On June 6, 2010 a few weeks after losing my beloved cat Pepper, we decided to adopt a kitten to fill the void in our home. Our other cat Muffin was very lonely, and would walk the halls at night, crying looking for Pepper. I had just lost my father a few weeks earlier and couldn’t bear to hear Muffin’s mournful crying while she looked for Pepper.
Pepper was all black with a few white markings. On the way to North Shore Animal League there was one thing I did not want … that was another black cat!
God and Maxx had other plans.
When we walked into North Shore, there was a cage with a little black kitten, with a white spot on his neck, sitting in his litter box, taking in the sights of the people passing by. I approached his cage and he came to me and rubbed his little head and chin on my hand. There was no turning back! A little while later we were on our way home with Maxx.
Maxx had some pretty big paw prints to fill. He was a force to be reckoned with as soon as he was free from his carrier he owned this house, and everyone in it.
Maxx was a very smart cat that would play fetch with elastic hair ties. He would even initiate the games by bringing the hair tie to me, dropping it at my feet and meowing until I would snap it away. He would run for it and bring it back dropping it at my feet waiting for me to do it again.
We have a Kong treat container that is shaped like an hour glass that is a little smaller at the top. Maxx knew enough when there were treats in the container to knock it over and roll it so the treats would come out! None of our other cats could ever figure it out! Maxx was so smart that he would actually pick it up in his mouth and carry it to us, dropping it at our feet and meowing repeatedly until we would fill it. Which, of course we always did.
Over the years, Maxx proved how special he really was. He would always bring me presents and leave them by my bedside, mostly his little catnip filled mice and birds. But he would gift me any small stuffed animals he could carry.
There was a part of Maxxthat was so unreal. I can’t even explain it. My younger daughter had a collection of beanie babies that she no longer displayed. They were in a bin in our basement. The first anniversary of my father’s death I was quite surprised when I found the angel beanie baby on the floor by my bed, brought to me by Maxx.
There were several of the times when he brought items that blew my mind away. On the anniversary of the death of Princess Diana, he brought me the Princess Diana beanie baby, on the anniversary of 911 and the death of Osama bin Laden. He left the two patriotic beanie babies by my bedside. Lastly on the day the New York Met Gary, Carter passed away. He brought me a little New York Mets bear from my other daughter’s room!
I can’t explain any of this at all! Only that he was so very special!
Maxx slept with us every single night between our pillows since the day he was brought home. When we when I would get up, he would follow me wherever I went and we come right back to bed with me and curl up in my arms purring loudly under the blankets.
The worst he ever had was a cold! Last December he didn’t look right I picked him up and put him in my bed between my pillows, and he just laid there! I nudged him he didn’t even move. I picked him up and he was just limp. I actually thought he was gone! We brought him to the emergency vet, thinking that he ingested something that he shouldn’t have. They ran tests, but everything was negative. Thank God! We were sent home and told to watch him. Maxx was back to himself in a few days.
I would often tell Maxx the story of how we adopted him, and how God gave us some extra time, because I really thought that he was going to be gone that December night. Little did I know my time was running out.
Last Friday night we went to bed Maxx was curled up between the pillows. I stuck my hand under his head like I always did. He tried to get comfortable and kept getting up and turning around he let out a soft, low growl. It made me nervous, but I thought it was an isolated incident. A few minutes later, he did it again and again I called my husband and told him something was wrong with Maxx. When my husband came upstairs, Maxx went to him rolled over, showed his belly for rubs, like nothing was wrong. I was relieved thinking maybe it was a sore spot or something I don’t know… Then all of a sudden he did it again we decided it was time for a trip to the emergency vet at 1 o’clock in the morning. We got there they ran tests, x-rays and sonogram. We were given the devastating news that Maxx head either and abdominal mass or lymphoma. The doctor was leaning towards lymphoma. The good news the was cats respond very well to prednisolone! With the medicine, Maxx could live several more months! Several more months!?!? That’s not enough time! I wanted YEARS!!! They also sent us home with pain medicine to use it as needed.
Maxx didn’t look sick or act sick at all. If he didn’t make that noise, I never would’ve thought anything was wrong. Over the next three days my world would crumble. When we got home late Friday night we gave Maxx the prednisolone and I didn’t hear any noises until the following night! I gave him his next dose of steroids and pain medicine. He was not happy with me, but I was redeemed when I gave him some treats. Sunday he seemed OK so all he got was the steroids. He was good all day. I didn’t hear any noises whatsoever. Monday night was a different story. He was a little restless, so I decided to give him both medicines followed by treats to take the bitter taste away. I cried my eyes out after I did! The medicine made him foam at the mouth, and it broke my heart, but I knew I was doing it to help him. I just didn’t want him to hate me for it.
All was OK until this morning. Maxx usually showed discomfort at night not in the day. But, this morning he did.
We planned on a followup/second opinion in a few weeks but we brought him in today. We were hoping for a long acting/ slow release steroid injection and possibly a 3 day pain injection to give the steroids a few days to kick in.
Our vet examined Maxx and found his bladder fulll and so were his bowels. She told us it is definitively an abdominal mass! Not lymphoma. We were given 2 options….
#1 Treat for constipation and strong steroids to shrink the mass enough for enough room for everything to pass…
If it didn’t work we could be faced with ruptured bladder or intestine!
Of it did work it would only but us a few weeks… the mass would eventually block everything off. A FEW WEEKS?!? That made “ a few months” look like a gift!
Or we could choose option two..
# 2 Let him go peacefully.
Option #2 is what we decided. I was with him holding him, reassuring him, whispering to him and loving him until he crossed Rainbow Bridge and was safe in the arm of Jesus.
My heart is truly broken! He was so sick and never showed a sign! …Until Friday after midnight…. I’ve lost many beloved pets over the course of my 65 years. The only difference is they became sick and we had time to adjust to the knowledge that their journeys were coming to an end.
There is such a deep void in my heart right now…an ache that just won’t dissipate. I long to call”treat time” and have him come trotting down the stairs to scoff up his treats and quickly steal someone else’s! I dread going to bed tonight. I would whistle the theme to the Andy Griffith Show and Maxx ALWAYS came!! I dread the thought of hearing it…. I dread the thought of the days ahead without my beautiful! I never in a million years thought last Christmas was our last Christmas!
I know that life is short and time is never guaranteed.
There is one thing I know with every fiber of my heart and soul….that is I will love my Maxx forever! I will miss him terribly each and every day.
I know that as time passes my grief will lessen and my heart will heal…
Some day I will hold him in my arms again when we are together forever in heaven.
Umtil that day…Maxx, my Momma’s Boy, I love you!!
I love you forever Maxx!