I kicked the cat last night. I didn’t mean to do it. I was asleep and dreaming about something that made my legs flail about. The cat was apparently down by my feet.
I woke up to Becca telling me, “You’re kicking the cat. Stop it!” When my eyes opened, she had gotten the cat out of harm’s way and was turned away from me holding the animal and shielding her from further assault.
If I were a truly decent person, my reaction would have been something like Holy shit, I hope the cat is OK. Instead, it was Great, so now I have to endure the shame of being a cat kicker. As a result, the delay I had getting back to sleep was not caused by worry for the cat. I was more preoccupied with coming up with a way to demonstrate how sorry I was. Skulking away to sleep on the couch was one option that popped into my head. Committing suicide was another. Ultimately, I did neither.
This is familiar territory when I fuck up somehow. The idea is if I punish myself sufficiently, then maybe no one else will. Admittedly, it isn’t healthy. Then again, neither am I.
The cat isn’t healthy either though I can’t expect her to be. She is 17, which is pretty old by cat standards. Her white-cell count is up and she has kidney disease. She probably has more stuff wrong with her that the recent blood test and ultrasound can only hint at.
In the morning, she gets her daily dose of antibiotic, an anti-inflammatory, and an appetite stimulator. In the evening, she gets a needle jabbed into the loose skin in her shoulder and has 100ml of water drain into her from a plastic bottle that hangs from a lamp near the couch. Becca does the needle jabbing. I hold the cat in my lap and tell her what a good girl she is for putting up with our shit.
I believe the cat will die this year. I have no expertise in these matters, but I do know she is old and sick, and that old, sick things have a way of dying.
Her death, when it does come, will make me sad. I know she’s just a cat, but she’s my cat and she has been part of my life longer than most humans.
I try not not to think about it too much. Like most unpleasant occurrences in life, I’ll pretend it’s not happening while it’s happening and try to make sense of it later.
In the meantime, I go through the motions. Motions are put there for us to go through. No good has ever come from asking what the point is. Just stick to the script and play part I was given. It sucks, but it could be a lot worse for me.
I could be the cat.