2004 – 2018.
The night before last, Maxi started digging at her mouth, and had been drooling before that started. We nearly took her to the emergency vet, but she settled down after a little while. I dropped her off yesterday morning with our regular vet so that they could work her in among their other appointments and surgeries. Fred and I both expected that a dental cleaning and perhaps some extractions would fix the issue, but when the vet called it wasn’t good news: he’d found a large mass in her mouth. After hearing all of the options and talking it out, we opted to let her go while she was still under sedation.
This post is my tribute to her.
We first met Maxi in August of 2006. We were at the house that wasn’t yet ours – you know it as Crooked Acres – and with the owner’s permission we were spending a lot of time walking around the house and property, making plans. We were walking out the door into the back yard when she came strolling across the lawn toward us, speaking her mind.
She was clearly nursing kittens, though we didn’t know where she was keeping them. She didn’t hesitate to let us pet her, and it wasn’t long before she was showing up at the house every time we were there, expecting to be fed and petted. After we’d bought the house and were spending every spare minute there working on the inside, she was almost always there. We’d take a break from working to sit on the front porch, and here she’d come.
One fall morning, while I was painting (or cleaning or something), Fred came into the house and told me to follow him. Maxi had shown up again… but she wasn’t alone.
She had four kittens with her, and Newt. We initially thought Newt was perhaps the father of her kittens, but when Maxi and Newt were spayed and neutered, the vet said that she thought Newt was actually Maxi’s son from a previous litter.
We fostered her kittens until they were ready to be spayed and neutered, and then they were adopted out through Challenger’s House. That was the last time in her life that Maxi had ANY patience at all for kittens.
Maxi didn’t care for the other cats, and it seemed to infuriate her that other cats even existed. She’d sit out on the side stoop asking to be let in. I’d let her in, she’d realize that there were other cats in the house, and she’d want right back out.
I don’t think I ever quite made it clear how much of a people cat she was. She was almost always up for being petted, even by strangers, and people didn’t much scare her. She loved to be brushed, she’d let me kiss her on the head. As long as you weren’t a cat, she thought you were okay.
A few years ago, she started asking to go into the garage, and pretty quickly discovered that there was an old cat bed on a chair on the second level of the garage. She claimed it as her own we added a heated pad to the setup during the colder months, added dishes of food and water, and the garage became her property. She would have spent 24/7 in that garage, except that Fred would occasionally make her come outside and be sociable with us. She’d VERY occasionally venture into the house, but that’s really not where she wanted to be; she knew it, and she made sure we did, too.
Maxi was the one I worried the most about when we moved from Crooked Acres to Shady Cove, and she turned out to adjust with no trouble at all. She didn’t pick fights, she didn’t wail to go out – she just adapted, declared her favorite spots as her own, and as long as the other cats left her alone (and they usually did), she was fine. She’d spend her days moving back and forth between the back yard and sleeping on my bed, and her nights were spent sleeping in the corner of my room or sleeping in front of one of the windows in Fred’s office. She’d greet him outside his bedroom door in the morning, and lead him downstairs for morning snack time.
She had a thick, glossy black coat, a sweet little white locket, pretty green eyes with a deadly gaze, and a funny, husky meow. She lived life on her own terms, and we were lucky she showed up to join us. There’s a space in our home where a tiny black, occasionally annoyed Maxi belongs, and we will miss her very much.
Goodbye, sweet Mama girl. We’ll miss you.
2017: “What big teef you have, Mama!”
2016: She’s kind of like a lab puppy in a kitten suit.
2015: No entry.
2014: “Come back here, Mister! I didn’t get a chance to bite you!”
2013: As her eating skills have improved, Arya’s after-eating food beard has been reduced to more of a food goatee.
2012: “WHERE OUR SNACKIN’, LADY?”
2011: Want your own “I love cats, it’s people who annoy me” gear?
2010: No entry.
2009: No entry.
2008: “Yeah, I know. He KEEPS showing it to me. He thinks I WANT to see it. This is what I live with, day in and day out.”
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.