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What does it mean, to me, to be a feminist?
I brought my cat to the vet this week because she’s taken to peeing in the house. Worse than that, it was clear that there was blood in her urine. She wasn’t just peeing in the house to be a little snit. She was telling me that she wasn’t well and she was asking for help the only way she knew how.
My cats are indoor/outdoor cats. Cats have been a part of my life since childhood. That’s nearly forty years of personal experience with cat companionship. They come and they go freely. I provide them with access to fresh food and water as well as shelter. I do neuter/spay my animals but I do not do it on the same timeline that is widely accepted. I’ve experienced cats that were neutered at a young age and I’ve experienced cats that were permitted to grow into their bodies before being fixed. Both have their place in the world. I prefer to live with the latter.
I am a naturalist in most senses of the word. In its most basic meaning - I prefer to live a life that does not require intervention. This extends to the way in which I provide for my animals. Or, from an on-looker’s point of view, how I do not provide for my animals.
It’s 2018 and the word and meaning of naturalist has somewhat evolved. Things that I consider natural are now frequently deemed as unnatural because the majority has moved into a way of thinking that shuns my ways. I am looked down upon because my animals are permitted to leave my home at their will. I have taken slack because I do not provide for my animals a litter box inside of my home. I have listened to the arguments presented to me and, still, I continue on, allowing my animals free will.
I believe strongly in free will. More than that, I believe in the strength behind those exercising free will. I believe that all creatures are inhabited by the same living souls. That humans are animals and that all animals are equal. There is clearly a hierarchy in the animal kingdom. The most powerful of the kingdom is not the one with the power to exterminate the other. The most powerful is the one who recognizes their ability to annihilate and opts not to; for the greater good.
As my cat was being examined by the vet I was asked if she was pregnant. I do not know if she is pregnant. She does not appear to be pregnant. I cannot be certain that she is not pregnant; being intact. I do not believe that she is.
The vet continued feeling around her belly looking for signs of an impending birth. As she did I heard her mutter, “I can’t believe she’s not pregnant. How is a female cat not pregnant if she’s outside. They’re usually so fertile.”
And that’s when it hit me - My cat’s not fixed because I’m a feminist.
We’ve evolved into this world where “reproductive rights” is automatically assumed to be “pro intervention”.
How dare a female cat be out in this dangerous, male driven, world without being protected by her body being mutilated.
My intact, outdoor, female cat is not pregnant because she is dominant. She holds her ground. She has a home to escape the insane world in which we live that demands that she be considered prey because of her reproductive system. She’s a cat and she is still held to the same prejudice that we women are.
I have not been on birth control for more than twenty years. I have never had an abortion. I have had one miscarriage that I allowed to pass from my body naturally. I have two healthy children whom I had to fight to birth without intervention. One birth which I was not fully successful in holding off coerced intervention. A battle I am still disappointed to have lost.
I am an advocate for any woman who finds herself in the position to make a choice to have or not have an abortion. I will stand by her side. I will push back the hordes of anger that chant murder. I will lead her to those who are able to safely perform any necessary procedure she deems is right for her. I will stand up for women who are intent to be afforded birth control at a reasonable cost; though I disagree with the need. I will be the first to offer a condom to an adolescent considering their sexuality. And I will stand my ground and be an example for an alternate way of achieving the end means.
Being a feminist, to me, means feeling empowered to live my life as I see fit. It means not needing to take birth control as a failsafe for an impending rape. It means surrounding myself with those who lift my being rather than casting doubt upon my navigation through self. It means avoiding companies funded by instilling fear into their customers. It means walking through life with my eyes open.
The blood in my cat’s urine was deemed to be a result of a pH imbalance. The best remedy was determined to be a change to her diet. If you arrived at the end of this article with an assumption that the blood was preventable, had I kept her inside, please consider seeking further into yourself regarding this matter. Women have a right to walk down the street without the need for reproductive defense.