Category: animals

14 years of whiskers

Photo Jan 11, 12 17 03 AM

This past Saturday, I came home and found my cat Moses beside my bed. He was lying on the ground in an unusual manner, his rump sticking out from underneath the bed. An odor of wet excrement wafted up from his location. This wasn’t new. He’d been having stomach issues for the past several months, a revolving door of constipation or diarrhea. And although it wasn’t my favorite job, I grabbed the pet wipes and tried to pick him up to wipe his rear end.

I picked him up and he whined. I put him down and looked at him. His sides expanded and contracted at a fast pace. A worrisome pace. I stood there for a while, took a deep breath, and picked him up again. He grabbed at my bed but I held him against my chest and took him to the den where there was more light so I could see.

Once I made it to the den, Moses meowed in pain and squirmed in my arms. I bent over to lay him down on the ground when he swiped his paw at my face and dug his nail into my nose. He ran from my arms and I went to the bathroom. I’m very anal about my face so I flipped on the bathroom light to see the damage. It felt like his whole nail had gone through my nose but once I inspected it, it was more of a deep scratch. I put some alcohol on it and then went back to Moses.

He was in the dining room and hiding underneath the dining room table, his breathing labored again. My stomach tingled now. I knew this wasn’t good.

I went to reach for Moses and he whined again. And then he looked like he was trying to throw up, his bony shoulders rising as he retched. I stood up and walked from the living room to the dining room, my stomach vibrating now, like a cell phone buzzing in my bowels.

Ohgodohgodohgod this is it.

I went back to Moses and he had drool hanging from his mouth. I’d never seen that before. My own breathing became labored. I didn’t know what to do.

I went into my parents bedroom and…and then I didn’t know what to do again.

“Mom, Dad…” I started. Mom woke up. “I…uh…Moses. It doesn’t look good.” And the buzzing in my stomach shot up into my throat. Out of nowhere, I started sobbing.

“I know,” she said. “He was really sick earlier today.” She got out of bed and I covered my face. The tears came in short, stabbing bursts. “We tried to call the vets we knew but they weren’t open,” she continued. “No one answered the emergency numbers we called.”

I stood to the side as Mom moved past me to check on Moses. I paced the den again and tried to collect myself. I thought I had prepared myself for this moment. He hadn’t looked good for a long time. There was always a piece of me that worried it was going to happen soon, that he didn’t have much longer. But I tried to shrug it off. He was old. He wasn’t as quick. He had some tummy troubles but he wasn’t in terrible shape. It was just old age at work. He was okay. He was okay.

But he wasn’t.

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all dogs do go to heaven

I wasn’t going to mention this because I hate when people talk to me about dead or dying animals and I wanted to spare you all that uncomfortable reading experience. But something happened recently that I think is worthy of writing about. If you’re sensitive to such matters, you can skip this one.

Anne-Marie: Charlie, will I ever see you again?
Charlie: Sure you will, kid. You know goodbyes aren’t forever.
Anne-Marie: Then goodbye, Charlie. I love you.
Charlie: Yep… I love you too.

-All Dogs go to Heaven

Our family dog, Sam, passed away in October. He was 14-years-old. It was a sad time but he had advanced in age and I saw it coming. So when it happened, I was prepared. I was sad but I was also relieved that he was no longer hurting.

Our family dog, Sam, that we had for fourteen years passed away in October. My dad took him to the vet after we’d noticed he’d been acting strangely. The vet informed my dad Sam had suffered a stroke some time earlier. Sam was given medication but it didn’t help. A few days later, he passed away.

It was a sad time but because of his advanced age, concerning behavior, and grim vet visit, and I saw it coming and so when it did happen, I was prepared. I was upset but also relieved because I knew he wasn’t in pain any longer. For a few days after the vet, I lived in a fog of intense worry, scared each day would be the day he’d die because he was getting worse but also hoping it would go ahead and happen so he wouldn’t continue to suffer.

