Sometimes I wonder why the idea of having kids is so terrifying to me at the moment. I do want to have children eventually, but I’m in no way ready for the responsibility, either financially or emotionally (and you could add physically to that, as I can’t say I’m looking forward to pushing them out of my vagina!). However, when you consider that I now have seven bloody pets, it begins to make little sense that I don’t want kids yet. Surely having seven pets is tantamount to having one kid?! Well, OK, maybe not entirely, but it’s probably just as expensive and my pets keep me tied down to this city – which I’ve been wanting to leave for soooooo long – just as much as a child would. In fact, in some ways they keep me tied down more – if I wanted to leave this place, it wouldn’t be all that expensive or stressful to do so with a kid in tow; but seven pets?! How the hell do you travel thousands of miles across the country, or even the world, with seven pets? You cannae just throw some colouring books in the back of the car and a bag of sweets to keep them amused. Sigh.
Despite the inconvenience and expense of having so many animals, I do love them dearly. They are the light of my life in so many ways. For someone like myself who has experienced so little unconditional love, it has been very good for me to love them unconditionally, and to feel them love me right back. Midwestern Man says that the only reason I love animals is because I’m a control freak and because they do what I say, and don’t answer me back, but I think he’s wrong. True, it is unhealthy that I enjoy the way they need me, and will always need me – it’s not like they’ll be going off to university any time soon! – but codependency isn’t at the root of my love for animals. I just enjoy their presence and they are far more complex, dignified and noble than most human beings realize.
I often wonder, too, if certain humans are able to have a more honest and sincere relationship with animals than they are with humans? When it comes to romantic relationships with men, it has often been so difficult for me to separate my feelings for the person from all the fucked-up and overly idealistic fantasies you can’t help but internalize when you grow up in a Western culture. I’m sure that some people are able to love others in a simple, sincere way without tearing themselves in knots with questions and doubts, but I am not that kind of person. I wish I were, but I’m just not.
This is why animals are so refreshing for me. When I look at one of my cats, I don’t think “Hmmm. Not too sure about you…there was another cat down the street I saw recently and I think we might get on better together. Also, that cat had more attractive markings, and just looked like it took better care of itself…Yeah, just don’t know how I feel about you at all”. Instead, when I look at my animals, I just experience pure love and concern. I only found my new wee kitten less than two days ago, but already I would say that I love him.
As for the wee guy, I took him to the vet yesterday morning and, much to my surprise, the prognosis is good! He tested negative for feline leukaemia and FIV (yes, the virus that causes AIDS in cats), which is huge, as I couldn’t have had him around my other cats if he had had those illnesses. He does indeed have the feline herpes virus, as I thought, but the vet thinks that his ulcerated eyes will be OK provided I keep on administering the antibiotic eye ointment he gave me! The vet also gave him 250 mls of subcutaneous fluids because he was very dehydrated, and since then, the wee guy has been doing much better. He still looks like shit, but he’s managing to eat and is a cute wee bastard! He purrs like crazy whenever I pet him! But, hell, I’d be purring like crazy, too, if I’d just been picked up from the streets of the ghetto and magically found myself in a home where I’ll have the best cat food and lots of cuddles for the rest of my life.