This is how a nasty addiction gets started.
The little lies I tell myself. It’s just for today, just to ease the stress a little, just to help get through a patch of bad weather.
I’ll stop as soon as things get back to normal.
They’re only painkillers. The doctor wouldn’t have prescribed them if they were truly dangerous.
Still, he’s only 17 — too innocent, really, to understand the consequences of the choices I am making for him. Too innocent to understand how he might come to crave the hazy euphoria that creeps up on him within seconds of my plunging the syringe deep, deep into his docile, yielding form, while he tries to meet with his trusting eyes my own shifty gaze. And if the demand increases while the supply dwindles, where can he go to get his next fix? To what depths will he sink to score the next hit?
I’m only thinking of him
But hey. What am I going to do? The heat wave of 90-degree-plus temperatures is forecast to hold for several more days, and every time my cat wanders out for even a few moments, he comes back inside crawling with fleas. I swear they must be lying in ambush right by the door, just waiting to pounce on his shoulders, where he is unable to reach around and pick them off with his teeth.
Therefore, I have taken it upon myself to insist that he stay indoors until the heat breaks. Maybe by then, the fleas will have given up on Mozart and moved on to some other neighborhood, someplace where pet owners allow their animals to roam a bit more freely.
Still, he would go out, in this heat, fleas or no fleas. He is very insistent about this. He’s even taken to hiding himself under the hutch by the door, poised to make a desperate run for it as soon as one of us opens the door on our way out.
Seventeen years of getting used to things being done a certain way is a lifetime to a cat, and I worry that the sudden change in the order of things might be too stressful for him at his advanced age.
That was why, today, I gave him a dose of the painkillers the veterinarian prescribed for a dislocated shoulder, even though he is no longer limping. I try to soothe my stinging conscience by reminding myself that, including the dose he got that day, this is only his second. It surely can’t do that much harm. It’s for his own good. It’s to help keep him calm. To get him through a rough couple of days.
Even so, I can’t help thinking that if anyone ever got wind of my behavior, this would all look very, very bad in the tabloids.
And I can only thank my lucky stars that, at least up to this point, Mozart has never shown the slightest interest in penning a tell-all memoir about how I led him to a life of debauchery and ruin.
If he ever does, I’m in deep, deep doo-doo.