Last post I said I might talk about what happened with my cat, and in a tumblr post I said I’d talk about my life as a gun owner, so there’s two topics for today.

Almost exactly a month ago, on a Friday afternoon, I had come home early from work to start getting ready for a family outing. I noticed when I got home that Gideon Cat had thrown up downstairs — not uncommon — but when he came upstairs to greet me he was unsteady. He wasn’t walking straight, he was nearly falling over, and even sitting still he continued to gently shake.

Obviously we couldn’t leave him that way and just head out for our trip, so as soon as I could I took him to the local veterinarian. They said he’d probably had something like a small stroke. He was prescribed with anti-anxiety meds for two weeks and a liquid medication to manage his blood pressure for the rest of his natural life. He was also assigned a new diet of (much more expensive than my usual) kidney care food. It was bewildering and a bit stressful, and a lot to process all at once, but I managed somehow. Thankfully, he was much steadier by the end of our visit, and we still got to have our outing.

He’ll be thirteen this summer. He’s an old man now. He’s also had a remarkably healthy life the entire time I’ve had him. I know intellectually that most pets aren’t just perfectly fine until the moment they tip over and die peacefully of old age, but having such a long run of good health did kinda make me feel like…maybe things could go that way?

In any case, we’re managing the new medication…reasonably well, though I do worry about how I’m going to instruct anyone else to give him his dose. Currently I sit down on the floor, scoop him up and cradle him like a baby (though much tighter so baby can’t climb away). We’re still getting used to it, I think. He’s doing a lot better and putting on some weight, which is good, because he was too skinny before.

Anyway that’s Cat Update 2023. On to the other topic:

I grew up around guns and was always fascinated by them. I had a pump-action BB gun as a kid on the farm, and though I wandered around and took potshots at some birds I never hit anything (and honestly don’t think I would have felt good if I had). My older brother is also a collector, so I’ve had some fun experiences through him. I didn’t necessarily seek them out for myself as an adult, but at one point I had an opportunity to take a firearm course and get a PAL (Possession and Acquisition License) of my own.

Actually, there were opportunities to take the course all the time, but my collector-brother knew the person running this particular course and said “you will never have an easier time getting your license than with this instructor” and he was right. It was almost comically simple for my friend and myself to get our licenses. My brother gave me a small, .22-calibre bolt-action rifle [I think this one?] and maybe once a year I went out to a disused gravel pit in the countryside and plinked at targets to my heart’s content.

My license lapsed shortly after Cassidy was born, and I missed the period of time where you can renew without taking the course again. At that point I hadn’t been out shooting in absolutely ages, and the gun was quietly locked away under a spare bed in the basement. So it was mainly for that reason that I decided to drop the whole thing and get rid of it.

If I’m being honest, I also didn’t like the idea of a kid potentially getting hold of it, even though it was locked and the ammo was hidden in an entirely separate part of the house. It sort of nagged at me, knowing that the potential for harm, however remote, existed. I can hear the argument that kids can find myriad other ways to harm themselves, and guns shouldn’t be singled out when appropriate safety precautions are taken. Okay, sure, a kid in a house can get hurt in a lot of ways; but then I think, why knowingly provide another one? I don’t know.

(And look, none of this is meant to convince anyone else to never have guns in their homes. I’m just going through my own thought process)

I also have to admit that the escalating numbers of mass shootings and the culture around gun ownership made me uncomfortable too. It wasn’t and isn’t a world I really want to be a part of. I think target shooting is fine, I think subsistence hunters and even sport hunters should be allowed to do their (registered, tightly controlled) thing. But I can’t really imagine the mindset of a person who feels it necessary to be armed while going to church, or shopping at the store. Nor do I really want to!

Anyway, that’s my gun story. I had one for a while, and that surprises people, and then I let it go, and I haven’t missed it.

Thing I Saw: Big goose tracks in the mud near the dumpster at work.

Thing I Learned: Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories will be ten years old next month and I don’t care for this fact at all, thank you, it makes me feel just that much older.

I’m Grateful For: Children who went to sleep relatively easily so that I could sit at the kitchen table and write this post, undisturbed 🙂

Miss these robots