Remembering Max

I wasn't a cat lover. I didn't exactly hate them, but I never liked them after my childhood pet cat, Lucky, wasn't so lucky. He died in the crawlspace under our house and we didn't know where he was for a few days... Some degree of dislike of cats started there (it's strange how a child's mind considers things bad).

I started dating the woman who now is my wife and learned to love the little furry monsters again (they had several, plus a bird and a dog). The pure variety of personality and the independence provides a truly interesting companionship.

Shortly after we started dating, she was walking with her mother in the park when they heard a little meow coming from under the fall leaves. When they investigated, it was a little tiny white kitten, no bigger than the leaf he was partly under. This park happens to have a reputation for people abandoning kittens and cats regularly. Anyway, they brought the little kitten home.

At first, we named it Magnolia, because it was a magnolia-white kitten that we believed was female. We called it Mags for short. As it grew, we soon discovered she was actually a he, so his name became Max (sounded like Mags, so it didn't have to re-learn its name). We got him fixed, but he never seemed to realize it, given the constant territory marking.

Anyway, Max grew up into a huge orange-tip white Siamese with an insatiable appetite. My nickname for him soon became Maximum-Cat. I loved that big 'ol blue-eyed white kitty.

Six years after first meeting Max, we have just said goodbye to him. A couple of weeks ago, he took a notion to roam off in the woods for a while, which was not unusual. Just four days ago, he returned very sick and thin. We knew it was too late (my wife has had cats all her life and she and her mother know quite a bit about when a cat can be saved and when it is best to make them comfortable). We nursed him inside until today, trying to get him to eat or drink, but he wouldn't. Getting medicine into him was nearly impossible. When he did seem to want to eat, he would put his nose right down on the food and hover (shaking somewhat) for a while, then maybe take one or two bites and go wobbling to hide in a corner, wheezing. We were told to place him in a closed bathroom with a humidifier and did that today. It definitely improved his breathing and seemed to make him more comfortable. Tonght, he let out a little bit of a meow that said it would probably be over soon. At about 8:15 PM Eastern Time September 2, 2002 (Sept. 3 0:15 Everything server time), he died in his customary resting/sleeping position with us gathered around him, hopefully in comfort and without pain.

I really miss that cat.