Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Cats and Death

Back when the trip to Wales got indefinitely postponed because of our inability to find satisfactory and affordable care for our diabetic cat, Susan delicately suggested a book called Waiting for My Cats to Die by Stacy Horn. I searched all my area libraries for it but none of them had it. But my sister came through. She owns the book and she kindly sent it to me from the sunny climes of Los Angeles. At first I wasn't sure I was going to like the book. Horn is 42 and having a midlife crisis. There is a lot of whining. A lot of whining. Whining about being single, about her company which was in precarious financial straits, and her fear of death. If it weren't for her two diabetic cats, Veets and Beams, I would have tossed the book aside. Compared to Horn's cat care regimen, mine is a breeze. She has to do test strips on her cats. All I have to do is a twice a day insulin injection. On top of that, Beams has kidney disease and she has to give him an infusion every other day. The kept me reading and in the end I am glad I continued. Eventually her voice grew on me. She ceased to whine so much. She has a good sense of humor. And she's so, well, human and ordinary. Horn is obsessed with death and by extension cemeteries. She takes the reader along on her explorations of some of New York's more lost and neglected final resting spots. She is also afraid she is going to die alone in her apartment with her cats and no one will care. She has a psychic friend who tells her she has a ghost in her apartment. This sends her on a quest to find out who lived in her apartment so she will know her ghost's name. And of course, Horn is concerned about the death of her cats. She has a fantasy--she fantasizes a lot--about how her cats will die. It will be at home and she will give them the euthanizing injections. I found her fantasy touching and was sobbing by the end of the chapter. I wanted my cat to come and tell me it was okay but he was ignoring me in typical cat fashion, asleep in front of a heater vent. Instead it was the dog who got upset I was crying and showed up to comfort me. By the end of the book one of the cats does die and it doesn't happen like Horn's fantasy. I sobbed some more and got doggy kisses for my trouble. The cat just looked at me like I was a freak and demanded I stop this business immediately and put some food in his dish. Waiting for My Cats to Die is not an amazing memoir. It is, however, entertaining and thoughtful. An easy, and even though it made me cry, enjoyable read.