I Just Had to Vent

Because Buzzy is seventeen and has imperfectly controlled diabetes, he gets very hungry very often, sometimes because his blood sugar is on the high side, and sometimes because it is on the low side. Because he has an anxious and doting—not to say obsequious—human slave, he is also “spoiled,” as they say (note to self: post on that word sometime), and it is fresh food he is hungry for, thank you very much. Put with less petulance (it’s 5 f*king a.m.!) and more compassion, his inconsolable hunger, which may also signal some enzymatic insufficiency that squanders much of his nutrition (chronic pancreatitis?), is only tempted and assuaged by the contents of a just-opened can. Because he is very bright, and very dominant (yet also sensitive and sincere: if I hurt his feelings his nose turns bright pink), he has figured out surefire ways to wake me at the first sign of dawn.

Just now, he knocked over a small but noisy tchotchke with a clatter of metal, then jumped with all fours on a large empty paper bag for a plosive crash. (If cats have you, you will not ask why there is a large empty paper bag on the floor.) When my hair is long, he walks on it; when it’s short, he grabs a hank in his teeth and yanks.

How bright is that? How mad can I be? He is a major contributor to my being sleep-deprived and broke (the insulin, the syringes, the test strips, the live-in vet tech cat sitter when I travel, the convoy of high-end food, the new filters for the water fountain he sticks his paw in right out of the kitty litter, the carefully triaged vet bills), yet I contemplate him with helpless admiration. This is a cat who once taught himself to pee in the toilet by carefully observing another cat who had taught himself by observing us; then (in what was unmistakably a higher-order observation and a masterpiece of reasoning) pawed half a roll of toilet paper into the bowl; and then, when I reversed the roll, was so offended—his nose flamed pink—that he never used the toilet again.

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