Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Bastet Goes to the Vet

We took Bastet to the vet yesterday. Did I tell you we named her Bastet? I know it's sort of a strange name, but it really fits her. She's mysterious looking . . . not that Bastet was a mysterious goddess or anything, as far as I know. I took the name from the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. In them, Bastet is a stray cat who randomly visits Amelia's home, which Amelia names after the goddess.

I liked the idea of naming a cat after the Egyptian goddess who was also a cat. Or something. I'm not really sure of the roots of the goddess myth because there seem to be accounts that contradict each other. On the web anyway. But here's a
link to a page that talks about Bastet, the goddess.

And for your information, we pronounce the /et/ in the name because /bast/ sounds like the shortened version of my favorite insult 'bastard.' I don't actually know anyone who calls people 'a bast' instead of 'a bastard,' but I wouldn't put it past some individual out there. Anyway, saying /bast-et/ makes it sound cute, like in French when they just add an '-ette' to the end of a name to make it feminine. Like 'Antoin-ette' or 'Paul-ette' and 'David-ette.' I made the last one up, I don't think there is a Davidette.

So we took Bastet to the vet yesterday because last week she went into heat. It was madness. I've never been around a cat in heat but I knew that something must be done to relieve the poor girl's surging hormones. Since she was a stray when I took her in, I didn't expect to her to have been spayed. But it only reaffirmed my irritation at the world. If she had actually belonged to someone before I found her, they were indeed an irresponsible bastard and didn't deserve to have such a beautiful, trusting cat.

Taking her to the vet was a very difficult thing to do. Her little meows appealed to my strongest resolve. I almost changed my mind. Okay, okay, no I didn't, but to illustrate how tough taking your cat to vet is . . . I'm using it as a literary device, you see. All my life my mom has been the steward -- she's taken the cats to the vet and everything. I mean, I was sometimes there, but I didn't feel the same sense of obligation and love that I feel for Bastet. My mom's cats were also my cats, but I knew the cats didn't look to me as their provider.

Anyone who's had a pet knows that animals are smart. They know who brings home the bacon. And they're thankful for it. You know they are, but not because they say thank-you or anything. It's how they love you and follow you around the house. Taking Bastet to the vet made me feel like I was breaking her trust because she didn't understand that the visit was important for her. Those are the moments when the language barrier really sucks. Other times you're thankful for it because not being able to converse in English with your pet makes them more adorable. But not being able to explain the pain they're going to feel and why, is a horrible thing. She didn't know what was happening, she didn't know why she was in a cage, and now, as she lays on the floor, miserable, not eating, I feel like I've betrayed her trust.

I know that some of you might be saying, "You're being a baby. It's just a cat, for heaven's sake." But if you're saying that, you're a jerk. No, seriously, I know you're truly wonderful, but you obviously have no heart. And you've never had an animal that you love because if you had then you'd understand me.

Anyway, she's more animated today and I know she'll be okay. She purred a little when I was petting her and talked to me a little. Meowed, that is. As soon as she starts eating, I'll feel better about everything.

N.B. As many of you know, Stoker and I are rather poor right now. To assist us in paying for Bastet to be spayed, we went through an organization called Cat Nip and Tuck. I think they might only be in Phoenix, but I'm sure there are other groups out there like them. This organization is similar to TNR, a program designed to reduce the population of feral cats without euthanizing them. But Cat Nip and Tuck is for pet owners, I think, and Stoker and I are extremely grateful for them.

ps. Blogger sucks! I had so many problems getting this to post right it took me TWO HOURS to do it. It should have only taken an hour or less. Stupid morons.


Greg said...

Earlier this year one of my cats had a brain tumor. Almost everyone, including my mother, thought we should put him down. We charged the hell out of our credit card and had the surgery. He's as frisky as a kitten now. I totally understand your frustration with not being able to communicate. I don't know what he was thinking when we kept taking him to the vet for CT scans, but I doubt it was "My humans just want me to get better."

Matthew said...

That's a cute kitty. I like the name Bastet; I think pronouncing the "et" at the end sounds good, too.

liz said...

I am reading Sight Hound by Pam Houston right now, and the dogs and a cat are totally characters in the book, they all take turns narrating the story. The story itself is not that great, but the animals sure are.

Cute kitty!

Aries327 said...

Greg -- good men like cats, like Hemingway. I saw that as an ad for Gap or someone. But it's true, that's why I shop at the Gap.

Just joking, but really I'm always impressed when a man is gentle with animals. You rarely find a guy who's kind to animals that isn't relatively gentle with people as well. Probably there is some sort of anomaly out there that I don't know about and there ARE certifiable psychos who love cats. Anyway, I'm proud of you and Kris for taking care of your cat even though it was expensive. Way to go.

Matt -- Thanks, you're always so kind.

Liz -- Damn that Pam Houston! I had an idea for a book that was told from the point of view of the family cat. I guess it was a good idea and that's why Pam Houston did it.

I met her at a writer's conference when I was 16, but didn't know much about her. I see her name out there more and more, though. I guess you don't know what you got until it's gone, to steal a line from an EXCELLENT Chicago song. Heh heh heh.

BTW anyone who gives a crap, Bastet is feeling much better and is mostly back to her old self. She follows me around and jumps onto the shelf to get to her favorite spot behind the old fashion clock radio (see above photos).