...busting up my brains for the words

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Personally, a grim day

I don't write about her much, but Zazu is my 18-year-old pet cat. Whenever I mention my cat is almost 20 years old people rarely fail to exclaim, "Wow! That's an old cat." Well, you'd never know she's old to see her. She's as spry as a 2-year-old, almost.
My home is known only secretly to myself as Zazudu. (tip o' the bird to Lileks)

Legendary was the Xanadu where Kubla
Kahn decreed his stately pleasure
dome -
(with quotes in his voice)
"Where twice five miles of fertile
ground, with walls and towers were
girdled 'round."
(dropping the quotes)
Today, almost as legendary is Florida's
XANADU - world's largest private
pleasure ground. Here, on the deserts
of the Gulf Coast, a private mountain
was commissioned, successfully built
for its landlord. Here in a private
valley, as in the Coleridge poem,
"blossoms many an incense-bearing tree."
Verily, "a miracle of rare device."

I take good care of her.
She almost died 15 years ago of an intestinal blockage.
My vet at that time got me convinced to fast her one day per week as a preventative measure from allowing that to happen again. And it seems to have worked by the looks of her advanced age. That vet was an holistic vet. He'd convinced me of the reasonableness of feeding her only at dusk in order to match naturalistic patterns for nocturnal hunters, as cats are. The feedings are only just enough to satisfy her consumption of one meal. It's not healthy for a cat to have food available all day long to grow bored with. Such habits only promote obesity and laziness.
Zazu has never been fat and lazy. Just last week she'd caught The Mouse.
My apartment was inhabited by a family of mice. Oh sure, Zazu would catch one now and then. Sometimes I would score with a death trap or a live trap and then flush it down the toilet. But The Mouse defied me for a few weeks. He was actually licking the death traps clean of peanut butter without tripping the spring. Imagine my astonishment. I'd carefully lay a trap with aromatic, irresistible peanut butter and go to bed. Next morning, I'd check my trap and the peanut butter would be cleaned off and the trap unsprung. That's why I call him The Mouse. I've never seen such fearless cajones on a mouse before. One lick licked with just a smidgen too much pressure and FWAP! ; broken mouse neck. I tried an array of tricks of my own. I placed the live trap in the space where this death trap was. I'd reasoned that The Mouse would have grown cocky with his skill at licking the trap clean. The live trap would be impossible to finesse and he would not escape before the doors slammed shut on him. And then I would greet him next morning to gloat and taunt him like Scarface, sharing my victim with Zazu's audience before the sentence would be meted out and the offering made to the porcelain god.
But my satisfaction never materialized with this plan. The Mouse was too wily to enter my lair.
I had another trick up my sleeve. I found another death trap that had a decidedly more sensitive trigger than the licked-clean one. This trap would be the deadly end of The Mouse. I tried to imagine his surprise as the bar snapped down on his head. He'd be gobsmaked with incredulity. "How could this happen?," he'd think." I know the precise amount of tongue presser to apply without tripping it. This cannot ......" And that would be as far as his thoughts would be allowed, as the highly wound spring ended his little mouse life.
That didn't work either. Somehow, he never touched that trap. The bait was intact for almost a week. How did The Mouse know? This was one smart mouse. I was beginning to feel emasculated by this mousy rodent.

That's when Zazu stepped into the fray. It was 3:30 a.m. I was awakened from a deep sleep by Zazu's killer cry. It's a bone chilling sound. She's got The Mouse clamped in her jaws and she's crying out in shrill tones. We've cohabited for 18+ years, so I know the language. She's saying, "I've got him. This motherfucker tried to steal around in the kitchen like he owns the place and I am not letting him go for all the salmon in Alaska. Intruder alert. Intruder alert."

I rubbed the sleep from mine eyes and immediately recognized that call. Turning on the light, I could see Zazu trying to bring The Mouse into my bed. No way.
"Good Zazu!"
I let her play The Mouse around in her jaws for a minute or two more. There was no life to be seen in The Mouse. He was limp. So I took The Mouse's tail. Zazu gave him to me. Dead. I flushed him down the toilet. Praising Zazu repeatedly, this was a prize night. This called for celebration. Fresh Whiskas Ocean Whitefish and Tuna Dinner in Juices.

Last Monday was just another fasting day. So I thought. Until I'd realized that Zazu was not yowling for a meal as she always does on Mondays. She wasn't hungry.

I took Zazu to the local Uptown Veterinarian Clinic this afternoon. According to their tests, she has severe kidney failure. But she doesn't seem to be suffering. Yes, she's a bit sluggish. Yes, she's lost weight. But she is eating. And she's animated. Her tail flicks. She's quiet for the most part, giving voice occasionally with the sporadic "meow".

I love her. She is a wonderful pet. My appreciation of her companionship couldn't be more acute.

(dropping the quotes)
Here, for Xanadu's landlord, will be
held 1940's biggest, strangest funeral;
here this week is laid to rest a potent
figure of our Century - America's Kubla
Kahn - Charles Foster Kane.
In journalism's history, other names
are honored more than Charles Foster
Kane's, more justly revered. Among
publishers, second only to James Gordon
Bennet the First: his dashing, expatriate
son; England's Northcliffe and Beaverbrook;
Chicago's Patterson and McCormick;

Mouse Update: This morning upon checking my traps
I found that the death trap had
dispatched another mouse! Is this The Mouse?
I will probably never know, since he is dead
and I cannot ask him.


  • At 1:51 AM, Anonymous Spidey said…

    So very sorry to hear Zazu is poorly :-(

    All you can do is love her, and be there for her.....when her time comes, let her go gently to Rainbow Bridge.

    Keep strong....but I know how hard this journey is :-(

    Love on ya


  • At 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey PMB,

    Hang in there my friend. Nadja and I will be thinkng about you. Take care,


  • At 11:06 AM, Blogger pinkmonkeybird said…

    Thanks Spidy.
    Thanks Scottyd.

    Zazu is gaining back a bit of weight after I altered her diet. She's pretty much her usual self as of this morning. I've taken to letting her return to being an "outdoor cat". She seems to love that.

    Things are not bad. Thanks for your thoughts.


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