Saying Goodbye to Max

Monday was a sad sad day at the Boxer Farm...we lost our beloved 16 year old cat Max.  He had thyroid cancer that had manifested in a lot of internal tumors.  He passed fairly painlessly (we hope), and we had been expecting it.  It's still super painful.  Let me tell you the story of Max.

2006.  Joe and I were newly together and we decided he needed to adopt a cat.  We went to a PetSmart adoption day and met Max.  He was huge, at least 15 lbs.  He was 5 years old, had been declawed (cretins!), and walked around the shelter like he owned it.   He walked a little bit like a bulldog, stocky and clunky.   He had been at the shelter for almost a year.As Joe knelt down to pet a cat, Max walked right over and licked Joe's butt.  I mean....

But, we didn't leave with Max that day.  Another lady had brought her cat Jake in to the adoption--he wasn't part of the official adoption event. She just heard about it and figured there would be people there who wanted to adopt a cat and she had one she needed to adopt out.  Max was $75.  Jake was free.  We took Jake.
Jake (white) and Max a few days before Max passed away.
But we couldn't stop thinking about Max.  So a week later, we went back to the PetSmart and we got Max.  It was rocky at first.  Max was mean.  He would sit under the coffee table and bite our ankles.  He would sit in the middle of the hallway and not let us pass by--he had a giant head and no claws, so his bite was hard.  We were scared of him.  We thought about taking him back.  But we had made a commitment to him and we decided to do what we could to make him comfortable.
Grace.  Beauty.  Pride.  Class.

Those times were tough--I had two cats of my own, one of which was a total bitch.  It was a difficult transition to all four living together.  Jake tormented Max relentlessly.  Max screamed like a giant drama queen each time.  All he wanted to do was eat and chill.  He would cry at the door like he was waiting for his prince to come rescue him.  We worried more than once if we had made mistakes getting them all together.  My bitchy cat Bupsy died, and a week later, we got Chloe.  She had been abandoned in someone's apartment and the manager got us to take her.  She unified everyone because everyone loved her.  She calmed all the fighting down.  Max and Chloe were inseparable from the very beginning.
He will snuggle Chloe whether she likes it or not!  Aggressive snuggler.

Then we moved forward.  Max was super fat, he loved to eat.  He had an annoying whiny cry and if he didn't get his dinner at 8 o'clock sharp, you would hear about it!! He embraced his fat. He embraced his laziness.  He was resplendent.
He's looking into your soul. 
He loved to lick.  He licked all the other cats.  He bit Chloe's eyebrow whiskers off.  He would lick anything.  Joe would put olive oil on his feet at night and Max would jump on the bed and lick it all off.  He would hold your hand down with his paw and lick it.  All over.  It was wonderful.
Licking Little Miss Kitty
He was always chill, always cool.  Nothing bothered him.  He didn't give a single shit about anything except food and nubbies.  He didn't purr for 5 years.  We thought his purrsio was broken.  One day he did and it was a miracle.  After that, he didn't stop.  He had a loud purr.  A jarring purr.  You could hear it across the room.  It took him 5 years to fully become comfortable enough to do that.

He started to show signs of his aging.  He had a stroke.  It messed up his back legs for a while.  We also believe he had a series of mini-strokes after that.  He was still kicking.  Still living the life.  Slightly encumbered by the strokes, but doing just fine.

My BF, S, who is a vet, was determined to slim him down.  She knew he was getting older and his life quality would decrease if his weight was out of control.  She started him on a new weight loss food and miraculously, he lost weight.  He was more active, jumping better, the weight off his back legs seemed to help him a lot.

Turns out, it wasn't just the food.  She diagnosed him with thyroid cancer just a few short weeks before he passed.  He started retaining fluid and she brought him into her clinic to see what was happening.  He had tumors all over his abdomen, his heart and lungs.  She told me it would be weeks.  She was right.

He had this one day, where we thought he was on the upswing.  He went outside (he never did that).  He explored beyond the porch.  He ate.  He got treats.  He snuggled.  He purred. He had his last best day.  And it was the very next day that he decided to leave us.  We are grateful for our time with him. I hope he was grateful for his time with us.  We gave him the best life we could.  We love you always, Maxie.

PS This post was so hard to write.  I couldn't finish it for quite a while.  Max passed away on June 5, 2017.


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