oh kitty where art thou?

Dog and cat angel figures on leaves
Image by kathy doucette via Flickr

This isn’t technically Ask Caroline Wednesday since I haven’t gone to bed yet so technically it’s Tuesday. Hopefully I’ll be able to blog again tomorrow for ACW, but work is kicking my lily white ass and the only reason I still know which way is up is because a friend taught me this trick where you spit and then see where it lands. That’s down.

Since the beginning of Half Truth time, I’ve struggled with a few things. The biggest is obviously my inability to come up with enough things to say. The second biggest is the the battle being waged in my soul about whether to write unflattering but altogether hilarious things about my family on the blog. If you knew the things I wasn’t sharing it’s possible you’d hunt me down. I actually can’t even believe it myself. The most surprising thing is that in general I’m not known as someone with thick moral fiber, so I’m surprised at myself for not wanting to more readily hurt people for personal gain. Even more surprising is that I’m financially independent. Plus I’m not dependent on the emotional support of my family, because, well, there is none. (Quick, what’s my husband’s middle name?)


Why I’m not using our collective pain and humiliation of my family to further the Half Truth world domination is beyond me. I guess I do believe in Karma.

But even I have my limits. You can only walk by a place of cookies so many times…

My mother should be jailed.

Put in, locked up, and fed Pez without the benefit of a dispenser.

Last week I received a text message on my fancy new Droid phone. It was a picture message from my mother. In the photo was a precious little orange kitty sitting on her bed. It was curled up against the decorative pillows. What I saw in that little kitty’s eyes was trust. That innocent kitty believed in my mother.

What that little kitty should have done was wait until my mother was sleeping, and then mounted a simultaneous attacked on the main artery in her wrist and her eyeballs. Then left her to bleed out.

But the kitty didn’t. The kitty sat there and had it’s photo taken and sent to Boston.

What’s the big deal, right? Mom got a new kitty. That’s so wonderful for her. Wrong. My mother is the angel of fuzzy baby animal death. Moreover, my mother likes her animals the way she likes her children: only when they are small. Once an animal (or child) grows up, it is useless to her. It’s no longer cute and needy and therefore does not deserve to live. Let’s review:

1. Winston: Sometime in my youth (young enough for gymnastics, too old to sleep at my boy neighbors house) we got a terrier named Winston. I’ve never much cared for adult terriers, but there is no denying that they are super cute puppies. Winston was aptly named for his charisma and regal behaviors. By the time Winston was six months or so we were collectively tired of him. He had an annoying habit of standing outside the French doors and shivering for sympathy, even in the dead of summer. And his wiry coat always made him look a touch dirty. Ten or so years later, when I was at UGA, I got a sobbing phone call from my mother. Winston had to be put down. It was terrible. Inoperable cancer. She held him the whole time. He even whispered muffled thank yous to her as he passed into the next life. She was despondent. Turns out her hysterics were more than likely the choking guilt of having our family dog put down because it was cheaper than removing a small, likely benign tumor from his abdomen.

2. Dexter: This was my beloved Maine Coone cat. Dexter was beautiful, fluffy, and orange. He had a magnificent coat with brilliant coloring and a charming disposition. When we lived in our original area code, Dexter was a part of the family. As soon as we moved to the fancy side of town my mother found his ginger coat distracting from the aesthetic of our home. She paid me $200 cash to get rid of him and a $100 bonus if I did it by the end of the week.

3. Pedro: My class pet. I volunteered to take Pedro the Gerbil home for the summer. Pedro, like all gerbils, was a brainless, mean rodent, but it was none-the-less my responsibility to care for him and return him safely to Mrs. Matetich’s class in the fall. What I could not have foreseen was Pedro escaping, running under my trundle bed, and being crushed beneath it when my dad tried to find him. Even as I second grader I knew what had to be done. We’d call Mrs. Matetich and tell her what had happened. I would get a new class Gerbil and tell everyone that it was Pedro’s cousin. Nonsense, according to my mother. This was an opportunity from God. We would spend the summer pretending that Pedro was visiting my grandmother, not tell anyone, and right before I went back to school we would buy another gerbil that looked exactly like Pedro and never tell anyone. How great that we would get credit for all that hard work over the summer without having to deal with the gerbil? My mother told me to lie to a classroom of 10 year olds and my teacher. So I did.

4. Gracie: I purchased Grace for my mother for her 43rd birthday. I asked her if she needed anything from the store and she replied that she needed milk and something small and fury. I grabbed the classifieds on my way out the door and came home four hours later with milk and Gracie. She cost me $5. Grace actually ended up being a somewhat enduring family pet. She was an indoor cat and showed rare affection to a house full of love-starved children on the verge of coming from a broken home. After my parents divorce, mom took over custody of Grace. When she remarried the farmer, Gracie began her new life as a country Kitty. That lasted approximately six months before she was eaten. We think. There was just a paw.

The Gracie incident heralded a new era in my mother’s life. Things definitely took a turn for the worse. I thought perhaps she’d learned a lesson. I was wrong. Over the course of the last three years, I have received calls about 5. cats being carried away by hawks, 6. getting caught in tractors, 7. being found in… pieces.

My naive (stupid) little brother bought a beautiful English Mastiff puppy and decided to let it spend most of it’s time outdoors at the ranch. Six months in the 8. dog vanishes. Poof. Mom is devastated. Obviously.

A few months back I get a call that my mother had taken a kitten from a “campsite” (read: trailer park) because it loved her. Convinced (without proof) that the cat had no owner and wasn’t enjoying its free and easy life living by the lake, chasing butterflies, and eating scrap pieces of grilled trout, she drove it home to the ranch where she could love on it until it showed signs of aging. That particular 9. cat made it about three days before it was caught up in a fan belt. Gato Muerto.

The stories run together for me so it’s hard to say which came first, but there was a 10. rat dog in their somewhere. Obviously she needed a ratter to keep the copperheads from eating her while she gardened. A small puppy was purchased. A week later it was dead. Grief and hysterics ensued. It was very hard for me to remain sympathetic.

It should be mentioned that I actually had to stop telling the husband when I got word that my mom had a new animal. His good humor turned dark and sticky around soft and fluffy #6. At first it was a joke, then it was a philosophical matter to be discussed, then it was an issue for the church. The woman is going to hell.

So what do you think happened to that precious orange kitty with the trusting eyes and hopeful heart? I can’t say exactly but I can relay the text I got:

Tuesday: 11:07 PM: Emily: Another one down. Sad.


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