Monday, November 7, 2016

She Wanted Me to Hold Her Paw

It was my son-in-law's birthday and the household was all rushed with cleaning and cooking. The kitties were in the spare bedroom, except for Sophie, who was in the front room, because Murry and Macey didn't like her. My husband and I had moved into the other spare bedroom earlier in the month. It was our chance to get out of the dirty city air where I had lived so long. Anyway, that's another story.

Murry, Macey and Sophie became my charges in 2002 when my daughter married and moved to Australia. I was their "foster mom". Eight years later my daughter divorced and left Australia. After a time she and the kitties moved to new hubby and I, also in California in 2014.

Macey and Murry, like brother and sister, "The Gang" or "Kitty Mafia"

Macey had "Catatude"

Sophie ~ "So Soft Sophie", luxurious thick, fine fur and very shy. She sounded like Chewbacca.

My daughter got Murry from a pet store in the fall of 1998. He almost died from a severe infection when he was a kitten, which left him "dumb as a box of rocks". We finally figured out that he caught the infection at the vet's, because I recalled maybe the table had not been wiped down before I put him on it. We never went to that vet again.

My daughter found Macey in a Walgreen's parking lot on the south side of Chicago. She was working for an inventory company, and someone had found a dirty, abandoned kitten. My daughter agreed to take her. It might have been the spring of 1999, if I recall correctly.

"She looks mean", I told my daughter. "Look how cute she is! She has extra toes!" Exclaimed my daughter. Macey was a polydactyl, with extra toes. She turned out to be the most intelligent cat we had ever known.

Murry and Macey became best friends. They were a team, always backing each other up. When Sophie joined the group as a new-found kitten with a slight limp, Macey and Murry teamed up to get rid of her. Sophie was shy, and hid from them. In the years they lived with me, and after when my daughter took them all back, Sophie had her own room separate from "The Kitty Mafia". Macey actually accepted Sophie. Murry was almost always sleeping, so most of the time it wasn't a big issue. If he woke up, he would attack her. Sophie fine-tuned herself to run to her room if he twitched.

As I mentioned, Macey was the smartest cat we ever knew. She was too smart for her own good. She was a "people cat". She would greet company with a chirp, sort of a trill that started with a "B", and a rub. If they sat down she would be in their lap purring. I often thought it would be a good idea to build a "catwalk" at eye-level all around the house so Macey could trot along side us as we walked. That's where she wanted to be. My furniture had the scratches to prove it. She had the annoying habit of jumping up on anything so she could "talk" to me, even if I was cooking. She never jumped on the stove, but she would jump on the kitchen island. One evening I was rolling dough. I saw her sitting on the floor looking up at me, twitching her tail. "Stay down!" I scolded. "I'm cooking. Don't you dare jump on my dough." In a blink of an eye she landed on the very edge of the Island, all four feet as close to the edge as possible, not a single paw on my dough." "Chirrrp!" She said, as if to say, "See I didn't touch your dough." That was Macey. Always in your face, the "interactive pet".

I had checked on Macey in the morning of the party. She and Murry were both of advanced age. We knew Macey didn't have much time left. Three years earlier she had been diagnosed with Hyperthyroid disease. She needed a daily dose of medicine to slow her thyroid. It's that time most pet owners hate...learning to say goodbye. Macey looked bad. I tried the best I could to make her comfortable. I tried to offer her water, gently touching her lips with my finger dipped in water. I closed to door and went back to cleaning and preparing for the party.

People were arriving. I checked on Macey again. She cried faintly and reached for my fingers with her paw. I held her paw, tears began to flow.


"Macey, I have to go," I gently told her. I rushed to wash my face and rejoin the party. I didn't say anything. I didn't want to ruin my son-in-law's birthday. My heart was breaking.

Guests were leaving, finally all of them were gone. My husband opened the door to check on the kitties. "Come! Come quick! Macey is bad!" We all came running. My daughter found a clean towel and wrapped her in it. She held her until she died in her arms. Then we buried her at the back of the property.

Beautiful Macey R.I.P. 1999 - 2014

A few months later Murry passed, and a year or so later, Sophie was gone, too. Murry didn't want to be bothered, but Sophie wanted to be held. Like people, some animals want to die alone, and others just want you to hold their paw.