Sunday, November 23, 2008

animal family hierarchy II

2 years ago, i spoke about the animal family hierarchy in which i was the de facto leader to Rosie’s titled queen-ship in the family. about this, i have a sad tale of caution to all those of you out there who still hold on to the notion that you can aim to please everyone and still remain a cat of influence in a pecking order.

this is the wild west, baby. you may lay your whiskers on down cushions, manicure your spikes on ikea shelving boards and take your bread on a buffet line of vet-approved kibbles. don’t let such entrapments fool you for a second that primal catty nature does not reign like a God-given right in the big-eyed fur ball dozing next to you.

there are now 2 factions in the animal family. not conspicuous to the unobserving human eye but a game of life and death for a cat that is slowly falling out of favour with the queen bee and a tom that spots a certain ill-placed moustache.

the furr-her

yep, Chaplin the kitler is unleashing his mojo (or what’s left of it) on a predominantly matriarchal household up to now. the queen is not relinquishing her regal position just yet but there is definitely a truce treaty being negotiated between staring challenges, snarls, minor skirmishes and chalking of a school yard line down the middle of the animal family. and then unexpectedly, the adversaries give each other a tongue bath like Cleopatra and Julius Caesar.

this sophisticated rivalry between our queen and furr-her brings civilisation to animal family. bar room scuffles and brawls are replaced by parliamentary cunning, back-scratching and treachery as the new rules of engagement.

the black and white bishops are ordained. shrewdly-wired Blackie slides into Chaplin’s quarter while Suede makes good her life-long loyalty to the queen. it is Blackie that makes a direct line to everyone else that softens the clumsy hard edge of her bratty napoleonic furr-her. she is his perfect ally against the Rosie-Suede pairing that is formidably in size and chilly air of superiority.

the black bishop

Calico is the knight-ingale of grace, honour and a higher calling that takes no sides in a war she considers foolish and juvenile. she is the tragic hero that defends and licks wounded egos of fallen warriors as she mulls over their fallen nature.

the knight defends the white bishop

Papa and Fruity stands apart as towers. they are good alliances but they give none and they get none.

the tower

so finally, that leaves Tuxedo, Smally and me to be tossed around by the winds of change. Tuxedo and Smally are hapless but there is really no good excuse for a cat of ideals like me, however modest. ultimately, i was the bishop without the cunning and the knight without the principle that left me out cold with the rest of the peasantry.

the hapless pawn

but I am learning the diplomacy of making peace and keeping it. and soon, they will have to craft a new piece for this animal family chess board – a 12th century Conservator of the Peace to my antiquated counterparts-at-arms.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

bak bak and leafty under a tree

sounds like a title for a children's book. appropriate because for these two special friends, their story lives on. somewhere.

yes, Bak Bak has passed on and has since joined Leafty under the shade of a tree.

since his passing, our thoughts and feelings in the family waver from heartache at one moment and relief in another. we can’t believe he is gone but at the same time, it can be nothing but a timely flight from a body that refused to function a long time ago.

also, it leaves us not any more convicted for or against euthanasia. Bak Bak was a special case for whom the virus attacked the nerves such that he lost feeling in his leg and body. he continued to be same old Bak Bak from the waist up, wanting to be stroked, to be cuddled, to be loved.

the vet recommended that we put him down once he stopped eating but we couldn’t do it. even as he wasted away, he was still same old Bak Bak from the waist up. and then he drifted off into a coma and we thought it would be right to let him just pass away in his own time.

but it dragged. on and on for days as his body shrunk more and more. and doubt began to seep in. is he in pain? is he in a nightmarish septic delirium? is he at peace? who really knows?

on the last day, he woke up and he meowed for us. that was a shock. was he crying in pain? or was he trying for the last time to be same old Bak Bak, wanting to be stroked, to be cuddled, to be loved? but it dawned on us, most of all, he wanted to live.

he drifted back into a coma and was finally taken. we are at peace. he fought his fight in exactly the time it takes to say goodbye. as I write this, the tears are streaming but they are not sad tears. because we can smile at the legend he leaves behind. the same legend that precedes him where he is going.

but what kind of decision would we make for the next cat? we don’t know. the question of dying cannot be that easily solved. and in some odd way, we take comfort in that.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

going to be soon, too soon

sleep, my dear. sweet dreams.

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