Monday, June 21, 2010

My Maggie

From the moment I saw her little black nose pressed through the holes in the cardboard box, I loved her.

I loved that she was tiny and fuzzy and black. I loved that her paws looked too small for her body. I loved that her teeth were razor sharp like her claws when she pounced on my head as I lounged on the couch.

I loved that Hubs went to the shelter to get her as a gift for me. She was mine (especially when she destroyed something or needed a bath.)


Over time, she became Hubs' cat, too. Like most men, he pretended to be bothered by the cat of the house, but he was always the one who fed her in the morning. She greeted him as soon as his feet hit the floor.

Sometimes I caught him letting her curl up on the couch right next to him. At night, she always crept on the bed, careful to walk all around Hubs and not on him, for fear he'd shew her off.

She moved with us many times, fussing from her carrier the entire way. When the car would stop, she thought the trip was over. Cats aren't good with time. They only know that they hate where they are and they want to get to wherever it is that you are forcing them to go.

When I found out I was pregnant, she was there. She sprawled across my tummy as it grew. She purred loudly as she always did and I knew that somehow the baby inside could hear her.

The day finally came when my tummy couldn't grow any more (believe me) and Daughter was born. Maggie was there when we welcomed her home.

When we laid Daughter on her blanket on the floor, we told Maggie to stay off of it. She always laid right on the edge and slept as our daughter slept. When Daughter cried and I didn't hear it, Maggie clawed at the nursery door until I went to the room to check on the baby. (I can hear her in her condescending cat voice saying,"Human Mothers. Hmph!")

Maggie patiently tolerated the tug of toddler hands, the playful imagination of a preschooler, and the pet grooming attempts of a kindergartner. She listened to stories and jokes and heartbreaks that I, as a mother, will probably never know. She kept the feet of a sick child warm, and nestled against the tired body of a weary mom.

She annoyed me to no end.

She stole and chewed all the curly ribbon she could find. She shredded the furniture. She scared nearly every kennel worker we ever met. (She is probably on some kind of underground list.)

She climbed in the dryer on top of clean clothes. She crawled inside box lids of board games. She ran up the attic stairs and walked around on the insulation. She found a torn place in the covering of the box springs and crawled inside. Her tiny cat paws pressed against the fabric of the box springs as I tried to coax her out with catnip.

She attacked the Christmas tree. She slept on top of wrapped presents. She peed on my husband's clothes, on bath rugs, or any other thing she willed to mark.

But, I loved her.

I loved her picky, rude, better-than-thou, tail-in-the-air attitude.

She was Maggie.

And after a brief fight with cancer, we said good-bye to her. Her last days were filled with all the Medleys she could eat, all the attention and love she could stand, and all the bath rugs I could keep clean. She slept and purred and in the end, she went out with the same cat attitude that made me fall in love with her.

When it was time, I stroked her face, the only place we were ever allowed to pet, and told her it was okay to let it go. It was time and that I knew she was ready to leave.

And when it was all over, I felt nothing but grief and loss and peace all at the same time.

She gave our family thirteen years of hairballs and furniture repairs and apologies to kennel staff. She was the most irritating, sassy and loving creature I've ever known.

She was my Maggie and she will always have a warm place to sleep in my heart.

Thank you for sharing her many stories with me, including this one.


fuzzytop said...

I am so sorry....

Sunshine and Summertime said...

I am so sorry to hear about Maggie. She's in kitty heaven now :)

Ashlee said...

Such great memories but great sadness too....Give yourself a big hug for me. :(

2Thinks said...

Oh, I'm so sorry for you about Maggie. Thanks for sharing this about her though. I've had pets that caused me such grief, it is hard. So sorry...I hope you will feel better real soon.

Susanne said...

Melanie, I'm so sorry! {{{{Hugs to you}}}} I will miss the stories of her orneriness with the kennel staff. She gave me many smiles through your stories of her.

Quirky said...

Ohhhhh bawling my eyes out now! Bless your heart! There's nothing quite like losing a loved one, even a furry loved one. My heart goes out to you.

Nancy said...

Of course I'm sniffling as I type.... I will miss Maggie too. I love that you captured her true nature in the tribute :) Love you.

TracyBlalock said...

I have been reading your blog for a long time and never commented. I don't know why, just never did. But today, I have to comment. I am so so so sorry about Maggie. I know exactly how you feel as any animal lover would/does. Just know that he purpose was to give you purpose and I'm sure she knew how much you, Hubs and daughter loved her. Again, so, so sorry!

Roxanne said...

Friend. . .I am so sorry about your kitty. I was about to say "about your SWEET kitty"--though I know that Maggie would deign to HAUNT me in my dreams were I to call her "sweet." I have loved your Maggie stories. Big hugs to you and everyone at your house.

Laney said...

I am sorry. The loss of a beloved pet is devastating.

sprymary said...

Tears are in my eyes as I say, "I'll miss her too. She was an interesting and unusual kitty."

pendy said...

I know exactly how you feel...have been there. It was heart-wrenching, knowing I had to let her go. What a lovely post in her memory.

Melissa said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved pet. We lost our cat, Riley, last year. The below poem was given to us by our vet and brought us some comfort. I hope it can do the same to you and yours.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown