Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Two Transfers

The transfer of power in the U.S. House of Representatives, and potentially the Sentate*: Good.

The transfer of my cat Cocoa from life to death: Not so good.

He died about 1:30 this morning. He started panting, let out a yowl, staggered around a bit, lay down on his side, and that was that. I suppose it was about two minutes all told from "What's wrong with my cat?" to "He's dead," for me.

At least he didn't have to go to the vet. Like all good cats, he hated going to the vet.

We called the vet this morning to find out what to do with his body. (I live in an apartment, so burial out in the back yard is not an option.)

"Call the Humane Society," they said.

My boyfriend called the Humane Society. They gave him another number to call. He called it. They gave him directions where to go.

"So, wait--who handles this?" I asked him. "Where did the Humane Society tell you to take him, the dump?"

(I am caustic when I grieve. It's how I handle it.)

"No," my boyfriend said. "I have to take him to some place called the transfer station."



"That's the dump. The transfer station is the dump."

My boyfriend swore. I thought briefly about buying a shovel, climbing down into the arroyo--and then I thought about the some kid stumbling upon a half-decomposed cat corpse in a month or two. Or, even better, someone calling the police because "there's a man and a woman out there digging a grave of some sort."

My pragmatic side won out. Rituals and ceremonies and burials are for human beings.

I said, "You know something, honey, he's dead. He don't care what becomes of his body now."

"It's just so wrong."

And it is, but what are you gonna do?

This cat, though, this cat was the reason I used to get so furious with people who say things--utterly fatuous, fact-less things--like, "A dog, you know, a dog is really your friend. But cats don't care. S'long as you feed 'em and pet 'em once in awhile, that's all that matters to 'em. You can't bond with a cat like you can with a dog."

I always want to say to those people, "No, you know what? I can't bond with YOU like I can with a dog or a cat. Because you don't know what you're talking about."

Cocoa used to seek people out who were feeling blue. He always knew if you were upset, or sick, or just having a bad day, and he'd go up to you, with none of that typical feline prancing, flirting, "pet-me" stuff, no; he'd just sit by you, and purr a little bit, and try to catch your eye. And eventually you'd reach over and pet him a little, and you'd feel better. And all the time he'd look you right in the eyes and seem to say, "I know you're bummed out right now, but I'm here for you. Things will get better. You have me, don't you?"

He was far more of a comfort to me than I ever was to him, that's for sure. He was a good friend.

I feel horrible that he's on his way to the transfer station, even though he really transferred out last night.

Thanks, Cocoa. Thank you for 13-1/2 years of being the best kitten I ever had.

*I am putting this gross misspelling down to grief, just so you know.

UPDATE: Oh hell, I forgot some of you could just go comment at Flickr. Sneaky bastards! What're you trying to do, make me cry more?

(But like the picture says: Thanks.)

This is too good not to share (Genni, don't kill me): I get this email from a fantastic local reader, right, and she totally sympathizes about the transfer station business, and then she tells me that this town's preferred method of animal corpse disposal used to be something called, I'm not kidding, the DEAD ANIMAL PIT.

She swears, people. With an official sign and everything, including an arrow pointing (where else?) down. Down, down, into the dead animal pit! Oh, mercy.

Proof that my sense of humor remains as black as fine coffee even in trying times: Don't you think Pet Sematary could have been way better if Stephen King had only set it here and titled it Ded Aminal Pit instead? No? That's just me? Well, fine. But I'm telling you, it would have saved those characters an awful lot of spade work, and the yucca look damned eerie at night.