Friday, August 13, 2010

how do animals experience time, am I still married, and other kind of important questions

1. how do animals experience time?

The Team Gato update is that Team Gato is at risk of losing its team leader.* T-Mec has a not-small tumor in her left lymph node and a bunch of small ones starting to bloom nearby. According to the kitty oncologist, it hasn’t spread to her organs yet, which is good. The kitty oncologist also thinks this is reason to do surgery, which would mean amputating her left front leg (which includes one of her Ferd-batting paws), and some follow-up chemo.

So I’ve spent a few days trying to separate my contradicting brands of selfishness (I Want My Cat Alive For At Least Another Five Years vs. I Would Like More Than $5 Left In My Savings Account) from what’s best for T-Mec. The three-leg thing is not the issue. T-Mec would rock that look. The constant trips to the vet and the months spent healing from a surgery that might only buy her a matter of months are the issue.

I consulted D, one of my New York co-workers, who is practically a pet psychic. She’s the person who adopts a blind, deaf 15-year-old feral cat and loves it until it dies in her arms. No way would she ever advocate for anything but what’s best for an animal. She also writes such dark, intense fiction that I firmly believe she stares unblinkingly into the heart of Truth.

She said, “Don't do the chemo. It will put your kitty through a horrible ordeal, and I've seen it only prolong a life for a short amount of time. She will suffer, and YOU will suffer. I believe that dying on an animal’s own terms, in their homes, even the natural suffering, is an ‘easier’ way to go. Cats and dogs pass to another level. They don’t view or think of death like we do. We can be there, and help them, but even though you can’t let go in your heart, you can let go of their body.”

I sobbed my way through her email, but I also felt a huge sense of clarity and a lesser but still palpable sense of relief. When I raised D’s concerns to the kitty oncologist, she accused me of accusing her of wanting animals to suffer. Which, of course, is her way of accusing me of wanting animals to suffer. For people like me and the kitty oncologist, who love animals and think people are just okay, there’s no greater insult.

But I believe in owning my choices, so on Tuesday I will most likely call up the kitty oncologist and soak up her judgment like I deserve it, which of course I think I do on some level. The only thing that could change my mind is if T-Mec announces that she would actually like to try out the three-legged thing. D is going to do a sort of long-distance mind meld and see what T-Mec says (actually, it’s Reiki, and it involves licensing and stuff, so it’s not as voodoo-y as I’m making it sound, but who says voodoo doesn’t work anyway?).

Most likely these next few months will be devoted to living in the moment—the moment of toy-chasing and OC-chasing and blanket-nestling and Wellness brand canned food-eating. Already she seems to have decided to boycott her dry food-only diet, as if to say, “Look, lady, my time is precious and I’m not spending it eating that shit.” T-Mec would teach me some important life lesson that no amount of therapy has managed to so far.

2. am i still married?

The better news this week is, hey, no more Prop. 8, no stay. Or rather, a short stay, but then back to marrying if no appeal is filed? It’s all very confusing and star-bellied sneetchy. I’ve gotten a lot of excited texts and emails from people who are like, “Yay, you and AK can get married in California now!”

On a score-one-for-civil-rights level, I’m absolutely yelling yay right along with them. But on a personal level, I’m mildly cranky. If I were a straight person who’d gotten married in Canada in June, I’d already be married in California. Of course, if I were a straight person, I wouldn’t have had to go to Canada in the first place. It was a great vacation, but what if we hadn’t been able to afford it? (And based on the current vet bill, arguably we weren’t.) I’m a little money-obsessed right now, and I’m always stingy with my time, but I’m kind of like, “Look, State of California, do you think the gays have an extra $100 to plunk down every time the law changes? Do you think City Hall is our favorite place to hang out? I have a sick cat who needs my time and money, bitch.”**

It seems to me that if gay marriage is now legal in California, any out-of-state gay marriages performed previously should automatically be recognized as full marriages. Until a few days ago, we had all the legal rights—everything but the name. Now I don’t even know if we have that. It’s like the State of California was like, “Oops, do-over, do-over!”

After reading this, I started to worry that we’ll have another teeny window where we can get married before it’s outlawed again. Is gay marriage like an open reading period at a lit mag or the BOGO sale at Payless? It happens a couple of times a year but not so much that there’s a big slush pile or too much lost profit? Are we going to keep grandfathering couples in until eventually all the gays are married?

Yes, I’m grateful. Yes, this is an exciting time in history that I really wouldn’t trade for anything…except maybe a nice nap with my sick cat and the girl I married.

*Ferdinand would argue that he, in fact, is team leader. OC would say, “Are you sure it’s not me?” Both Ferd and T-Mec would say, in unison, “It’s not you.”

**Yeah, I called the State of California a bitch. What of it?


Tracy Lynn said...

Try giving T-Mec Tiki Cat catfood. That shit is human grade seafood. Most cats love it, especially the crab surimi. And it would be good to keep up strength and tempt the appetite.

Except my cats, who prefer it when their food does not look like food. And those fuckers still eat better than I do. *sigh*

If it helps, I think you are doing the right thing. Love you all.

Cheryl said...

Tiki, huh? I'll check it out. Team Gato does sometimes prefer food that doesn't look like food. I think it's because I'm a vegetarian, so they've never had real-meat table scraps. AK gave them some bacon recently and they just licked it.

Thanks so much for your support. It means a lot.

Claire said...

I'm sorry there isn't better news for T-Mec's prognosis. I think you're doing the right thing too. When you talk to the kitty oncologist, try to remember what's your stuff and what's her stuff. Sounds like you have a good sense of it from what you wrote. She may hurl judgments at you, but you are not beholden to pick them up, nor do you deserve them. Just no simple choices here.

As for marriage, my first thought was, "You're already married." It's still confusing though. Sigh. I've occasionally wondered if the legal marriages of gay couples in the US get recognized abroad since they aren't recognized nationwide here.

Best to you all, C

Erica said...

Sorry to hear about T-Mec's prognosis. Poor kitty. I think you have your head on your shoulders about your decision to let him live the rest of life out as is. I've had a couple friends who've opted for cat chemo and it's extremely rough on the cat, the owners, and the bank account.

I agree that California should auto-recognize your marriage and anyone else who went other places to get married. I call bullshit on having to pay more fees. But does that make gay marriage Arnold's budget-balancing plan? Like Payless, he's making up for slower than normal summer sales?

Cheryl said...

C: Thanks for the kind words. The National Center for Lesbian Rights is putting out FAQ sheets as fast as they can to answer questions just like these, but it's hard to keep up with the law these days.

E: Thanks for the T-Mec reassurance. And I would not be at all surprised if Arnold was hoping to fill some potholes with a few gay bucks.

Jesi said...

all my love, good thoughts and prayers are going to you and T-Mec.

and the State of CA can piss off! Iowans do it better. ha!