Friday, January 14, 2005

My Name is Popcorn. When the Time Comes for Me to Act, I Will be Well-Rested

I would say we are about two-thirds of the way through this experiment in Friday Cat Blogging. We only have two cats. Oliver was last week, and we have a photo of an Italian cat I'll put up next week.

I feel disinclined to come back to our cats again and again and again. When enthusiasm shades into mania, I become uncomfortable. None of this implies any disrespect for Popcorn, pictured below, who is unusual. She will be 19 in July, pretty good for a cat. Like all white cats, she is susceptible to skin cancer on the ears and nose. She had pre-cancerous lesions on her external ear structures, so we had them cut off.

I wish I had taken a picture of her right after surgery. It made us feel so much more sympathetic, and Popcorn is a cat whose standards of personal hygiene are abysmal, so she needs all the sympathy she can get. Let me just explain by saying she has four litter pans in the garage, each of them a two-by-three drip pan designed to be placed under leaky engines that I bought at an auto supply store. That's a total of 24 square feet of litter pan. Her aim is not good.

She is also diabetic. I "skin pop" three units of Humulin Lente insulin into her twice a day. I grab the skin between her shoulder blades, pull it up into a little tent and inject into the void, usually while she is eating. Three or four times she's gone into a coma, and we've rushed her to the vet after giving her an enema of sugar syrup dissolved in warm water.

She is not particularly friendly, but then again she was feral before we took her in and gradually calmed her down. She is utterly silent -- a friend says her mother trained her to be silent to keep her safe in the wild. She never says anything. She sits and stares until we notice her and guess at what she wants. Ah, one exception: We know she can vocalize. She is capable of shrieking when a strange aggressive cat comes into the yard. (That was back when she cared. She doesn't care anymore. She forgets that she's eating while she's eating. We have to remind her.)

Harboring a cat like Popcorn is an existential act. You choose to have her, and it is not a rational choice if your touchstone is consensus reality about what makes a pet fun and valuable. You would not go to the trouble, but then again you never go to the trouble unless god or Bush or some other ex cathedra voice tells you to.

My cat, my choice. To heck with you.

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