Lately, I’ve been thinking about killing. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about killing my cat.
Well, our cat, if I am to be precise. Her, a gift to us before this mister-of-the-house and I were even married. Something that we once shared. But now she’s old. She’s blind. And she’s become a bit of an inconvenience, if I am to be blunt.
She’s taken to peeing outside the kitty litter box.*
Yes - I think that she’s nearly done. And so I have been thinking about killing her.**
(Oh, I suppose the happier term here is euthanizing. To euthanize, to kill with mercy. And yes, it does sound much better that way, I agree. But a problem remains - my heart, my gut, my insides? They know it’s all the same - that death is death is death. They know that really, regardless of whatever words chosen to mix it all up in - whatever proverbial kitty litter thrown on top to hide that stink - well, in the end, death remains just that: death. Merciful or not. In the end it’s all the same.
Yes, we will lose our cat. We will lose our cat. They know that. They know. They know that we will be deciding to end her)***.
We named her Sam-sam.
Sam-sam, a half-blind, tuft-eared kitten, unexpected in our lives and who never did learn to retract her claws. A furball. My furball. One who showed up days before our marriage, before we had any idea what we were getting ourselves into.
(How could we, I think now - how could we?)
For when she first presented herself and declared that WE - we! - would be the ones to take care of her, how could we say no? How could anyone say no? Oh! I think of us then - still youngish, unsharpened. Ourselves unretractable, so able to think on the “goodness of who we were” - oh of who we believed ourselves to be! Ha! Yes, we thought we could do it.
We thought we could do it.
(Just to note, had anyone back then asked us what we figured it took to have a “good” marriage I probably would have smiled and said that being “successfully wed” was all about not arguing too much, being kind (always) and not hogging the blankets! Ha, ha ha. It’s all those sorts of things; I would have given all those dust-covered, easily folded and what I would deem now as ‘throw it in the corner’ answers. Blanket answers, you could say. Blanket answers. Yes. I would have said the things that were - are - soft. Easy).
But sixteen years has passed. And now our cat needs to die.
(And true to that we now also know that marriage is indeed about arguing. Oh so much arguing!
And let me tell you, let me yell at the world for a moment here if I may: it is so not about "just being kind"! How frustratingly stupid I was, I let myself be - for while kindness can help on the way to restitution, in the end it in itself is insufficient; a band aid relief to a union, a relationship between persons - that at times may - will! - bleed. Oh, and sometimes will bleed profusely.
No, there must be more than just kindness.
And further, while I am on about it - it is not about sharing the blankets. No, it is never about sharing any confounded blanket! Let me clear about this: there will be times, weeks, years even - when any covering that you can buy or sew or conjure up out of the magical lamb’s wool spun through your own bare hands as you softly weep whilst on top of hills of the Himalayas themselves will be too small for the two of you. It will be too small. This is just the way that it is.*****
So now. After years of wedlock, of betrothed joy and betrothed not-so-much-joy, of watching each other grow and stagnate and yes, change throughout these years - it is time to kill the cat.
I admit that my voice cracks a little when I finally do it.***** When I finally call and am on the phone with the receptionist (God bless her animal-loving soul) and she softens her tone just so when she hears why I am calling. Oh! I can’t help it - my voice breaks just enough during it , during this phone call that she - this stranger on the other end of my line - picks up the awkwardness and waits for me to finish. She waits! Oh heaven bless her, SHE knows this will take more than a band-aid, that such a decision - a decision to end the life of another - will never feel entirely right. That no matter how needed, how timely, death - the end of something once alive! - will never feel okay to do.
It’s not supposed to, I guess.
Goodbye my Sam-sam. My little sausage! Sleep well. Sleep well. You were a good, good cat.
*She’s taken to peeing outside the kitty litter box: oh, and dropping poops wherever and whenever she pleases.
**I think that she’s nearly done: please do not misunderstand that we don’t love her or want her gone. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is is that she has been a well-cared for, appreciated and frequently-petted animal. But now she is old. And infirm. And clearly struggling.
***we will be deciding to end her: I am not sure how other people come to this decision. I am not sure how other people come to this decision with any sort of ease. Or peace. Deciding to end another’s life - cat or not - is a horrible one. And not one that I would wish upon the worst soul out there. That said, I understand it to sometimes be the wise choice, the decent one, the one that needs to be made. If I dare say it, the merciful one.
****this is just the way that it is: after much debate about who was stealing which and what part of that bothersome - and may I add - always slightly inadequate blanket of our’s, we got rid of it. Or, more specifically, I bought another. One for me, one for him. Yes, that’s right. We no longer share. And it works.
And I might so add, a perfectly normal thing to do in Sweden. God bless the Swedes! God bless those inventors of sensibility!
*****my voice cracks a little when I finally do it: to be fair, in the end I was not the one to do it. While I did make this initial phone call to the vet, we ended up not following through with her death-date at that time. It just felt rushed; we were not ready to say goodbye. Not yet.
I give all credit to the Spouse-of-Good-Deeds who was the one who actually made the final call. And brought her in.