Cat people

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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

 

 

 

 

Cat people

9 thoughts on “Cat people

  1. Lady on the Grey says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. There is time for mourning, pain, and time for joy and personal growth. Sweet memories should be cherished, tragedies should be remembered as lessons learned, for we are living in reality and we must fight every day.

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  2. What an emotional story to hear. For a long time I couldn’t understand how people treat their pets like family members until one day a coworker had a cat that got out of the house and couldn’t find it before they were suppose to leave for work. They called off work and searched the city for their beloved pet. All emotional and distraught they finally found her. It was then I knew I was missing that unity with animals and have many since that time. Now I understand that missing link I had not known before between humans and cats and other pets as well. Since then I had children that I love dearly and would go to the ends of the earth for them. Sorry that you went through all you did for Cafe. You went above and beyond protocol for that precious cat. Children change your life forever which is a blessing in its own. The bond with your son is eternal and will have everlasting memories forever. Thank you for sharing this memory of yours as we can understand what you stand for and where your coming from.

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  3. I’m reading your story… touching… and beautiful… sad… Yes, we have a right to feel sadness. I could tell you similar one about my green-eyed L. Instead I’ll introduce Memnoch, The Devil. May I? He was the one, who suffered, who wept…
    «And what was happening to these creatures? To these tiny animals and to plants? “They died, that’s what was happening. They were born, lived and died, and began to decay. And that was the Third Revelation of Evolution: Death and Decay.” Memnoch’s face became the darkest I’d ever seen it. It retained the innocence, and the wonder, but it was clouded with something terrible that seemed a mixture of fear and disappointment; maybe it was only the naive wonder that perceives a horrible conclusion. (…) “I just assumed it had to be a mistake! I went soaring to heaven! ‘Look,’ I said to God, ‘these tiny things can cease to live, the spark can go out—as it could never go out of You or us, and then what is left behind them in matter rots.»
    He was the one, who dared to be sad, he was the first who had an unquestionable right to be sad. To sadness… Oh, so naive you could say… That’s just a bit silly, scary, funny novel – but among all our sadness…? Now, if you excuse me, I’ve to carry on my own Memnoch and play with La Baphomette (and, yes – she’s une bête), I wish you a nice weekend too and I’m waiting for a next post…

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  4. Luciano says:

    Well, everyone should speak for themselves, but I think our modern relationship with cats can be seen as a sign of amazement at their mysterious behaviour, as if we had a wild question mark walking through the house. Perhaps the suspicion and irrational fear that led to the killing of cats in the past (although it remains in our times) has turned into this amazement, what could in part explain some of today’s excesses – a sort of unconscious reparation (which cannot be accepted without questioning, as everything above and below).
    I have grown up with cats and in the beginning of my twenties they were all gone. Many things have happened since then and now, almost forty, I have a cat once again. His name is Fausto (we thought he was Margarida at first) and he was born in 2013. As much as I have seen and lived death since I was a child, I don’t know how I will react when he is gone. The one thing I know is that the next day, if I can, I will go and get another one. Not as a replacement, but to feel that once again I can love and care for a walking and breathing complexity, a creature that teaches us strange lessons about our own humanity.
    I would like to conclude with some verses from a “Person” you know quite well:

    “Gato que brincas na rua
    Como se fosse na cama,
    Invejo a sorte que é tua
    Porque nem sorte se chama.
    Bom servo das leis fatais
    Que regem pedras e gentes,
    Que tens instintos gerais
    E sentes só o que sentes.

    És feliz porque és assim,
    Todo o nada que és é teu.
    Eu vejo-me e estou sem mim,
    Conheço-me e não sou eu”

    Saudações deste lado do Atlântico.

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  5. spamdora says:

    I am a cat girl as well. My cat who was a (male) cat with character was called Pele (inspired by the fire goddess of Hawaii & the album Boys for Pele by Tori Amos). He was born in 2001 and he comitted suicide (yes – cats do this as well – he went into the river one day after he was saved by one neighbour who found him there) in 2015. Pele was the most beautiful and most charismatic cat ever I know. He was hunting mice for his blind mother. He accepted his one year younger brother Gollum (yes – Gollum cuz he was ugly and he couldn’t miaoo beautiful) … Pele was the most social cat to any visitors at the home. And he was a survivor. He did survive an attack by a marten. He did survive a fox trap. He did survive a rat poison. He did survive even an attack by a human who was beaten himc and he broke his leg. I was taken him to one vet clinic where he had a surgery with a kidney break down and one week recovery at the clinic. Pele knew when he was ready to go. He didn’t want to suffer. He decided to extinct. He did it with passion. I barely miss him. By the way, Pele was the best friend to kids. All kids who were meeting Pele were astonished how beautiful his character was and how much pain he could take and how much love he could give. I know from many people that the connection to cats is strange and sometimes a bit too obvious. I am sad for not having a cat in my city flat. But I wouldn’t take a cat into one flat. They need space. My boyfriend accepts this that I got a picture of my cat Pele always with me as well. He accepts it as well that Pele is and was the best mate in my whole life yet. Cats can teach people to grow empathy and social life.

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