Writing this made me realize a specific need e2 provides - one which is different from any other interaction in my life. One which I am terribly grateful for.

We got Gogo and Didi from a bonafide cat lady in the eastern stretches of Williamsburg Brooklyn. She had dozens of cats in the loft space and looked like she spent a good portion of her income on their upkeep.

She interviewed up sharply - "outdoor cats?" "No" ...etc. and when she was satisfied took us to see the kittens. It struck me as a group litter as the kittens seemed very different from one another and feral house cats will accept orphaned kittens into their own litters. KaySu picked up a tiny male with Siamese seal point markings and I picked up a very active lightly-striped female. They were pathetic and dirty and when we got then back to the apartment we lightly cleaned them and set up a little nest or them. KaySu decided the male was as pathetic as a GoGoMa seller (the men who sell roast corn and sweet potatoes at Korean subway stations). With Gogo came Didi for Vladimir and Estragon in Waiting for Godot. I don't mention this to show how incredibly brilliant, witty and pomo multicultural we are. But from a feeling that naming Gogo as we did brought him a bit of bad luck or karma..

After a bout with a nasty repiratory thing they grew up as fairly normal kittens - bothering my wife as she tried to do her leathercrafting and patternmaking work at home and developed into lovely cats.

When it was time to get "fixed" - one of the weirdest euphemisms, I actually prefer "tutored" from a memorable Far Side comic of about 10 years ago - Didi the female was relatively fine after her hysterectomy. But Gogo with the relatively simple and non-invasive snip-snip had all kinds of complications. Turns out he was monorchid meaning one tesicle was floating around his abdomen somewhere and had to be found. Also he had a congenital heart murmur. And an eye infection relating to the overlap of his upper eyelid. When we got him back he had stiches in his eyelid and a relatively large scar from the exploratory surgery.

He looks 'Siamese' enough (though actually I think his father was a large dark Burmese which we saw in the neighborhood)that the vet strongly recommended we tell the breeder we got the cats from about all these congenital issues.

We decided to monitor the heart murmur by an ultrasound the next visit which we decided to schedule early because Gogo was unusually lethargic. Ultrasound turned up lymphoma thoughout his little thin body. Deadly cancer throughout the body. And then a few more tests to rule out leukemia, FIP. And then a decision about what to do...

Untreated the vet gave him days to live. Treated months. So we decided to start him on a simple chemotherapy designed to make him comfortable and when the cancer takes over - euthanasia (a punchline to a horrible joke with the pun on "youth-in-asia" - black and stupid humor seems inevitable at such moments).

I'm surprised by the amount of turmoil I feel about this. I feel guilty in ways. At the moment this cat is getting better treatment, better nutrition and better quality of drugs than a large percentage of the world's population. i will probably miss a good friend's wedding. Most people's reaction ranges from the 'put him down now' to 'tie him in a pillowcase and throw him in the Hudson'.

Am I giving Gogo the chemo for him? Of course not - he is not a conscious being. On the other hand he is not in any outward pain, is still eating and even played a bit with the toy mouse suspended from a stick. It seems a waste to kill him because he is going to die anyway. And there is a tiny chance he'll make it through. In which case I'll rename him Lance.

This is all about an emotional attachment to an animal. A fetishism of sorts. I watched the movie Why the BhodiDarma has left for the East and dreamt that night of trying to cremate Gogo out on the apartment balcony. Woke a grown man weeping... I know what's going on - on a rational level - and yet these feelings are so deep I can't do otherwise.

E2 is not a therapist's couch and isn't a bbs... so I'll stop there. I feel like what I'm doing at the moment is akin to what Tony Leiung's character does in In the Mood for Love he goes to Ankor Wat, finds a hole in the side of the temple wall and whispers his heart's prayer into it. Afterwards he stops it up with moss and goes away feeling his secret is both safe and expressed...

e2 is like that for me. T.S. Eliot in a lecture on The Waste Land claimed that the poem was not so much "...an important piece of social criticism" but was instead "...the relief of a personal and wholly insignifigant grouse against life; ... just a piece of rhythmical grumbling".

This writeup would never be mistaken as "...an important piece of social criticism" or even an unimportant one. It is an "insignifigant grouse against life".

And through all the grumbling, Gogo just sleeps with the white tip of his tail stuck in his left ear.

About two years ago, my now (thankfully) ex-girlfriend and I got a black, male kitten. I named him Pixel, but fortunately he couldn't walk through walls. He was a well behaved, friendly little cat, and he'd had no serious behavioral or physical problems for the year and one half I'd owned him. That was until the Saturday morning when something happened that regretfully sealed his fate.

I was asleep in bed when the phone rang. As I started to sit up and reach for the reciever, suddenly Pixel jumped on my head and started violently scratching and hissing. Instinctively putting up my arms, I did my best to protect my eyes, pulled him of me, and tossed him off the bed. I got up and looked in the mirror to inspect the damage, and it wasn't pretty. Pixel had left deep scratches all over my head and forehead, extending down through my eyebrows in some places. I was lucky the little nut hadn't blinded me. He had, however broken off about seven of his claws in my head.

Twenty minutes later, blood was still streaming down my face as I walked across the street to the pharmacy. My roommate and I didn't have any bandages in the house, and I needed something to dress the wounds. I've done a lot of strange things in my life, but the stares people gave me that morning were the strangest looks I've ever recieved in my life.

I spent the rest of day treating my wounds and calling vets and the humane society for advice. The humane society was concerned about the possibility of rabies, and recommended that I eaither bring Pixel in for observation, or lock him in a kennel cage for ten days and observe him myself. Being frugal (cheap), I borrowed a cage from my parents, and did it myself. Pixel was pissed that he was confined, but he didn't show any continuing ill behavior.

The end of his temporary confinement was fast approaching, and I was trying to decide what to do when it was up. Pixel appeared healthy, but I no longer would have felt comfortable with him roaming free in my house. At the same time, I didn't want to give him away to someone else. I would have felt guilty if he ended up attacking another owner or one of their family members. The only option I felt I could live with was to put him down.

I didn't want to pay to have him euthanized , and I also felt the need to "clean up my own mess." I grew up in the country, and was raised with the belief that you don't call on the government to fix problems you can legally fix yourself. If your dog gets rabies, you kill him yourself, Old Yeller-style.

So, I took Pixel up into the National Forest and tied a rope between his collar and a tree branch. He could only run about three feet in any direction. The little cat was fairly calm, but I could see the fear in his eyes. He'd been in a box for ten days, had never been anywhere like he was now, and could tell that something was wrong. I petted Pixel and said goodbye, on the verge of tears. After a few minutes, I got up, walked ten paces back, and took aim at his head with my .22 rifle. Pulling that trigger was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Pixel kind of spasmed for a second after the bullet struck, and then dropped. I walked closer and put two more rounds into his skull to make sure he was dead.

After that, I untied the rope from the tree and drug the corpse over to the shallow grave I'd dug a few meters away. As I tossed the dirt in on his body, the last of his residual nerve impulses twitched out. I packed the dirt down and marked his grave with a simple wooden inverted cross. (If I'm a heathen that made him one also, right?)

I missed the little bastard dearly for a while, but I feel I did what was right. I learned much about cats, and also about myself. The scars healed, and somehow, Pixel's grave was untouched when I visited it a few months later.

From now on, I'm only going to have dogs as pets.

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