Mariana McDonald


Third Place

I killed my cat today. They call it euthanasia. I know better. They gave her drugs so she’d go
limp, then one big shot to take her life. Just like they drug prisoners strapped on gurneys, at the
end. What crime had she committed? Defecated everywhere, for months and months, the floor, the
couch, my bed, and then the pee began. The chair, the rugs, the pillows wet. The house stank like
an alleyway. Way past her third strike, for over a year I took it like a target silhouette, not feeling
or thinking, just cleaning, scouring, scrubbing. Soaking it with chemicals to make it disappear. I
should have let her die those half dozen times she scratched hard at death’s gate, when my days
were free of fresheners and stinking rags. But who could do that? She’s my cat.