The words for this post are stuck in my throat and my heart and I’m not sure they will come out. Still, I feel I have to try.
The little house is thick with suffering and sadness. Our little grey cat has been badly hurt. Yesterday at dusk she pushed at the screen in the window, it gave, and she was thrown over the edge falling six stories. We found her at the back door of the building, in shock, covered in blood, and dragging her front leg.
My little xue. She was one in a litter of twelve. A grey-blue ball the size of my fist when i got her. She was the most playful kitten I have even known and has been with me through thick and thin. We’ve shared a tiny studio apartment, two live-in boyfriends, and finally, she saw me through my pregnancy and the birth of Nin. That was really hard for her. When Nin came, we began to treat Xue like a child that’s old enough to move out on their own but sticks around anyway: we kept feeding her and always kept her place in the house, but she received very little in the way of tenderness beyond a few quick pets here and there. How it hurts me to think of it now, but that’s the way it was. Still, she came home after her long walks in Niwot and tried to steal a cuddle whenever she could.
She lies on a soft bed and we take turns laying with her. She is different, her face looks different. Intense, mature, though she’s only four years old. She will never be the same. But if she pulls through this, she will be a war hero, and I will love her for all her changes.
Before this day I never realized what it means to take responsibility for the care of an animal. When all is well, you can pretend they are like you, just another member of your family. I always focused on the things that bound us as a family rather than our differences, and what she might need because of her more primal nature.
I come to her now, and surrender to her air of peaceful intensity, her ultimate presence in the now. I think, “this is what healing feels like.” But I also think, “this is what death feels like.” It feels like it can go either way now, and because we took her out of the hospital—not having the thousands of dollars they would change for surgeries, iv’s, oxygen, overnight care—we are now just caring and observing and praying. In my gut I feel this is better for her than being hooked up to a dozen machines, cut open and rearranged, completely disconnected from her reality with pain meds. We subject people to this kind of treatment and call it medicine. But I would not do this to xue, who knows how to heal herself better than a vet who was taught little about animals and much about using medical technology.
There is the question of setting the bone back in place: it is a complete fracture and the two ends of bone are not even close to touching each other. If we leave her to heal this way, she will likely drag it forever. We have asked three vets to replace the bones as they should be and give her a cast, but they say they do not know how to do this. Only how to cut her open and implant a plate that will fuse the bone together. When did vet school stop teaching how to palpate a problem and put it back in place without internal invasion? Do doctors who treat humans still know how to set a dislocated shoulder, or only to operate on it?
What we need is a witch. An animal communicating, bone re-setting, wise, calm, compassionate witch. I tried to google one in nyc to no avail. It makes me very sad to think we traded the real doctors, those who know how to let nature do its thing, for cocky, overworked techs who know little about the integrative function of a body, much less respect its intelligence. I think we can do more for xue here, where she is tended to, loved and prayed for. I hope we can.
We are mortal. Think on that for a moment, even if you think about it all the time. There is change in the air, big global change, that has been brewing for quite some time. This planet, the universe, the forces greater than us, can spit us out at any moment. What do we do in the face of that? I work really hard to not be paralyzed by this question.
Please send a ray of light and a breath of love to this girl. This war hero, little grey ball.