Friday, April 03, 2009

There is a Season (Turn, Turn, Turn)

Eventually, each one of us will experience some life-event from both sides. The heartbreaker gets his heart broken. The doctor becomes the patient. A child grows up and becomes a parent. Or, as in my case, first I gave birth and then nearly a decade later I served as the spouse to a pregnant cat.

She came to us hugely pregnant. The vet who had examined her after she was trapped told us two things; she had another week or so to go and manual palpitation of her abdomen indicated that there were a lot of kittens in there. I, who never attended vet-school, could have told you that. My first clue would have been that she was wider than she was long. One of the small amusements of the week was watching her try to unsuccessfully find a comfortable position to lie down, finally settling with using her stomach as a kind of a bean-bag cushion. Then, noticing I had been observing her shame, she’d hiss at me. Oh, how she hated me. She hated me for looking at her; she hated me for cleaning her litter-box; she hated me for having the temerity to put a hand in to offer her a bowl of food, and then she hated me for there not being more food. The way she squinted at me led me to understand that she suspected I had something to do with her being pregnant, and she really hated me for that. A pregnant cat is referred to as a Queen, which seemed fitting; had she been able, she would have screamed “OFF WITH HER HEAD!” at all of us.

Every night, I’d put her to bed with her third dinner and a volley of hisses and say to Consort, “We’ll have kittens my morning, trust me.” Every morning, it was just her, her demonic noises and an empty food-bowl within striking range of her claws. I’ve never been so grateful to already be on antibiotics because by day four my hands looked as if I had been attacked by maniac wielding a dull grapefruit knife. When she’d get up to eat or attack me, I’d speculate that she was acting as a surrogate for an Irish Wolfhound. Daughter declared the cat’s name was Carmen; Ddaughter has no knowledge of the opera, but I thought the spitfire suffering through the wages of sin seemed like a Carmen to me.

And then the growling began. When I wasn’t in there, she was shrieking but when I was near, she growled a low tigerish sound I hadn’t heard before. A quick check on the Internet said that growling was a sign she was in labor and that her mood might also change. It did; she became a pleasant cat about 33% of the time. Actually, not so much pleasant as wildly, cloyingly affectionate, howling if I wasn’t scratching her head and howling louder if I did it wrong. The next 33% of the time she was trying to bite me. The last 33% of the time she was trying desperately to get out of the cage which meant that when I’d go to put in her food I was fending off a charging rhino that would-- when thwarted from leaving the cage and birthing someplace unsafe --then collapse into my arms, weeping. The last 1% of her time was spent kicking cat litter all over the garage. Once, I walked into the kitchen, brushing cat rage and specks of enraged-cat saliva from my eyes and asked Consort tiredly, “Was I like that during labor? Do I owe you an apology?”

He thought.

“No. You didn’t have a litter-box.”

(I'll finish tomorrow. Sorry, but I've got some work to do today.)

5 Comments:

Blogger Char said...

poor babies!!! the both of you.

I think growling is quite common in giving birth...at least my sister says so.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Firegirl said...

Augh! It's a cliff hanger, Charlie Brown!!!

4:20 PM  
Blogger Not The Rockefellers said...

Priceless comeback, Consort, absolutely priceless!

Quinn did you ever have an inkling that your true calling was to be a doula to the Queen? :)

Peace - Rene

4:28 PM  
Blogger cndymkr / jean said...

I like the thought of you being a cat doula. Very good.

7:35 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

Really got a chuckle out of the comment about the cat howling louder if you didn't scratch her head right.... And the hissing when she caught you witnessing her discomfort...so true. We had a cat that would hiss at the slightest little infraction (such as casually looking her way).

5:51 AM  

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