Monday, September 20, 2004


My heart is attempting to stabilize. Husband-guy just drove off with one of my cats – my Emily – to drop her at the vet for a gum cleaning they have to do under anesthesia, and to remove a very small growth on her neck. The growth is hopefully nothing; her gums are black in places. Bad gums – she gets it from me. I can't bear to think of her waiting in a cage before they put her under. I can't stand the thought that she'll be scared and hungry and in an unfamiliar place. I've taped her picture and her story onto the carrier, including our phone number and address as if she's off to kindergarten. My husband finds this amusing and sort of sweet. I figure it's just a logical precaution since I'd throw myself from a cliff if they mixed her up with another cat or couldn't get her back to us.

Emily gazed innocently out the window while my other cat, Zap Mama, heard my husband in the shed getting the carrier and raced under the bed. I cherish their little personalities – wholly distinct and quite well-known to me. I have to go pick Emily up at lunch time.

See, several friends have suggested how prepared I am for a child because of how I relate to my cats. I see no comparison. At the market a while back, the friend I was with ran into someone she knows who just had a baby (who hasn't?). I glanced perfunctorily into the carriage and was not impressed. Two minutes later, a woman walked by carrying a beagle puppy and I nearly went into cardiac arrest the thing was so cute. Animals. I can take care of animals. People? I don't really like them very much. And the small ones seem needy and tend to drool.

Sure a baby won't jump onto the keyboard as I'm trying to finish a freelance article the editor says "isn't quite there." But you can bet my cats have never called me from the police station or come home crying from school. And if I come home crying from school, my cats are right there for me.

As Mike pulled out of the driveway with Emily, the dog from across the street came out to see them off, wagging and woofing and watching them go. He knows of what he woofs. He's old and has been through chemotherapy. I don't imagine I would choose to put my animal through chemotherapy, but that's beside the point. I think he's looking out for Em. These are the souls I can manage. These precious, furry ones that the neighbor feeds while you're on vacation.

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