People talk heroically about saving lives. I’ve done no such thing; however I did once save a cat’s genitals, much to my father’s chagrin. That last sentence sounds like a cross between absurd and perverted so I’m going to elaborate.
Once upon a time, when I wore the same shirt every single day for a month and never washed it, my mother underwent chemotherapy. It was a difficult time for her and the only creature that consistently brought her joy and comfort (because I merely brought dirt and increasingly large amount of grime) was her cat Splat*.
In between treatments my parents decided to take a mini-vacation. I was living at home at the time so I was charged with taking care of their home and pets. Before he left my father handed me a credit card instructing me to use it in the event of an emergency.
Splat had been slightly ill before my parents’ mini-vacation but watching my parents’ car disappear into the distance pushed him to the brink of death. Responsible daughter that I was, I rushed Splat straight to the veterinarian.
Splat was dehydrated and very sick. The prognosis was grim, there were crystals in his penis and the only way to save him was to cut off his penis, or carry out expensive operation to remove the crystals. Apparently this is a common problem with cat penises. (Or is the plural peni? I don’t really concern myself with the grammatical intricacies of cat genitals.) To top it off, afterwards Splat would eat an exorbitantly expensive food in order to prevent a reoccurrence.
“Well” the vet asked, looking to me to make a decision, “what will it be?”
“How much is the operation to remove the crystals?” I responded tentatively.
“Two thousand dollars” said the vet grimly.
Not possessing a penis, I wasn’t sure of the value of one. In my experience all of the men I met seemed to value theirs greatly. In fact I remembered reading about a man who had fallen asleep on railroad tracks and awoken a triple amputee. Upon learning the extent of his tragedy, the man’s first concern was whether he had lost his member; he was elated that he hadn’t. But on the other hand, Splat had been neutered a decade back, so as long as he was still able to urinate, it seemed that his penis was mostly decorative rather than functional. A bit like a pompom on top of a winter toque. In light of that, it seemed like the obvious decision was to get rid of the penis entirely. Then I thought of my mother’s dismay when she arrived home to discover that her cat was missing a part. I was charged with taking care of the house and the pets, and ideally my parents wanted both to remain as they had left them.
Uncertain as to whether this constituted an emergency but sure that it would end with my mother arriving home to a whole, happy cat, I handed over my father’s credit card.
Two days later, I drove a still woozy but rehydrated Splat home from the vet. My mother hugged him close “My poor Splat, you almost lost your penis” while my Dad gazed in horror at the bill.
It wasn’t rushing a child from a burning building or pushing someone out of the way of a speeding car, but until his dying day, every time Splat groomed his junk, I thought about my decision and was proud.
*Names have not been changed because Splat was an animal not a human, also what with possessing the most expensive feline penis on the planet, I feel the world should know his name.