Mad Max

I wish I could be funny today but I can’t.

Eight years ago, I brought home 2 little brother kittens from a farm in PA.  This was my way of getting over the cat I lost 3 months before and I thought… they’re brothers…they’ll keep each other entertained and out of trouble!  We (I) named them Max and Little E. Max because I always wanted to name a boy that if we’d had one (we didn’t) and Little E was short for Elvis.

Like any pet in any family, they were a part of us. They were mighty hunters who made sure that they evil field mice never reached our doorstep. They stopped the squirrels from stealing our nuts and digging up our tulips. And when those birds would sing in that ridiculously high tweet, they put a stop to that, too.

As the years passed, just like us, they got a little older and a little slower and a whole lot fatter. Max especially took pride in sprawling out across the floor, spreading his girth for all the world to see and step over. When I worked from home, he thought he was doing me favors by plopping down in front of my computer.. surely you need my assistance in writing that post. No? Well then… can I get a little love?  He slept with me like most dogs sleep with their masters.

He was my snuggle buddy. He was the patient of the 2 brothers. Where Little E could be a giant pain in our butts, Max was always there just hanging out. What other cat would let the girls dress him up like Puss in Boots complete with hat and American Girl black boots?

I started to notice an abnormal amount of lethargy in him a couple of days ago. He had gotten into some kind of altercation with something or someone and ended up with a pretty nasty cut on his cheek. At first I thought it that. But when I noticed his absence Tuesday for almost 24 hours, my first thought was not “hehe.. somebody’s got a girlfriend” but rather “oh no…”. Then yesterday, I noticed he had taken to lying in the corner… or lying in the middle of the floor with no movement whatsoever. When we returned from dinner last night and I found him laying in a pool of water from their overturned water dish, I knew then that something was going south and quickly.

We made the arrangements for Steve to take him to the doctor this morning and just to be on the safe side, I made sure each of the girls said a special goodbye to him – just in case.

It didn’t take long to find out that for some reason, Max’s kidneys had completely shut down. The vet doesn’t know if it was genetic or if he ate or drank something toxic. All we knew is that it wasn’t good. Of course there were options but none were optimistic that Max would survive so we had to make the gut wrenching decision to put our little buddy to sleep.

4 days ago, he was fine and today he’s gone.

I have no idea how Little E is going to react. They’re brothers who have never been apart. The girls are going to be devastated just like Steve and I were. It really sucks having to tell them these things. I feel like I strip away a little piece of their childhood when I have to throw reality in their face.

On the paperwork today, the Vet wrote that today was Max’s 9th birthday. I think Doc was off by one year but regardless, what a way to “celebrate” your birthday.

I love you sweet Max… I’ll miss you and our warm, fuzzy naps and the sheer joy you brought our family.


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  1. I”m sorry about your kitty I hope your family is OK. You wrote a beautiful tribute to him! Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. I am so sorry, Kristen! I had “twins” too… a boy, Rusty, and girl, Shadow. I got them when they were just 8 wks old. It sounds like they were very similar to your boys. Rusty was my Max. Completely chill, totally handsome, momma’s boy. Shadow, was a complete witch. (She’s a black cat… I swear she can hex!) Two years ago, I went through something very similar. Losing Rusty was traumatic. I know that may sound silly to some, but I literally wept for two days. Some tears were for me, missing him. But most of the tears were for Shadow. I truly didn’t think she could make it on her own. She had never been without him. Surprisingly, she did just fine, and actually took on a LOT of Rusty’s characteristics. She became relaxed and very loving. Granted, she’s a pretty old lady now. She’ll be 16 years old next month. Every day with her is very special, but it is also hard. There isn’t a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t think of Rusty because of her.
    Little E will lean on you guys just as much as you all will lean on him, and you’ll bond in the most special way… all because of sweet Max. Lifting you up during this hard time, my friend.

    •  @JennBauguss Thanks for sharing your story, Jenn… yes, it sounds like we had the same little set up with our babies! I agree… I was sad for us and sad for Max but the one who weighed most on my mind today was his brother. So far, he hasn’t seemed odd but I’m sure the time will come soon. I actually just hugged him and told him that he was going to have to “loven” up to compensate for his brother :)

  3. oh, ms. kristen, i am so sorry that you have lost your max — and on his birthday no less.
    when our 10-year-old dog died suddenly in our backyard last july, i, too, was afraid about what her death would mean to my children–none of whom had ever lost something (or someone) before. in the end, they did better than their mama. and i think it did all of them no end of good to be able to say goodbye to her. i have faith that the same will be true for your girls.
    peace to your family and Little E.

    •  @bellanoise Kids are resilient little things, aren’t they? I wasn’t here when Steve told them but it sounds like it was pretty sad especially for Sydney who was the actual “owner” of Max. But, by the time I met up with them, they were already bouncing around and by dinner we were sharing favorite stories. Everyone talks about how kids need their parents, but man… I think it’s the other way around more often than not.

  4. i am so sorry that you have lost your max, ms. kristen — and on his birthday, no less. when our dog died suddenly (and in our backyard, no less) i also thought about what it would mean to our children. it was as close to death as they’d ever been. in the end, though, i think they did better than their mama. and it was a good thing that they were able to say goodbye to her before she died. i have faith that the same will be true for your girls.
    peace to your family and Little E.

    •  @Sofriedchildren Thanks, Kelly.. he was. He was referred to more commonly as Fat Max or Fat Kitty. Especially when he plopped that fat butt down across my keyboard to let me know that work was down for now 😉

  5. K, our animals that share our houses are just as much family members as the human ones, and letting them go is the hardest.  We just went through it a couple weeks ago with one of our dogs.  Thinking about you all!

    •  @PaulJones3 Aw.. sorry to hear that on your side! Makes it tough to want to get another animal but sometimes that’s one of the best cures for the sadness. That’s how these 2 guys came into our life. 8 years is short for a cat but I’m grateful for the 8 I got.

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