"I have the scars to prove that love has had its day and its way with me."

I have written many times about my inability to feel. I swear up and down, and not with rose-colored glasses, that I used to be very emotional. I could cry on cue and sympathy never seemed to be a problem for me. In the latter months (really years), I have the logic to call my closest friend and say things like, "Is this where I'm supposed to have a response because I don't feel anything." She usually responds with the human thing to do, and I try to act like one as a result.

For the past few days, my new little kitten who has really grown out from the kitten stage by about a year, has been aggressively throwing up. He hasn't been able to keep anything in his stomach, and he can't seem to shake his sour tummy. I had my mother take him in, and I just found out only moments ago that he has pancreatitis, which is the exact same disease my last cat had. When I heard my mother's words, I just had this faint feeling of deja vu. It felt kind of dreamy. Then I felt nothing. I felt about as much pain as if she had just said, "It's pouring down rain here."

My last cat is probably the one that I have loved the most and not because he had the best name to be partnered with me (Forrest Gump). He had an awesome disposition for a cat, an unusual one, really. For most of his life, he dealt with frequent vomiting and trips to the vet. No matter what tests were run, they never found anything wrong with him. Eventually, we finally found a food that he managed to keep in his system. Then, he got really sick. He stopped eating and literally stopped moving for two to three days. We took him in, and I opted for "exploratory surgery." The vet was convinced there wouldn't be much he could do, but I didn't believe Gump was ready to go just yet. After the surgery, he healed remarkably well. He hung on for a few months, with more frequent trips to the vet. His sugars had to be monitored, and I ended up giving him insulin shots twice a day. In the end, he seemed to kind of just fade away. His quality of life was slipping, and I wasn't going to keep fighting for him if he didn't want it that way. I chose to put him to sleep rather than watch him suffer.

I put my cat down in October of 2002. In November, I met a Bengal at a cat show. He was absolutely beautiful, and his marbled fur coat sparkled under the lighting with flecks of gold. When his owner picked him up, he let out repetitive whales that sent chills down your spine they were so loud. I loved him, but I thought his whaling wasn't his "typical" meow. I was convinced the owner was too rough with him. My mother seemed a little skeptical. After I left the cat show, I realized how much I had missed having a pet. I had nothing to come home to. I told my parents I wanted another cat, and this time, I wanted a breed. We have only had stray cats in the past, but I wanted my heart to settle on a cat that would (hopefully) have a good health record and virtually live forever.

For Christmas, my parents surprised me with the loudest gift ever conceived on the planet. Smeagol whaled the entire ride home from my grandparents house, which was about three and half hours. My nerves were completely shot by the end of the trip. I suddenly thought I had made a huge mistake, but everyone just kept laughing at him. I was so scared that people would be annoyed by him or hate him, but that never seemed to be the case. Most of my friends thought I had a baby in the room with me because that's exactly what he sounded like--a screaming child. It didn't take long for Smeagol to charm everyone, including me.

Smeagol is very different from Forrest. He refuses to let me love him most of the time, which is extremely hard on a compulsive cat lover. I have to pick him up at least twenty times a day. And he doesn't really like my forced love. In fact, he only gives into it when no one's looking. Convenient. He often runs from me, and yes, I still chase after him. He's a true player in all modern senses of the word.

I'm not sure how this news if going to affect things. I don't know if this means I will be watching Forrest Gump all over again. I'm not even sure I have the strength to watch that, but I know that I don't want to give up just because I've been scarred. One of the hardest things I've ever had to learn is when to say when.


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