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Chloe enters my life

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

I didn’t get the brain-damaged cat. I got, instead, a tiny perfect ten-month-old spayed female Abyssinian who was given the name Chloe by her former owner. She looks like this (link comes from the website of the woman from whom I got her and is Chloe herself just a couple of months ago). I had planned to name my new cat Sati, which is the Pali word for awareness–but Chloe already knows her name, and I’m quite happy to live with that name, with its Virginia Woolf associations. I will not be a bore and talk endlessly about my animal companion, but I will say that her presence nourishes me, makes me laugh, and brings me back to this moment in the body. Who doesn’t need all of that? And now, on with the new book.

Human stupidity

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

One of the things I decided when I was on the retreat is that I’m ready to have an animal companion in my life again. I spent some time online and found one that really called to me, a cat who appears to be what is called “Chartreux.” I did some research on Chartreux, and given my recent love of the film Into Great Silence (about the Carthusian brothers in Chartreuse, France)–and the connection (if only apocryphal) of these cats with that monastery, I drove out to the cat shelter today, where I learned that the cat I had chosen was not, as it says on the internet, abandoned by her former custodians. Would that were all there is to her story! When the police busted a meth house and hauled off its residents, they found this little gray cat, dazed and confused. The residents told the cops her name was “Meth Cat” and that they had kept her “high” on meth. They thought it was funny. When the vet at the cat shelter examined her, she found the little cat has permanent brain damage and occasionally gets seizures. The people at the shelter say she is “perpetually confused” and her eyes look like she is always “very surprised by everything.” The little gray cat is in a foster home right now, and so far I haven’t been able to contact the foster care-giver. I’ve left her a message. Maybe living with one quiet writer who is always very surprised by everything, in a little studio apartment with a view of the Fremont Bridge, is just what that little cat needs. Or maybe she is too badly damaged. I’ll wait and see. But the unbearable stupidity of the meth-heads who did this to that little animal keeps making my eyes water.