Jules, a Washingtonian Cat

I had planned to write a humorous post yesterday about Wednesday night’s happy hour/liquid dinner, including a rant on RFD’s Communist Cafeteria decor (complete with insanely uncomfortable seats). Or on the continuation that night of an utterly fascinating conversation with Darpino on the nature of cities. But I find I’m completely unable to muster any type of enthusiasm. The reason being I had to leave my cat Jules at Friendship Hospital for Animals yesterday morning, where he spent the night under observation and may have to stay another night. He’s been diagnosed with feline diabetes.

I’m not one of those who regard their cats as their children. I’m fully aware that I am attached to them as relational objects, that I project an anthropomorphic relationship onto our dealings. I’m not overly sentimental about them. And yet… and yet…

It was the fall of 1995 and I was on my own in DC. I had a great apartment in Adams Morgan and I was embarking on a promising career as an actor. At last, I was able to fulfill my lifelong wish to have a cat. Off I went to the Washington Humane Society and promptly adopted a longhaired white Maine Coon, with one green eye and one blue. He turned out to be deaf, loudly vocalizing that long first night, scratching me for months and rebuffing all attempts at cuddling. But one night when I was in a drunken heap on the floor, sobbing my heart out about some ridiculous boy, he crept up and licked the tears from my eyes. Ten years later – he is my devoted cat, following me around the house, staring at me incessantly (the quickest way to a narcissist’s heart) and meowing that odd little “chirrup” sound he only uses with me. He’s pugnacious, destructive, and adorable. Now he’s sick and I’m faced with giving him two insulin shots every day for the rest of his life – if he’s easily regulated. The prospect of what happens if he’s a “brittle diabetic” and the choice I may have to make is what’s keeping me from being able to focus and concentrate on normal daily activities. I visited him last night and can’t get the image of the catheter sticking out of his leg or the way he buried his face in the crook of my arm.

So a big thanks to the folks at Friendship Hospital, who are really top-notch in the way they’re taking care of him, and helping me understand the issues of this disease. And to the Humane Society where I first got my Washingtonian cat.

3 Comments so far

  1. Bin_round (unregistered) on January 13th, 2006 @ 2:20 pm

    I am sorry to hear about your cat.

    When I was married, my ex and I had adopted a black domestic short-haired cat named Max after a year of marriage (the original owner named him Nosey – ugh, Max is a cooler name). I had never had a pet before and Max turned out to be the friendlier of the two cats we adopted who loved having his belly scratched and would come to the door when we came home, instead of running and hiding.

    After the divorce, my ex kept the cats (turned out that I was allergic). Not too long after, Max also developed feline diabetes and instead of putting Max through these painful injections and running against the possibility that his quality of life would not be as fulfilling, my ex decided to put Max to sleep.

    You have 10 years of joy to remember, and a “ridiculous boy” to thank for breaking the ice between you and Jules. :)

  2. Tom Mills (unregistered) on January 14th, 2006 @ 7:24 am

    Jenn, I’m so sorry to hear about your cat as well. What a beautiful story… thanks for sharing.

  3. Jenn L (unregistered) on January 14th, 2006 @ 2:04 pm

    Thanks for everybody’s kind thoughts, both public comments and private emails really meant a lot.

    Jules is home now and we are trying the insulin shots for the next three weeks to see if it’s a viable option. They aren’t actually painful – the needle is the size of an acunpuncture one and it’s a very small amount of insulin. The question is whether it will regulate or not. So it’s a wait-and-see game.

    He’s very sleepy and cuddly today.

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