Tuesday, December 3, 2013


This is perhaps my most selfish blog ever.  I am feeling sorry for myself because something very precious to me has been taken away.  Hopefully writing about it will be therapeutic. Maggie deserves to be remembered

I have written elsewhere how I became a cat person from definitely not being a cat person. Out of the blue (actually I remember it was raining) a stray tiny kitten who couldn't be more than a few weeks old came up to our screen door meowing for attention.  My first reaction was to tell Sharon not to feed it as I was sure it would mooch off us every day if we let it.  She kept coming around and Sharon gave in to the urge and even set up a sort of shelter outside our door.

We had another cat and we both felt guilty that during a work day we left her alone all day.  I talked to Mary Ditta at work and she advised me how we could introduce the new cat to our house.  It didn't work out that way, but I am nonetheless grateful we took her in.  Molly our resident cat became very territorial and although she kept her distance her resentfulness never subsided.  Molly was much bigger, but Maggie (a name suggested by someone where Sharon works) was faster and could jump higher.  Maggie could get up to the heating vents in our basement where she would often hide and then startle someone when she decided to come back down.

Maggie craved affection.  Over the years because of work changes I got out of bed second and was expected to make the bed.  Maggie decided to "help" out.  It became a routine and to be honest something I looked forward to.  It didn't take much to set her off purring.

Maggie, even though she came to us from the outside was a bit of a fraidy cat.  She wanted to go outside, but when we put her on a leash she became frightened and wanted to come back indoors. She was shy when we had visitors, but occasionally made an appearance.

She was a finicky eater.  We searched all over to find something she would eat.  After awhile her tastes would shift and we would start all over again.

It seems like only a few weeks ago Sharon noticed she was not eating as much as usual and wasn't her usual frisky self.  A trip to the vet revealed she had a tumour and we weren't given much hope for a recovery.  We tried to make her last while as comfortable as possible, but she got skinnier and skinnier and more and more listless.  It is a difficult decision and easy to double guess, but we decided she was suffering too much although we were reluctant to give her up for our own greedy reasons.  We took her in last night.  It has been very upsetting to know she will never come up to us again to be stroked.   Blue Cross Animal Hospital was very supportive and respectful of our feelings.

Words can't really do her justice.  Maggie was a gift that brought a great deal of joy to our lives.  I will try to remember the joy as much as the loss.

I am grateful to Renee DiPietro Smyth, a cat lover herself who gave us some advice on how to handle the last few weeks that were very helpful.  I am also grateful to Kate Albanese who let me share some of my grief and told me about her own grief over a family cat.  Most of all I want to thank my wife Sharon who helped persuade me to let Maggie into our lives, who did a lot of the dirty work (I did some) and who I know is sharing my grief.

I didn't always like cats.  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2012/01/how-i-became-cat-lover.html

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