My cat PJ was born dead, but he survived. A few years later some vigilante redneck neighbor shot him in the head, for trespassing. The pellet went in through his ear and split into two pieces, which remain there to this day. PJ, once again, survived. There may be some truth to this nine-lives mythology. He is now 18 years old. He is arthritic, and his kidneys are failing, and he has shrunk down to a fraction of his weight in healthier days, but he is surviving. Every time I come home, PJ makes the effort to hobble downstairs for some petting. Yesterday he followed me around for the better part of the day. I bent down and gave him a good scratching behind the ear and said, “PJ, you have a strong will to live.” It’s strange how animals have this while humans, sometimes, do not. If survival is the name of the game, it wasn’t very Darwinian of us humans to evolve a self-destruct button. PJ could teach us a thing or two. Meanwhile, animal euthanasia, while humane, is still incredibly sad. For PJ in particular it would seem like an insult, after he’s made it this long. I need my pets to live forever.
Sunday, November 9th, 2008