She is seven years old and weighs 6.8 pounds.
She has a massive overbite.
She got stuck in a dryer when she was a wee kitten and went through five minutes of a drying cycle before I found her.
She is not very smart. I'm not sure I can blame the dryer for this or any brain damage, because she got herself stuck in a dryer so she must not have been the brightest little cat bulb to begin with.
She is very sweet and snuggly, and her most favorite thing in the world is to sleep on my neck.
What you cannot tell from this picture, however, is that she is a complete and total bitch to take to the vet.
And last week was the once-every-three-years trip. I don't take her any more often than that, for both of our sanities.
To begin with, this teensy, tiny, snuggly little kitten of a cat screams like an f-ing banshee in the car. She wails at a decibel you can feel, as though she has some sort of crazy cat ecolocation sqwauk in her vocal cords that projects energy rays outwards that cut right through you.
This wail makes you feel like you have failed at life as a human being, that you are the cruelest person in the world, and it makes you want to die for doing such harm to such a small, helpless kitten.
It has caused me to question my worth as a human life.
And this week, it made me cry.
I was stuck in traffic, with my little cat wailing in the back seat, and I just started crying uncontrollably.
Now, there were a few other factors at play here.
For one - I was having one of those weeks where you just start to think that life is too damn hard and that maybe you should give up and go live on an organic farm and not wear shoes or have earthly possessions and just drink wine and contemplate the universe.
Actually, you can do this in Baltimore City if you live in Hampden and don't mind bed bugs.
I was having one of those weeks where everything was frustrating, I seemed to be running ten minutes behind everything all week long, I wasn't sleeping well, oh and the tires of my car had finally reached a point of baldness that even I couldn't ignore anymore.
That's $700 I didn't expect to spend. (Because I was doing a damn fine job ignoring the fact that my tires had been a safety hazard for quite some time, and so therefore I just sort of ignored the fact that at some point I was gonna have to lay down some green.)
Car stuff stresses me out to no end. Everything else in life I feel as though I can approach and deal with and problem-solve my way out of. I don't usually feel helpless or stupid or at a loss, except when it comes to my car. Car problems make me feel vulnerable and useless, and forking over money for fixing something is still an issue that makes my stomach tighten into a knot and my entire body break out in a sweat.
So this was already a stressful (not to mention expensive) week.
I had forgotten about the Small, Troubled Cat's vet appointment until almost the day before and I started dreading it the second I looked at my calendar and remembered.
This was also one of those weeks where it just feels impossible to be so far away from The Gentleman. I am only a little more than a month away from my trip to Abu Dhabi, and it's been nearly three months that he's been gone. We have settled into our "new normal," finding a new flow in our relationship that just makes me even happier that I somehow lucked into finding him and tricking him into being my boyfriend. Life is busy, as always, and the time does seem to pass somehow. But there is not a day that I don't have a down moment, or a slow introspective thought where I just plain miss him, and then there are some days when I wake up and this whole thing just feels impossible.
Sometimes this lasts for longer than a day.
This was one of those weeks.
Car trouble - check. Missing The Gentleman - check. Taking the cat to the vet - check.
What else can we pile on?
Ohhhhh, let's take a stressful work week, sprinkle it with some sleeping issues, add in horrific traffic and stir.
And thus, the cat made me cry.
The cat is wailing, I am crying. We somehow make it to the vet.
Now - and this is important - I have to mention that once the cat gets to the vet, she is good as gold. She doesn't howl. She sits quietly in her carrier, she lets the vet poke and prod her, and she is docile and obedient and superstar #1 awesome cat.
She gets weighed, she gets a thermometer poked in her butt, she gets squeezed and listened to and shot up with rabies and distemper vaccines. She is good as gold. She goes quietly back into her carrier, curls up, and settles in with her paws neatly tucked beneath her. She is silent as I pay (what I believe to be) an exorbitant bill, walk out the door, and even up until the moment we get into the car. I turn the car on. She's still quiet. I wonder if perhaps she wore herself out howling on the way there.
But then, I commit the horrible atrocity of pushing the gas pedal and starting up the car again. Here comes the banshee, angry, lung-piercing wail.
I managed to keep my own wails in check because I swung by Catalano's house to pick her up to go to a much-needed happy hour on the way home from the vet. I pleaded with Fiona to not destroy Catalano's soul with her wailing, but to no avail. I picked up my friend, and Fiona kept on wailing.
"Is she ok?" Catalano asked, reasonably, since it sounded as though the cat were being impaled in the back seat somehow in the safety of her carrier.
The wailing lasted through the cross-town traffic on the way home, it guided us through Little Italy to my house, and by the time I was circling to find a parking spot it had reached a pitch and level of urgency that made me wonder if the cat was, in fact, dying.
Her little paws clawed at the top of the carrier, her little nose tried to push out. She was screaming and yelling, and I was trying to carry on a conversation with Catalano as though a cat wasn't committing hari kari in the back seat.
"So, how is everything going with work - " YEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOORRRRRRROOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!
And then....Catalano got a weird look on her face.
"Is that smell coming from outside?" she asked.
"Probably. It's fine. I'm sure it's nothing." I said, hoping it was true.
"It smells like a diaper," Catalano said.
"Ha, ha, yeah - probably from outside!" I was desperately trying to cover up what I knew had happened, trying to save Fiona from humiliation. But I couldn't.
The Small, Troubled Cat had worked herself up into such a state of anxiety, that she had stress-pooped all over her carrier.
Somehow, we found a parking spot and got the mentally-challenged cat inside. I opened the carrier to find little pellets of stress-poop all over the inside, and thanked whatever luck I still had with me that it wasn't as bad as I'd thought.
Small, Troubled Cat was so excited to be freed from her carrier that she immediately ate a bowl of food, and flopped flirtatiously on the ground to be petted. She was purring and cleaning herself and essentially acting as though NOTHING HAD FRIGGING HAPPENED.
It would be great to have that kind of grace after throwing a fit and pooping yourself.
Long story short, we went to Happy Hour and I erased the whole experience with a 22-oz Kirin Light and some sake.
We don't have to repeat this again until 2015.
Unless she gets stuck in a dryer or something again.
Oh, and my new tires ride like a dream. I guess I didn't realize how bad the old ones were, or that my car had a pretty wicked pull to the left before I got it realigned. Oops.
Oh, and 38 days until I fly to Abu Dhabi to see my favorite person ever.