorite spot of hers, watching through the bannisterI've named this process "euphemizing" the cat - because we never really call it by name (what it is, really, is the murder of something we love). Instead we talk about "putting her down", "putting her to sleep" and the like.

As humans, we're burdened with the knowledge that the cat will die no matter what (and that reminds us of our own mortality, if we care to think of it.) We rationalize that the "euphemisation" will alleviate the cat's suffering. (Ours too, since living with a sick cat is not easy.) We know that "hastening the end" is "for the best".

The cat didn't understand what was happening to her. She couldn't remember being a youngster, doing backflips to catch a fake mouse on a string. Each day, as she became more sick, she was capable of doing less.

I wondered if she knew that yesterday she could have jumped onto the bathroom sink, but today she couldn't. If she did, she would forget by tomorrow. When I'm old I won't remember being able to do backflips either - but for a different reason.

Batty the cat on the covered synthesizer in my officeLeslie and I will not forget Batty. Leslie especially feels a large absence in our house - Batty would follow Leslie around everywhere, from chair to couch to bed. A great void has been created, filled only by a vacuum of sadness.

On my Complete Waste of Time ego-website is a page devoted to The Animals We Live With and The Animals We Remember. It's woefully out of date.

We now have only two cats (OJ is still with us and the new girl Miss Ivy Turnstiles-Perkette is not even mentioned. Riot "left us" about a year go). When I get those pages updated I'll post a notice here.

We've decided to seek out two cute young high-energy kittens to return our cattery to full strength. Anyone out there with a couple adoptable kittens? Drop me a line.

Meanwhile here's a video of a Scuba Diving Feline! (My question is - if there were fish in that pool would the cat try to catch them in spite of the helmet?)

A commercial which compares Cat Herding to "managing the complexities of the digital economy" Cute nonetheless.

Finally - a very early cat animation called "Feline Follies" - I like the sequence where Master Tom plays banjo and turns the notes into a little go-cart.

Cat Pictures

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