Sunday, February 21, 2010

In Memory of Our Beautiful Long-haired Black Cat: Maxie

Once upon a point of time on a wintry, icy February, Ron, my hubby, was leaving work. He opened his car when he heard a cry and looked down to see a scrawny little black cat weaving his way around his feet. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what happened next when you know what a tender heart my husband has when it comes to animals. Smile.

When Ron walked up the steps from the basement the first thing out of his mouth was, “Don’t be mad, but I’ve got a present for you.” At that instance, I’m thinking, uh, oh what is it? He unzipped his jacket and this little black head came out and meowed, and then ducked back in.

“It’s only temporary. Until the worst of the winter is over with,” Ron said. Who knew then that a love would blossom and last seventeen years? Days went by and the weather didn’t get any better, and the little cat didn’t gain any weight. We talked it over and decided to take him to the vet where we learned he had worms. Although, we still didn’t plan to keep him, we had him de-wormed. We also noticed the little cat wasn’t totally black, he had a white spot under his chin and in certain lights his coat had a red tinge to it.

The vet told us what we would need to do if we decided to keep the little cat, or if we didn’t where to take him. The little cat followed Ron around everywhere he went, and it wasn’t long before the cat crawled his way into our hearts. We started playing with him, and one day we sat down to talk about the cat and decided to keep him. At that point, I said, “We have to name him.” Maximillian was born, but we shortened it to Max or Maxie.

Max had his shots and was spayed after that decision. The vet guessed his age to be 1 ½ to 2 years old. The little fellow grew into a handsome young lad who strutted around the neighborhood ruling the other cats. One of our neighbors got a little yellow and white cat. One day, we saw Max sitting at the bottom of the tree looking up. Rusty was up in the tree and couldn’t figure out how to get back down. Lol Max went up to show him how to do it. It was so funny. Ron and I stood at the window watching and laughing.

Max would run up the steps to the loft and look down at Ron and I while we would throw a little rubber ball to him, which he would catch. He would pull it off his claws and throw it back. Another thing he did as a young cat was run up those stairs and get over by the wall and come down the wall onto the sofa. We had more fun with this fellow. It wasn’t long before we became Dad and Mom to him.

Always, he was dad’s boy, his main man, and I was second fiddle. Neither one of us knew cats could be so smart, but we came to realize that the more time we spent with him the smarter he became. Ron talked to Max like to one of the kids. Dad would tell him if he wanted to go outside he had to go to the door, and he would. As soon as Ron told him it was night-night time, Max went out into the hall and waited for dad to shut the television down and when Ron walked through the door Max made a beeline to race him up the stairs. Whenever Ron talked to Max, he listened attentively to him while staring at him. He still had a mind of his own so he didn’t always obey.

When Ron got mad at Max, he would run to me to tell me about it. I would say, “What did you do now, Max? Or, I would say, “Uh, oh, you’re in trouble again.” Lol But Max never held a grudge, he always went back to make up with his dad. He’d jump in the chair with him and rub his little head against him. When dad was on the ham radio, Max lay in the chair that sat beside dad and slept, but when he woke up, he demanded attention. Grin.

Max was a hunter. He caught birds and brought them to us. That was hard to handle because we loved birds, too. We started learning more about cats and learned this was their nature to hunt. Often times, the birds were alive and we would get them away from Max and release them.

One time, he caught a huge rabbit (much bigger than him) and he was dragging it to the front porch for us to see his prize. Both Ron and I ran out there and scolded him. Fortunately, the rabbit was only pretending while he planned his escape, and we gave him that chance. Afterwards, we laughed over little Maxie dragging that huge rabbit. We didn’t think it was so funny when he brought us bunnies, but most of those we were able to save, too.

One of the funniest things we watched him do was go after squirrels. As fast as he was, Max was no match for them, but he didn’t give up trying. One time, a baby blue jay fell out of the tree and Max got it. We managed to save it, but every time afterwards, when Max went out of the house those blue jays would bombard him. Lol I told him he deserved it, but Ron egged him on by calling him to the window to look at the birdies or letting him out and telling him to go get the birdies. Lol

A year or so ago, Max started loosing his sight, a little earlier than that Ron had discovered he had macular degeneration. Dad would talk to Max, telling him he was getting to be an old cat, and that they were two old dudes. Max became a little more dependent on us, and we would tell him not to go too far from home. Sometimes he minded us and other times he didn’t, but more often he did.

Every time Max wouldn’t eat, I just assumed he had a hairball, but a couple of months ago we noticed he was eating less and less. Dad kept telling him if he didn’t eat, he’d have to take him to the doctor’s. Max hated going to the vet, and he was terrified of cars (he never crossed the street without checking for cars) and he was scared of plastic sacks.

Last week, we took Max to the vet because he had quit eating and had lost so much weight. We found out his kidneys were failing. The doctor explained to us that he was losing body fluids faster than he could take in more, and that it wouldn’t get better.
He gave him a saline shot under the skin to see if this would make him better, and it seemed to help for two or three days, but then quit working. Maxie was sleeping more and not eating. He was getting weaker and we were afraid to let him outside longer than for about ten minutes because he might go too far and be too weak to get back.