I thought my dad would take him back to the vet and have him put to sleep. And maybe that was his plan. But he didn’t have to. Sam knew it was time and walked to the pasture behind our back yard. He laid down under a tree and closed his eyes for the last time.

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christmas kitty

Our tree came out really well this year so I thought I’d share some pictures.  I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas/desired holiday of choice/day off from work and/or school.

Not the standard tree topper.  I like it.
Moses says, “Where are all my presents?”
“Seriously.  I’ll lie here until you bring them.”
“This is where I want you to put all of my presents.  And then I’ll eat the bows.”

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halloween and stuff

Happy Halloween, boils and ghouls.  I carved a pumpkin on Sunday…or I attempted to.  It turned out crap ’cause I tried to get fancy with it by shading and highlighting and…no.  Carving isn’t as easy as it might seem at first.  Maybe if I had a couple of pumpkins to practice with, I could have gotten the hang of it but my hand started cramping so I just gave up.  Anyway, here’s some pictures of the gutting process.

Our stray cat who adopted us wanted to help.  “Here, gimme that knife.  Let me show you how to do it.”

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I’m not even an outside person but the cool breeze has been so nice I honestly felt guilty for not going outside and soaking it up.  It seems it’s hot the majority of the year, freezing for a portion of it, and then there’s about two good weeks of perfect weather.  I didn’t want it to go to waste so I have been walking outside more.

There’s a dirt road next to my house that I walk along.  Sometimes the foliage gets a little overgrown and it does a number on my legs.  Lately, they’ve been breaking out into a rash (even when I wear athletic pants to cover them) and there’s also the occasional douche bag that doesn’t slow down when they pass me and it kicks up dirt into my eyes.  But when the weather is cool and the sweat is flowing and no one is around but me and the cows, it’s great.

Here’s an aerial view of the dirt road.  My house is to the left close to the top of the 3D symbol.  I walk to the road and then walk up and down it.


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rabbit, rabbit (and its many variants)

I’ve been working on writing an entry for the past couple of days and I just haven’t been able to articulate it the way I want to so I thought I’d post several pictures that I’ve taken over the last year.  I apologize for the profuse use of Instagram but I think they help the pictures look a bit better (an obvious n00b photographer fallacy, I’m sure but IDGAF).  Just…just enjoy the pretty colors, okay?

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twenty cows and a kitty

I know in my previous entry, I complained about being stuck in the country but there are some good aspects.  Low crime.  Sweet tea.  And lots of pretty cows.  These guys were chilling in the pasture out past my backyard.

And I shot a small clip of these gorgeous creatures grazing, too. With special guest star, Miss Kitty, who also thinks she’s a cow.

turd surgery

I was already pissed off because the situation with my lump still hadn’t been resolved.  When the ENT referred me to a doctor four hours away because my cyst was placed dangerously close to my voice box, I was annoyed.  I didn’t want to endure the inconvenience of having to take a day off work and driving that far just for a consultation.  But I did want to preserve my seductive dulcet tones so I begrudgingly accepted it.

Over the next couple of days, circumstances became jumbled and schedules became conflicted, which frustrated me further.  There was some confusion when it came to whether or not we were supposed to pick up the CT scans or if the doctor’s office was going to mail them to us and when I asked my mom for clarification, she got annoyed with me and accused me of being rude because she had already messed up the schedule for the appointed consultation and she thought I was taking a dig at her.  I tried to explain myself but she was an ice queen for the rest of the night.

With the mounting circumstances of a more complicated surgery in my future, trying to figure out when and how much time to take off work, realizing I would have to spend my vacation days in recovery, and my mom over exaggerating, I went to bed angry.

I always leave my bedroom door cracked to allow my cat Moses to come and go as he pleases.  If I don’t, he will scratch on the door frame until someone opens the door for him.  He does not like closed doors.  So, as I was settling into sleep, I heard my door squeak open and felt Moses jump on the bed.  We usually have a midnight meeting.  When I lay myself down, he jumps on the bed and rests there for a while before bouncing off and going about his business.  He usually wedges himself between my arm and torso but this night he settled himself on the edge of the bed next to my feet.  I thought it was weird but in my half-unconscious state, I didn’t think anything of it.

