Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Not Exempt From Withholding

When 9 died, there remained in the cupboard a large quantity of catnip. I'd bought a quarter-pound or so of it maybe six years ago, and I'd been doling it out to him a pinch at a time, on "special occasions", or just now and then when it crossed my mind. He would mmrow and purr and nuzzle around and generally get pretty happy-looking. He knew where the container was, too, and when that cabinet door was open he'd stretch himself up trying to get at it.

But in all those years, we'd barely made a dent in the catnip stash. He was gone, but the container was still almost full. I sprinkled all the surplus over him at his "funeral". As I did I couldn't help crying, and suddenly found myself saying "I'm sorry I didn't give this all to you while you were alive."

Why hadn't I? At one time I had meant to look up, or ask the vet, whether unlimited catnip doping is bad for cats. But I had no reason to believe that it is. Perhaps my stinginess was the result of growing up in the "Just Say No" and "This Is Your Brain On Drugs" era-- maybe I was afraid that a liberal catnip policy would put 9 on the infamous "slippery slope" to hard drugs? Or perhaps it was just typical Yankee sentiments, delaying happiness, suffering the world as it is, and saving the good stuff for a rainy day that may never come? As a therapist, I couldn't help but think there was some psychodynamic metaphor-- something about us so often withholding love from those close to us until after they are gone, then expressing it when they can no longer hear.

I resolved that if I ever get another cat, he or she will have catnip anytime, all the time.


Blogger hilllady said...

I gave my cat catnip from my withheld stash last night in 9's honor. He rolled in it, ate it, stuck out his tongue to get the crumbs, spun and spun and spun in delirious circles, purred, and cleaned himself up.

Thanks 9. Thanks TG.

10/10/07, 8:57 AM  
Anonymous Eleanor said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. I'm sorry for your loss.

10/10/07, 9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sorry about your cat. Since you are already trained, I hope you will get another when you are ready. As for myself, I resolve to replenish the dwindling catnip stash and let the cats get high more often. Thank you for the reminder, life is short and cat lives are shorter.


10/10/07, 9:29 PM  
Anonymous bill said...

Great questions, Turbo. And please accept my sympathies.

-- bill

10/12/07, 2:02 PM  

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