Saturday, December 4, 2010

Lucius the cat

Anything to avoid studying for the SAT I'm taking tomorrow.
Even the one thing I said I wasn't going to do. Blog.
I can consider starting a blog studying for the SAT. I'm practicing for the writing section. That's legitimate. Right?

For my sixth birthday, my mom bought me a cat. In hinds sight, getting a six year old a cat is a terrible idea. She isn't old enough to know if she'll want it next week. Who knows how she'll feel about it next year. She isn't going to take care of it. A cat is a life-long commitment. Any mother who buys a cat for her six year old daughter should be prepared to be that cat's primary care taker. It's only responsible.

A week after we brought Lucius home, I still loved her. One night, I couldn't find her. We asked my four year old little brother where she was. He said, "well, maybe behind the washing machine." What an oddly specific answer. When we checked, voila, she was there. We asked him why she was there. He said, "well, maybe she jumped off the balcony a few times." After a bit of interrogation, we got the real story out of him. He and the neighbor girl had learned in preschool that a cat always lands on its feet. This was the first time they had had an opportunity to test that theory. They threw her off the balcony. A couple times. Just to make sure their findings were valid.  We took a traumatized Lucius to the vet, and she recovered.

For years, Lucius was the family pet. We bought her a leash. We brought her to soccer games. We took her up to the cabin every time we went. She slept in my room. When I got my first camera for Christmas, I shot an entire roll of just Lucius. Lucius had more love than any cat could ever hope for.

And then, Lucius's world was shattered. We bought... a dog. Whimzy the dog took over Lucius's room. Lucius had to inhabit to storage room in the basement. We started taking Whimzy to the soccer games, to the cabin, and in the car with us. Lucius was second string compared to Whimzy.

By the time I was nine I wanted to get my ears pierced like I wanted a cat when I was six. I promised my mom that I would take excellent care of Lucius if she would just let me get my ears pierced now instead of when I was twelve. The idea of not having to take care of Lucius was so appealing my mom agreed. I got my ears pierced. I also took care of Lucius for about two months. Then I quit and everything picked up where it left off. Except I had pierced ears.

Over the past few years, Lucius has faded from recognition. She dealt with this by eating. Eating so much her belly literally dragged on the ground. My friends were always surprised when they say her. "You have a cat?" "Yes" "How did I not know this? I've been coming over to your house all year!"

This year, I came home Halloween night and started talking with my mom.
She said, "well, I have something to tell you. Lucius is dead."
"What? She finally died!"
"Well, not exactly. Her quality of life was so poor. I just didn't want to nurse her back to health again. So yesterday I took her to the pound. I was crying and crying. I gave her to the man and told him to gas her. It was so sad. I cried for hours after."
"How could you? You didn't even tell me! She was my cat!"
"You haven't paid attention to her in years. She wasn't your cat. I was the one who took care of her. I was the only one who ever loved Lucius."

And that is the story of my cat Lucius, who now inhabits cat heaven. Where she can eat all she want and still have a trim belly that won't drag on the ground.

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