Perhaps you remember a column I wrote called “The Terrible Secreting Sphinx” about a certain feline named Aunt Suzy, who, for some unknown reason, began urinating all over our house about 18 months ago.
It's been something of a nightmare for W. and me.
Living in a home that smells like cat piss is more than just an inconvenience. After a while, that noxious smog-it defines you. It seeps into the furniture and the walls and soon you become “those people.” You know, those people whose homes smell like cat piss. And you long for the day when you were a person whose home did not smell like cat piss, which you never truly appreciated. Take heed my friends-enjoy this ammonium-free existence you all now enjoy. Because if come the day when you become that person whose house smells like cat piss, you will rue the day you didn't appreciate the days when you weren't.
It's like the Meat Loaf lyric, “It was long ago and it was far away and it was so much better than it is today.”
Because you used to love that cat. But now your insides rage with hatred for the thing. I considered euthanasia, of course, but realized I'm much too cowardly to kill myself. So I considered killing Suzy instead. I considered driving her over to the local Dr. Catvorkian just to be done with it. I am apparently too chicken for that, as well. I just can't go through with it. See, I've already driven a beloved pet to the pet-executioner, and it was a heart-wrenching, soul-sapping experience....
Barney was an average-sized, male mixed-breed with shiny black hair and bright white spots. We were living a covert existence in a large apartment complex that enforced a strict “No Pets” policy.
One morning I caught Barney pissing in the corner of my bedroom. I was furious. This was not something Barney had ever done before. I leapt out of bed, swatted him on the right buttocks and, to my horror, Barney's leg just swung 360 degrees like a gearless clock hand. Turns out poor Barney's leg was fractured (presumably from a car), which is why he couldn't maneuver out of the cat window and was forced to pee in my room.
Awash in guilt, I raced to the emergency room where they said Barn was going to need a pin in his leg and a cast, which would have cost about $900.
Keep in mind, this happened in 1985. I had just moved to San Diego and was bagging groceries part-time for minimum wage. However, money is no object when it comes to an old friend in need, so I scraped some dough together and paid for the procedure.
The vet said to restrict his movement post-op, so when I brought him home, I built him a cardboard cat house with tiny windows, bedding and food and water. Then I put him inside and hurried off to work. I came home that night to find Barney had escaped the cardboard cat house, got outside, got into some brawls, lost his cast, and returned with a displaced pin and re-shattered leg. Now I really, really couldn't afford a new pin and cast, but my Inner Voice of Guilt (IVG) reminded me that Barn was an old friend and money is not an object when it comes to old friends, so I begged and borrowed some more money to pay Barney's medical bills and nursed him back to health.
After his right leg healed, un-fucking-believably, Barney came home with another broken leg. This time it was the left leg and it was as bad as the right.
Well, that's it, I thought. I couldn't pay for another surgery, but then, you know, that old IVG chimed in again, saying, Money is no object when it comes to old friends in need. So I paid another $900 to put another pin and another cast on another of Barney's legs, and it's like I was building some sort of Frankencat, with the pins, and the scars, and the shaved fur. But he was a good old cat, and it was good to have him back.
Three weeks later, I received an official notice on my door, saying something like, “Get rid of the cat or be evicted.” And I stood there reading the letter thinking how there was absolutely no way I could afford to relocate. Not then. No way. Not possible.
But money is no object when it comes to an old friend, said my IVG.
“Blow me,” I snapped back at my IVG. “I don't see you chipping in-fucking cheap-ass Inner Voice of Guilt.”
So I made the heartbreaking decision to drive old Barn to his executioner. And those meows he meowed from his little cage on the back seat during that fateful drive of death still haunts me today.
This is why I can't do Suzy like that. I couldn't live with the two of them meowing their ghostly meows in unison for all eternity, “Please don't kill us, meow. You're supposed to protect us, meow.”
No. The decision is made. I will not kill Aunt Suzy. Instead, I'll just root for cat-cancer. “Come oooon, cat cancer,” I sometimes say, like I'm rolling craps. “Come on, water-delivery truck! Come on, Rusty or Rinny or Buster or Spot. Come on, future-serial-killer-practicing-dismemberment-on-the-neighborhood-pets guy.” Come on, someone, something, anything, please take this cat for a ride. I just don't have the guts to do it myself.
“And I'm praying for the end of time/ is all that I can do-wooh-wooooh/ I'm praying for the end of time so I can end my time with you.”
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and editor@sd citybeat.com.