Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Monday, December 6, 2010

Not my favorite way to spend an afternoon...

I haven't posted before today about my other animal companions. I only recently added some pictures in the sidebar... feeling guilty that Val gets the lions share of time, attention and resources now.

After stacking firewood in the backyard this afternoon I thought to check if there was any progress in my winter garden; several raised beds that surround my back deck. I looked up from my inspection and was startled by the sight of Max, my handsome, formerly feral, grey garage cat. It was so odd. He was laying out on his side, exactly how you would find him on a warmer day, sunning in his favorite spot. Only he was way too still. Stiff in fact. And it was barely above freezing.

I checked him over thoroughly and found no signs of distress or injury. He appeared to be completely relaxed, eyes open and clear, but dead as a doornail. I wrapped him in an old pet blanket and buried him under a little cluster of oaks in a sunny part of the backyard.

I found Max almost exactly nine years ago, huddled under some shrubs that I was pruning. Before I thought about it hard, I had snatched him up. A tiny feral stripey grey kitten. I tried to store him in the truck but my dog Sweetpea thought he looked delicious, so he spent the rest of the day in my sweatshirt.

He grew up to be a skilled hunter, often snagging his prey in mid-air. Unfortunately his prey was often songbirds. He was especially fond of cardinals - he caught over a dozen during a hot streak one autumn. (sorry cardinals!) I never put out bird feeders again since I had him... it hardly seemed fair. Most of the time all that remained was a pile feathers and the occasional birdy foot.

Max was never completely domesticated, although he would let me grab him up and love on him. Whenever I spent time in the yard or worked in the garden he was my little shadow, especially when I hung sheets up on the line. One summer I couldn't find him in advance of a rapidly worsening hurricane. As soon as I could after the storm I went searching for him, fearing the worst. Local cats are often drowned in rising tidal waters as they take shelter under buildings. I found him way up in a cedar tree, higher than I could climb to retrieve him. He climbed down and jumped into my arms when I called out to him.. I believe he was never so glad to see. I installed a cat door into the garage the very next day :)

Apparently he didn't suffer... at least I know what happened to him... and the ground wasn't frozen. For those things I am thankful. Bless your heart Maxie  - we'll miss you.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear about Max. He sounds like he was a real character. He will always live on in your fond memories of him.

    This is definitely not a good week for cat owners. So many of our blogging friends have lost their cats this week.

  2. Very sorry about Max - at least he appears to have gone quickly. A very pretty kitty.

  3. I have a former feral kitty, too. Although she is now 12, she has never lost her wildness. I consider it an honor that she comes in her cat door on cold nights and snuggles under my chin. She is also quite the killer, although she likes voles and rabbits, so the neighbors are pleased. I hope she goes just as Max has gone...warmed by the sun.

  4. So sorry about Max. You two had a wonderful relationship. I wonder if he's allowed to hunt cardinals in heaven...

  5. Oh Dear Maxie~cat,
    I'm very sorry about you loosing him. I am happy you found him though..the heartache of never knowing...would eat me alive!
    We lost our Elsie kitten this year 18.

    Is the cat on your sidebar(the one that looks to be dancing with the dog) another you still have?

  6. Thanks to you all for the kind thoughts.

    Annette -
    That's a good question!

    The cat in the sidebar is Lucky Barnett - she's very much alive :) I love that picture - they look like they got caught in the act - cross species dancing lol!

  7. Oh, I'm so sorry - but glad he died at home and apparently quite suddenly with no suffering. It's hard either way, I know.

  8. So sorry to hear about Max. Sounds like he died lieing in the sunshine of the yard of someone who loved him though.
    We have 3 cats, 2 of them rescues. They are a constant source of entertainment and love. Thanks for telling us about Max and your time with him. He looks like a real sweetie.

  9. Max clearly had a wonderful life and left it as peacefully as anyone could hope. I'm so sorry for your loss.


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