I had a cat once. His name was Cafe au Lait. I mean, I had some cats along the way but this one was MY cat. I think you get the feeling. I picked him up from somewhere not very comfortable and he was supposed to have another owner buy he stayed with me the moment we looked each other in the eye.
I once wrote on an angry post in my ”artist” page on FB and in between I told people not to expect me posting cat pictures or something that made sense then with all the other words I was using to express my frustration over something that happened. Well that’s now in the past, buried deep by minutes and kilometres; but I remember getting some heat from cat lovers who wondered what I had against cat pictures online and especially against people who share them. We’ll go there in a few minutes.But, if it was even needed, I have to state I have nothing against them. And their comments and messages were just like kitten bites. No worries. Sometimes, I am just doubtful about that overkill love of cats. Let me tell you why.
My cat died in 2011. It happened on the Spring. I was coming from a festival weekend and he was just there, laying still yet alive, with his sweet energy stolen from him in a matter of days like if a spirit robbed it and made it disappear before my incredulous eyes. I immediately took him to the animal hospital and from then on two of the worst, more painful weeks of my life started. Cafe was committed to a small cage and went through and ordeal of injections and small surgeries that left him dazed and confused, the poor thing. He was released after a week and I took him to my new apartment as I had just parted ways with my ex-wife and was still looking for a steady place to call home again.
What I did for that cat during that week is worth a million online pictures and cute captions. I was practically his nurse. My day started early in the morning. I had to boil his cat food and make it into a smelly mush and let it cool down. Then I would gently pick him up from where he stood still and decaying and give him a shot in the neck. Then some more medicine and time to eat. He couldn’t swallow so I had to feed him through a tube on his throat with a syringe. I had to be extra careful so he didn’t throw up. Sometimes he did, so i had to repeat all the process, wipe it up and feed him again. Then I let him be and I went to the studio as we were working on the album Alpha Noir/Omega White.
One day I arrived home and found him even in worst shape. So I stopped working for a few days and booked another appointment in the hospital, where he was being taken care of the best they could. Great crew. For 3 or 4 days I devoted myself completely to that cat. I woke up at night to help him take a shit; I stayed talking with him for hours, walked him to the balcony for fresh air. Everything I could do, I never said no. One night he jumped into the bed and he wet the sheets. Me and my ”new” wife (who was there all the way through it as well) woke up, took him out of the bed as he couldn’t jump anymore, changed the linen, put him in his little bed and resumed sleeping. Until the day broke and our sad routine hit us with a real life kick.
I did my best. So did Cafe. So did the hospital. Everyone. Above bitterness or dispute, we did everything to save him. I met my ex-wife in the hospital. I had Cafe on the carrier and I was stupidly hopeful. After all I put myself entirely into the task. Day and night. Night and day. So, we waited for our turn and it was time to open the carrier. With a faint noise, Cafe came out, barely could stand on his feet, he was nauseous, nervous, afraid. The vet wasn’t impressed. She said: we have to keep him for another week, after Cafe was x-rayed, and maybe operate more. He was sitting at my ex-wife’s lap and we looked at each other and at him and we said: no, no more. Let’s put him out of his misery.
I can’t really describe the feeling of this power of his life and death. It’s not something we can learn from a vegan handbook or Yoga for dummies. It’s a small tragedy. It’s the air of anguish filling your lungs, making you dizzy and our surroundings unreal. It’s nevermore. We watched him go for a last time. He was sweet and seemed relieved. We went out the door. Breathless. I ”checked him out” of the hospital. Paid the bill: almost 3000€. Took my ex-wife home. Came home myself. Packed everything that belonged to Cafe, his toys, his carrier, his medicines, his bed and put it on a big garbage bag. Took it downstairs and went to the thrash container and emptied it there. Went back home. A joint. Black sleep.
When I came back to life myself, I was on a plane from Toronto to Lisbon alone in a two seat place by the emergency exit. I had my sunglasses on and I was listening to some music, can’t remember what unfortunately. I would like to. Or maybe not. I had just played with Moonspell at a great park in Toronto, near Little Portugal, where we were one of the stars of Portuguese week. Great memories, nonetheless. I was double duty there since my Fado project (Amália Hoje) played a gig as well so all was groovy. We had just played Sweden Rock and they had catering a la carte (seriously, no festival buffet!) and life was back to normal except for the fact of that little heavy death and a feeling of loss that I couldn’t help questioning hard. After all, it was just a cat, not a human being.
Before you start saying that some human deserve less respect than any cat and before I see myself reasoning with you, let’s talk human beings. Let’s talk my son Fausto, my favourite subject and human being. He was born one year after Cafe’s death. I guess I was still sleeping with a picture of Cafe by my nightside table. I took it everywhere I went, every room of every hotel in the world. Until one day I packed it away in a cool box I have in my bedroom. I was a father now. What I take from all this is not about the love of cats and the hysterical spreading of any kind of love or obsession online ad nauseam, beyond the limits of good sense. What I take from here is a real life lesson. That week I was nursing Cafe I learnt to do a lot of things I never thought I was capable of. I was growing as a man. When Fausto was born I was a better carer. Much better. Thanks to MY cat. To our tragedy together, I got skills from that week that would last forever. And facing that little death I could embrace, better prepared by it, a new life, the most important act of my own. Of our own.
Another lesson is that we have an unquestionable right to be sad. To sadness. But that I will leave to another post.
I never posted a cat picture online. Or did I? It doesn’t matter. Now I think I have found the perfect excuse.
#theportuguesewolf #fernandomoon #moonspell #catpeople #catlove #hospitalveterinariodorestelo #cats