It’s my blog and I’ll write about cats if I want to

Today my fourteen-year old cat is going to her final vet appointment. She is not dying, let me be very clear. She is getting her final paperwork and check-up so that tomorrow evening, she can board an Aer Lingus flight and make her long, lonely journey here to us.  It will be the only time she has flown cargo, and will not be accompanied by either me or Sascha, though she has flown many, many times.

At this point in my life, most of my friends, post-having children, think their cats are assholes. But despite having kids, I love her more, not less.

No thank you. Sashi in CA captured by Sarah Scheidler, who was there to shoot the new family.

I can remember getting her in my last year of college. My two very good friends, who told us all they were “definitely broken up,” both had cats. The jig was up that they were definitely not just friends when her cat impregnated his. (Apparently a result of spending so many nights at each others’ apartments that they starting bringing their pets, too.) Our friendship circle would implode a bit several years later, but many of us have the cats from this illicit time. I had no idea what my life would look like in fourteen years, but I knew she would be with me.

I left her once. I remember zigzagging the freeways in Los Angeles, the great curving bow of road to change from the 10 to the 405 so I could get to the Westside. Everything that was left of my possessions was piled into the Teal Mobile. Sashi was just a year and she meowed from her cage in the passenger seat. As I often did in those days, I cried on those swift streets, grateful for the privacy that my car and the freeways at that hour allowed. I wasn’t sure of what I was doing, but I was doing it anyway. I had to leave, and I was going to Japan. I could not bring her, and I was young and selfish and desperate enough to leave her. My then-boyfriend took her.

We crossed many miles since then including one cross-country drive by car (an ill-advised journey arising from an ill-advised relationship.) She brought me roaches in her mouth from my first Brooklyn apartment; in the same apartment, she ran under the bed when I shrieked at the mouse that had run over my foot. In another apartment, she was the sole witness to a break-in. In Brooklyn Heights, she was happy to sleep up high in our loft bed.

We brought her to the desert because we could: all pets were allowed in the bungalows at 29 Palms Inn.

Just don't take the "short cut" to see the Salton Sea

In Los Angeles, she napped beside my ever-growing belly.

Me, monkey cat, and my belly

I’ll never forget how startled she was one evening, when we were all in the king sized bed after bringing the boys home. Sascha and I had the boys on our chests; I think we were doing “skin-to-skin.” Suddenly, G and C began squirming and she realized, They’re alive!

She and I have seen some times.

Surveying one of our many LA homes

So. Yes I have two children and a husband whom I love and adore, but it was extremely hard for me to leave Sashi this time. As we forge our path as a new family, she is part of us. Perhaps she has become even more important as our lives destabilized and we’ve longed to create a permanent home in an industry and an economy that make it nearly impossible. But the rules for importing an animal are very strict. There were two more months before she would be eligible to enter the country after Sascha’s job needed us here or else she would be quarantined.

I do know that no place could be home without the warm insistence of her spine, curled like a comma against my own. I know that she belongs here with us, though she will stalk the back wall of glass to the garden, yowling at the neighborhood cats who jump over walls and onto the roof–the cats that tolerate the boys’ excited yelps better than she.

BREAKING NEWS: I wrote the above this morning, then picked up the boys and put them down for a nap in time to call my brother-in-law at the vet to check in. And after many frantic trans-Atlantic calls, hiring an extremely expensive service to transport her and having her departure finely choreographed, and enlisting the generous help of my in-laws, we have some bum luck: Of all things, the new microchip implanted back in April is apparently defective and unreadable by two different vets’ scanners, meaning the 6-month rabies titre paperwork will not matter. If she cannot be identified through this chip that is listed on all her papers, she will not be allowed in. I am heartbroken.

Thank you Gramby and Papa for giving her such a swank home on the UWS, free from squealing, grabbing toddlers. And thank you Louie for running around the city and trying to make something happen. Dear Irish Agriculture Department, please give us a special pre-authorization to allow our cat to come home.

Yes, we Skype with the cat.

13 thoughts on “It’s my blog and I’ll write about cats if I want to

  1. I want you to know that Ernest and I are having bit of a renaissance. He comes to bed for some petting and then walks to the end of the bed and sleeps with me. Most of his fur is gone from his hind leg and his age is becoming more apparent. When I look into his eyes I feel like he truly knows me and has been a very tolerant cat for a long time. He has put up with many different cat roommates, 2 kids and a dog! I hope Sashi is able to join you soon. I know how much of your heart you left behind with her.

    • I’m glad to hear that there’s been a rekindling with Ernest. Meanwhile, my MIL sends me videos of Sashi rolling around and purring. I told Sascha last night that maybe the relationship is more one-sided than I thought . She looks blissful, like “Erin who?”

      Sent from my iPhone

  2. Ugh – how awful. We lived abroad for a year without our cat & though it was wonderful, her absence left a huge whole in our life. Now we are abroad again & my parents went through the nutso paperwork and got her to Berlin last month. So thankful!

    Hope everything works out for your family.

  3. I’m relieved you defied our predictions about what happens to a family pet after having babies! I know how much you love Sashi and I feel like she is a significant part of my history too. Afterall, I was Sashi’s roommate on 2 coasts and my family’s beloved Oliver was her dad. I can still recall vividly watching sweet little Zooey giving birth to those babies, purring and nurturing from the first moment they entered the world. I think Sashi most resembles Zooey even though she has Oliver’s coloring. I will cross my fingers for a speedy fix to the micro-chip problem. AND, what’s the good news?! Pls share!

  4. Hello there!

    I happened to come across this blog in a rather convoluted way. I am studying for a couple of masters and long story short your book (on Ronald Cotton) is mentioned on my college website and through a variety of links here I am! Anyway I just wanted to say I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog – its always refreshing to see your country through the eyes of a visitor and your pictures and descriptions are wonderful. Go n-éirí an bóthar libh! I hope you bring some LA weather with you – Sonja


    Go n-éirí an bóthar leat

    • For whatever way you have found my little blog, I am grateful for your visit and kind words! I would be so curious to know what college here mentions “Picking Cotton”. (You can send that info to me through the “contact section” if you don’t want it public). I’m happily surprised that people here know about our book! I didn’t think anyone did.

  5. My husband is pretty certain that if I left for more than a week my 14 year old lab would go all Lassie Come Home on me. Write about your cat all you want. I hope it works out.

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