This morning, I sit here, my fingers bloody because I’ve had to force feed my cat, Aslan, this nasty smelling, highly nutritional paste because she’s not eating. She may have hepatic lipidosis, which is possible to come back from, but not if I don’t force her to eat and, thereby, make her hate me. The equation is not a happy one for me.
So I started thinking about how important my cats are to me – with Aslan, I have Oscar. They give me constant companionship, even as they ignore me often. They’re someone to speak to when I come home, since I live alone. They give me daily duties that keep me moving on the days I’d rather stay in bed and mope. They’re good things in my life.
I thought I’d see what other writers have to say about their pets, and I came across a few things:
First, Amy Hempel and Jim Shephard have put together a wonderful collection of poems by writers’ dogs – Unleashed. The collection includes contributions from Edward Albee, John Irving, Anne Lamott, Denis Johnson, and many others. They’re fun, pithy, and very true.
Then, I came across Cat Women: Female Writers on Their Feline Friends, which made me cringe for just a minute because some days I do imagine that I will be that spinster lady with my cats (just hopefully not as many who had several dozen feral cats in her basement when she died – when my parents went to remove them, one bit my father so hard that he could lift his bitten hand, the cat still attached.)
Finally, I remembered an essay Brenda Miller wrote for The Sun in November. It’s a beautiful tribute to the way, corny as it may seem, animals remind us that we’re human.
So here’s to Aslan, who I will force-feed until she hates me, all because I love her.