Until the smell hit me.

Vile dookie aroma flew up my nose and I flew up in the bed and reached for my lamp.  Clicking it on, light burst onto my cat’s butt.  His rear was facing me so I got a fantastic view of the string of Tootsie Roll-shaped turds hanging out of his brown eye, dangling on my sheets like his second tail.  Just chillin’ there, dangling.  I shuddered.

“Ugh,” I groaned as I pushed him off the bed.  He flew through my open door and I thought about going back to sleep but then I felt bad.  He was obviously having problems and I didn’t want him to be distressed throughout the night.  Besides, there was no telling how much he would have flung the feces around throughout the night so I decided to get up and try to help him out.

I grabbed some tissues and opened my door wider.  Outside, a giant poop streak snaked its way from the hall to the threshold of my room.  I found Moses in the living room licking his butt in utter futility.  The smell was as bad as something I’d unleash after a heavy night of Mexican binge eating.  I lifted up my shirt and hooked the collar over my nose  to block some of the pungency.  I lifted his tail and plucked most of the poop from his butt fur.

“This is my existence,” I thought to myself.  “I’m standing here at 12:13am with my shirt over my nose with a handful of tissue and turd waiting for my cat to lick the rest of it off of himself.”

After he ate himself out a little bit, I bent back down and lifted up his tail to check for any rectal remnants.  Sure enough, a turd had become severely tangled in his fur.  I grabbed some more tissues and tried to gently yank the poo free.  This is when Moses got difficult.  I thought the turd would detangle with a gentle pull but I guess I yanked Moses’ fur and he squeaked and yelped at me.  I tried to explain what I was doing but he wasn’t having it.  He swung his upper body around toward me and sunk his claws into my arms.

“That’s it!  I’m done!” I whisper-shouted at the cat.  I flushed the poo, washed my hands of the situation (both literally and figuratively) and then left a note for mom that she’d see in the morning:

Moses has a turd stuck to his fur.  Don’t let him sit on your lap or he’ll rub his stank all over you and your housecoat. 

The next day, Mom had a visitor as I was walking out the door to go to work.  I didn’t think it was appropriate to mention our cat’s incontinence in front of company so I texted her later that day while on my lunch break.  I asked if she found and removed the offending feces and she replied that she looked and didn’t see or smell anything.  I was going to tell her to check again, that it was definitely there, but things were still awkward between us because of her blow up the day prior and I didn’t want to make things worse so I let it go.

After work, I came home and asked about the poop again.  Mom said she looked and looked and I told her it wasn’t right underneath his hole but a little to the left and pretty far in.  As if on cue, Moses came through my door and jumped on my bed.  The smell hit me again.

“How do you not smell that?” I asked.  Mom just shrugged.  I put on some latex gloves and coaxed Moses to lay on the floor.  I lifted his tail and he meowed again but I ignored his pitiful pleas and poked around his butt.  Ah, there it was, the fugitive Tootsie-turd.  I lifted my shirt over my nose again and slightly pulled on it.  Yeah, that baby had dried, solidified, and fused with his fur.  It was going to take more than finger finesse to loosen that log.

I pulled out the scissors and asked Mom to hold the cat down.  More yipping, more scratching, but the turd had to come out.  I grabbed the poo and cut the fur around it until it finally dislodged from his body.

It took a couple of tries because his fur is so dense and I was hesitant to really go in there and start hacking away because I didn’t want to cut his skin.  Considering his squirming and the fact that I was holding onto a dried piece of crap, I think I did a decent job.  Moses got up, licked himself a bit, and then jaunted away.

“You’re welcome,” I called out to him.  Jerk.

Over the next couple of days, any time he would jump on my bed and rest his rump, I’d get worried and eye him suspiciously.  I took a few deep whiffs to make sure he hadn’t had another…occurrence.  But he seemed fine.