We started talking about putting him to sleep when we realized he was starving to death and was becoming dehydrated. One day, we were going to do it, and then we would see him eat a bit and drink water, and we would decide not to because maybe he was getting better. Soon, we realized the smart little guy was moving his food around with his nose and making a hole in the middle of his bowl to make it look like he’d eaten. Most of the time, he would take a sniff of his food and walk off. He only tried to eat to please us.

Denial kept us from doing anything, but this past week we finally agreed it was time, but it was the hardest decision we ever made. We took him to the vet and stayed with him to the end. Max lay his little head in Ron’s hand, and Ron rubbed his body and I rubbed between his ears both of us telling him we loved him and we would never forget him.

We both cried afterwards, and then the “what ifs” sat in. What if the vet was wrong and that wasn’t the problem. What if he had longer than we thought?

The hardest thing to live with is that we made the decision to put him to sleep because he couldn’t. I liken this to a person on life support and family having to make the decision to pull the plug. In that instance, you can’t help but wonder what if. Somehow, you have to keep yourself from second guessing when you make a decision because whether wrong or right you have to live with it.

Our home is empty without Max. No little black face peering between the blinds as we drive down the driveway, no one to greet us when we open the door at the top of the stairs and no one to wake us up when something is going on outside at three o-clock in the morning. Usually, it was deer in the back yard or raccoons on the deck.

We will miss you Maxie. You were a well-loved little boy, dad’s main man and his Maxie cat and my baby boy. We gave you the best of both worlds. The more we learned about you, we knew you couldn’t be just an indoor cat, and for that reason we never had you de-clawed. We will miss you Maxie, you’ll always be in our hearts and we’ll always love you.

Until next Sunday have a great week folks.

Sandy
http://www.sandramarshall.com
http://www.eirelander-publishing.com/

44 comments:

Author GE Stills said...

So touching Sandy. It hurts so bad to lose a pet because they almost always become part of the family. He does survive though. He survives in the fond memories you have written here and that you carry within you. I'm sure that most of us have lost a pet. The only thing we can do is offer our smpathy and our understanding.
Gary

K.T. Bishop said...

Since I left home in 1992, never had any animals. Max has gone to the great animal shelter in the sky. He'll get to run into Bonkers (Daisy Courtlandt's cat from All My Children) and Morris (from the commercials).....

robynl said...

my heart goes out to you and Ron; we were in the same situation a couple of years ago with our dog Sam who was 14 yrs. old and a beloved friend/companion to us. I'm so sorry for your lose but know you had many wonderful years with Max.

Paris said...

Pets are like part of the family and it's never an easy decision when you have to let them go so they won't suffer. Be thankful for the time you had with him and know that you probably gave him a better life than he'd had if you hadn't found him.

April Ash said...

A nice tribute to Max. Our pets are family. You did the right thing by deciding not to let him suffer. Think about the good times you had with him, as your stories gave us an insight to Max and his life.

Sandy said...

Thanks, Gary. I had never had a pet before, and I didn't realize how attached you became to them.

Ron had had dogs before, but never a cat. Neither one us had liked cats until Max.

Sandy said...

Thanks, K.T.

I'm not sure what Bonkers was like, but I know sure Max wouldn't have liked a lazy cat. Smile.

Sandy said...

Thank you, Robyn. Yes, we had many wonderful years with Max, and we're grateful for them.

Sandy said...

Thanks, Paris.

You're so right about him having a better life than he would have had. If Ron hadn't brought him home that winter, he would have died.

As it was, he had a perfect life for a cat.

Sandy said...

Thanks, April. I could thousands more stories about him. lol They would be never ending.

Joy said...

oh my god...I am crying here. I can not imagine being without my Batgirl/Smokey (both 15), and my sis's Sherbert (13), who is just like Maxie. When it is time to go to bed, he waits for my sis and then runs to her room. He sleeps under the covers with her. Thank you for sharing Maxie's story. People don't understand how cats are such great companions ad their presence is a comfort and will be missed when that soul is gone.

Ashley said...

Sandy!

You know my heart goes out to you. I am an animal person, I have the two holy terror's of the neighborhood but wouldn't have it anyother way. KW will be 9 at the end of this month and Sweet Princess will be 2 in May. Both are my beloved Pits. I can't even think about the day when KW is no longer there with me. She was my first child, we get her almost a year before Cheyenne was born. As a matter of fact KW turned a year old and I had Cheyenne. Now they are an inseperatable pair.

Maxie knew you loved him, and knew he had a wonderful life. I can understand him wanting to please you, its something even the kids do, who'da thunk it huh.

Just know you and Maxie and Ron will be together again one day.

(((Sandy & Ron))

Ash!

Lisa Lane said...

My condolances for your loss. My husband and I are "Mommy and Daddy" to two wonderful middle aged cats, and I shudder to think about a time in the future when they are not with us. It sounds like Max had a wonderful life, and that yours and your husband's were truly enriched for his presence. Thanks so much for sharing.

Morgan Mandel said...

Pets are only with us for such a short time, yet we got so attached to them.

It's like losing a member of the family.

