Thursday, March 24, 2011
We Were Kittens Once, and Young by Anna Holmes -- short, impeccibly well-written account of what it's like to live alongside (& love) animals whose lifespan is, cruelly, shorter than yours.

"It is not an exaggeration to say that, when I imagine what their deaths will be like, the scene plays out like the highlight reel from an actress’ Oscar-nominated performance. I don’t know how I am going to live without you, I whisper. They look back at me blankly and then go slack as I hover over them with a whimper that becomes a howling, crushing wail usually reserved for the loss of a child or a lover; a sort of base, primal grief that rattles you to your bones and frightens everyone in the room. It frightens me too — not just the fantasy but the present-day reality, a heaving that begins low in my abdomen and thunders slowly upward every time I catch a glimpse of a well-worn paw or brush the back of my hand over a soft underbelly. I feel it when I see them sleeping, their beautifully composed tight, little spirals of fur and ears and legs and tails; I feel it when I hear them moving, softly clacking up and down the apartment hallway or ker-thumping from the bed to the floor and back up again.

It feels crazy.

They’re just cats, after all."

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