Although I had delays in my own surgery, I had to end up performing an emergency turd-ectomy on my cat.  I only hope I’ll be able to walk away as easily as he did.

This is the offender.  Don’t let his cuddly fuzziness fool you.  He’s gross.  
Cute face.  Sour stomach. 

feline valentine

a separation of flesh

I guess three years was a good run…

I keep saying I’m going to go back to eating meat.  But, I just can’t bring myself to do it.  I have a concern that my body might have a reaction to flesh for the first time.  You know, it has been three years since I enjoyed my last piece of animal carcass and I am concerned that by re-introducing my stomach to meat, it will be like, “WTF?” and eject that stuff with a heavy dose of diarrhea real quick.  I don’t know if that would actually happen and if it’s worthy of such a worry but nevertheless, I’m apprehensive.  Therefore, I always say I’ll wait until the weekend when I’m off from work so I can eat and take a sudden massive dump if need be without having to worry about crapping on the carpet in front of customers.

“This weekend, I’m going to do it,” I say.  Yet, I never do.

I guess it’s just because I haven’t made peace with eating meat again.  For so long, I was steadfast in my vegetarianism, but it was easier when I was living in Savannah.  I wasn’t eating so much crap and had healthier meat alternatives.  Now, things have changed.  It’s much harder here.  I’m so fat and unhealthy and miserable.  Yet, I don’t want to change.  Well, I do want to change but I don’t want to have to eat meat to do it.  I also don’t want to have to eat vegetables.  Basically, I want to have my vegan cake and eat it, too.  You know, without it making me fat.  Not gonna happen.

So, I’m going to have to make some compromises.  Try to choke down some spinach along with my salmon.  It will be tough on both fronts but I’ll have to push myself out of this pudginess.  I just feel really bad about the whole situation.  I suppose you really realize how much you do (or don’t) believe in something when faced with obstacles that hinder your own well-being.  Really, my vegetarianism doesn’t have to be as hard as I make it.  Eat more vegetables.  Eat nuts and peanut butter for protein.  Tofu can taste like anything.  But, for me, I hate almost all vegetables and nuts and peanut butter get old after a while and so do Tofurkey sandwiches.  I’m also not crazy about tofu.  Basically, I’m bored with my diet and I’m getting tired of it.  There’s hardly any vegetarian friendly choices at restaurants (unless, once again, you like salads and vegetables) and no choices at all at fast food establishments.  The black box closes in again.

If I really felt strong in my convictions I would force myself to eat leafy greens and tomatoes and carrots but the thought makes me sick.  I have tried these foods and I can’t deal with them.  I know taste is an immature response to not eating healthy foods but that’s my reasoning and that’s just how it is.  Instead, I’ll be selfish and make it easier on myself an grab a chicken sandwich from a fast food joint and shrimp at a restaurant.  It’s just that, I have so many issues with food as it is.  I have an unhealthy relationship with food.  I use food as a comfort, therefore if I’m not eating food that I enjoy, there is no comfort.  And where there is no comfort, there is more agony for me to take on, something that I am not sure I could handle at this point in my life.  It’s more complex than that but hopefully you get the gist of it.  It’s not as simple as green food is gross.  It’s about what kinds of foods are going to help me from going off the deep end.  The other alternative is to just get fat and be gross and lethargic for the rest of my life, all in the name of not supporting the slaughter of animals for human consumption.  Or, I could just eat them and be done with it.  As much as I want to be an animal advocate, when it comes to me and my weight versus animals and their suffering, I’ll choose me every time.

And I guess that’s the sad part about it.  How can people take me and my animal advocacy seriously when I eat the animals I want to stand up for and give a voice to?  I’ll just be another hypocrite.  But, aren’t we all to some degree?  It’s kind of amazing and frustrating how humans operate sometimes.  Our actions are often contradictory and I think that’s a part of the reason why we are so complex- or screwed up- however you want to look at it.  We think one thing, say another and end up doing something else entirely.