I'm sorry to hear about your loss.

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

Sandy said...

Thank you, Ash.

I believe the same thing that we'll see that little fellow again. Some day, he'll be there to greet us.

Suzy Gragg said...

Sandy, that blog caught my attention. I can just see you and Ron lovin on that cat. Our Star is 10yrs old. I'll give her an extra hug today.

Sandy said...

Thanks, Lisa Ann. Yes, Max enriched our lives tremendously.

Sandy said...

Thank you, Morgan. It's amazing how some pets can just grab your hearts and hang on forever.

Sandy said...

Thank you, Suzy. Yes, give Star and extra hug today. You're lucky you still have her.

Sandy said...

Joy, I missed your message, but thank you so much. I can see you understand.

Annie Nicholas said...

Maxie sounds like a great cat and obviously loved as much you both loved him.

Rebecca Royce said...

Sandy
Your post touched me so deeply. I too have lost beloved animals. You are in my thoughts!!

Rebecca

Sandy said...

Lisa, I'm so sorry I thought I read Lisa Ann, and it was Lisa Lane. I'm so glad you and hubby have wonderful babies, too.

Sandy said...

Thanks for stopping by, Annie. Yes, he was well loved. Ron spoiled him, and I got stuck with being the disciplianarian. I wouldn't change his food just because he didn't feel like eating it. I would let it sit there until he got hungry. lol Ron would come along behind me and change it. He was a spoiled brat, but a good one.

Sandy said...

Thank you, Becca.

Some animals just touch you more than others. Max had one of those personalities that grabbed you.

Elaine Cantrell said...

My Jasmine was very much like your Max. It hurt me so much to lose her that I vowed never to get another cat. I didn't for almost then years. Then one day last fall I heard a weak little meow, and a gray, orange, and white calico kitten staggered out of the bushes. I was drinking hot chocolate at the time, and she almost went wild for it. She was so thin we could see she was starving so we gave her some food. She went to sleep in my lap. Since that day she's been to the vet, terrorized the dog, and generally made herself at home in our hearts and home. We named her Casey.

Sandy said...

LOL Elaine, that's a great story. Thanks for sharing. Lucky little Casey.

mariska said...

(T_T), I felt the same way too, when my black and white cat, we named her as Graysi, died a year ago. She was with me and my family for more than 6 years.

I'm sorry to hear about your lost, Sandy.

Linda LaRoque said...

I'm so sorry, Sandy. I know he was a special gift in your lives. I think you made the right decision. He had a wonderful life with you guys and you let him die peacefully knowing you loved him.
Hugs to you and His Ronness!

Sandy said...

Thank you, Mariska. I'm sorry about Graysi.

Sandy said...

Thank you, Linda. Yes, Maxie was special.

Carol Ericson said...

Sandy, so sorry for your loss. We love English Mastiffs and they have a short life span - we've had one until 5 yrs. old, another until 7, and another until 5. Our big guy, Dexter, will be 7 in June and he's doing great - despite his gray muzzle. It's so hard to lose a pet.

Donna Marie Rogers said...

Sandy, I'm really sorry about Max. What a wonderful tribute to him.

J Hali said...

God bless you and Ron. You've got another angel watching over you.

Lynn S. said...

So sorry to hear about Max, Sandy. It seems you'll have many fond memories of him to always keep with you. I have five cats and one dog and know if their quality of life was affected by an illness, I would make the same decision you and Ron did.

May Max's memory always warm your heart!

Sandy said...

Thank you, Carol E.

Pets just wrap themselves around your heart.

Sandy said...

Thank you, Donna. I appreciate your comment.

Sandy said...

J, what a great thought to think we have another angel looking over us.

Thank you.

Sandy said...

Thank you, Lynn.

Ron had always had dogs, but none of them ever attached to his heart like Maxie.

Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) said...

Heart-wrenching post, Sandy. Really so sad to hear about Maxie. I knew how much you and Ron loved the little guy.

But things always happen for a reason, and it's often a good reason - we just maybe cannot see it at the time...

Huge hugs

Belinda said...

Sandy, This was very touching. We had to put out dog to sleep Valentine's Day 2005. It was so hard, but the right thing to do for her. We had her cremated and keep a tribute to her of her ashes, collar, toys, and picture on the bookcase. People who do not have animals do not realize how much a part of your life they become. We have two cats also (ages 16) and know there will be a time when they will not be around anymore. My thoughts are with you and Ron.

Sandy said...

Thank you, Z. I'll will be waiting to see what the reason is. Especially, if it's a good one. Smile.

Sandy said...

Thank you, Belinda.

I'm going to buy a frame that I put together a collage of the pictures we have of Max.

You're so right about people who don't have animals not understanding how anyone can become so attached to them.

Sandy said...

Joy, I just realized that I missed responding to your comment. I really want to thank you for it.

You're right about most people don't understand cats. We didn't until we got Maxie and started learning about them. Lions and other big cats have what they call a pride, and the little cats do, too, if you allow them to be outside cats as well as inside. They gather in the neighborhood and they are very territorial.

Most people think cats are standoffish, but that isn't so. They give you as much attention as you give them.