One of the nice things about living in the country is the privilege of seeing cows grazing in pastures on my way to and from work.  We even have some that live outside our backyard.  They are really beautiful, peaceful creatures when you watch them just hanging out and eating and lying in the sun.  It always makes me sad to see them and think that one of those calves out there running with their friends or family might one day end up being my dinner.  From playing in a pasture to pâté on my plate.  I shudder at the thought.

Animals are born into agony only to die brutally just so humans can wear their skins for decoration or eat their flesh, all without a second thought to what they once were.  It all seems like such a waste of life to be put down and squashed so easily, so callously.  We take their lives for granted.  No appreciation, just gratification.  It feels like a lot of people don’t take the time out to think about where their food comes from or how it came to be that way.  We see the sterilized breaded chicken bits in a bag or even the ground beef, pink and wrapped up and ready to eat with no semblance of what it once looked like and it makes it easier to swallow those hamburgers and to eat those chicken fingers.  As I’ve stated before, it’s not that I’m even entirely opposed to killing animals for food.  I just don’t like the way they go about it, causing unnecessary suffering.  I guess I just wish more people took the time out to appreciate the life that was taken so they could be comfortable.

Sometimes I feel silly even writing about these kinds of things.  Some people probably don’t give eating meat a second thought and I literally go days and days thinking about it, worrying about it, debating what I should do.  I probably won’t write about this much more, either.  I mean, I’m no longer a vegetarian and I’ve already posted about my journey several times so there’s really nothing more to say and no reason to re-hash anything, unless it’s to say, “Had a tuna fish sandwich today.  Hate myself.  Thanks for reading.”

I’m not going to completely give up vegetarianism.  I’ll try to keep my meat consumption limited.  I’m going to try to avoid beef and pork.  I don’t guess there’s really any reasoning for picking one animal over another except chicken and fish is a bit healthier.  Remember, I decided to start eating meat again for health reasons (but mostly because of my weight).  I want to always keep that in mind.  I didn’t just flippantly decided to devour flesh again. 

As I said, things have changed.  Although I’m going back to eating meat, I feel guilty about it.  I probably always will.  After being a vegetarian for so long, it feels natural to have an aversion to meat and skip over eateries that I know don’t have anything I can have and passing by various meats in the grocery store and not thinking too hard about it or missing it all that much.  Now, I can have those things.  I am no longer limited in that aspect.  It’s almost liberating, although not so much for the animals.

Friday, I ordered a pizza from Mellow Mushroom, the most amazing pizza place I’ve ever had the pleasure of going to.  I ordered a favorite of mine from my pre-vegetarian days: the Funky Q chicken, consisting of barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese, grilled chicken and Applewood-smoked bacon.  Up until the very second I got on the phone with the lady I ordered it from, I was hesitant.  As I stated earlier, I kept saying I’d do it but I could never bring myself to venture into that territory.  As she asked me what I wanted, I blurted it out and that was that.  There was no going back or changing my order.  I was going to eat meat again after three years.

I brought it home, opened it up and took out a few slices and started eating.  I psyched myself up by just saying I was going to do it.  I wasn’t going to think about it or feel guilty or hate myself.  Of course, that would come later, as it always does when I overindulge with pizza or anything other “naughty” food.  The meat part would just be a bonus bout of self-hatred for me to endure.  And I did it.  I ate a few slices and didn’t think about it and I was no longer a vegetarian.

It was delicious.

I think that I’ll always carry some guilt with me about this.  I’ll always feel a bit conflicted.  But, I’m kind of used to it.  I feel conflicted about so many aspects of my life and guilt is something that usually comes along with that because I feel like I never make the right choices.  I’m always messing up something, feeling inadequate and useless.  So, we’ll just add one more thing to the pile and hope I don’t crack under the weight of it all. 

Finished off the pizza today.  Hate myself.  Thanks for reading.