Thursday's Child ... has far to go ... (0nm10wn2feet) wrote,
Thursday's Child ... has far to go ...

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RIP Emperor Manximilian!

Emperor Manximilian, aka Manx-cat, aka Minkie, crossed the Rainbow Bridge this morning with his loving family in attendance. Now, he's running free, rabbit-hopping along, his fur once more sleek and silky, his big, round kitten-eyes gleaming, that tuft of fur on his stub of a tail flying out behind him, and probably bitching us out for not being there with him.

He arrived one summer night on our back deck, just a hollerin' away. He left much the same way, pissed off, cantankerous, and letting us know about it. There will never be another cat, Manx breed or otherwise, quite like our Manx. Stocky, built like a cross between a bulldog and a rabbit, that cat ran the household to his way of doing things. He held grudges for days before getting his revenge. HE chose Steven - Steven did NOT choose the cat. And heaven help Steven if his ass didn't sit down right away to pet the cat upon arriving home from school or work!! Minkie would follow him EVERYWHERE, bitching loudly to express his extreme displeasure!

When he adopted us, he was only six months old. Even so, he terrorized the 110 lb. dog, Calvin, came to a truce with the 20 lb. Black Cat, and steered clear of our spastic kitteh, Mussa. He used to sit on my lap, especially when I was wearing my bathrobe, kneading and drooling like a dog. I swear, that cat managed to SOAK that robe on a good night! When Calvin died and we got Hobbes, Minkie made sure that poor Samoyed pup knew his place in the household - and it wasn't top 'dog.' He left George-kitty pretty much alone too, unless she attacked first, then all bets were off.

Minkie loved sleeping in sinks and boxes, and hiding in shopping bags, as the pic below illustrates. He slept pretty much wherever he pleased, though. Usually with a person of HIS choosing, or flat on his face on the floor, or flat on his back with that huge expanse of white underbelly just begging you to pet it - at your own peril, of course. Just try rubbing that cat's belly... and you were liable to get four paws full of claws and a mouth full of teeth attached to your arm for your trouble.

When scratched where HE wanted you to scratch, though, you were rewarded with a purr that rose to a trill when he was really happy. Imagine a buzz saw that trilled... that was our Minkie! For 15 1/2 years, he enlivened our lives, provided us with a million stories, loved us and allowed us to be HIS people. We tried to keep him inside, due to the number of wild animals around the place but, on the odd occasions when he DID escape, he always came right back here. It got to be interesting to guess which door he'd end up mrowing at, though.

When he started going blind, we knew that things were going downhill. Just in the last few months, though, he lost half his weight. Finally, he was not eating or drinking unless coaxed, and the double eye infection was just the capper. The vet gave us options, but they all meant that the old guy would have to be poked and prodded more for very little gain... definitely not cool. Even so, he was still tough enough to whip Buddy into submission yesterday morning. I had to pick a claw sheath out of Buddy's nose and the dog was sitting against my bathroom door when I opened it.

Minkie in his glory days:

Minkie in his glory days!

Kitty in a bag:

kitty in a bag

Shortly after getting up this morning, while wandering around the kitchen, I heard Steven calling me from downstairs. I went down there to find him sitting on the 'sofa,' petting his cat, with tears running down his face. He just looked at me and mumbled, "I need a hug." I lost it, of course... and tears were running down my face as well. I sat there next to him and Minkie, scritching the old guy's chin just the way he liked while he purred. No matter how sick or frail he was, it was okay because he had HIS boy and some scritchies. I have no idea how long we sat there, just talking and scritching the kitteh.

So, the traveling vet arrived later this morning, and such a lovely woman she is! So caring, kind and empathetic, without being one bit artificial about it. I'm so VERY glad we made the decision to have her come out to the house. The fact that her husband/assistant is Polish was just the icing on the cake, so to speak.

While he and Steven discussed their common Polish heritage, I handled the financial end, figuring (quite rightly) that I wouldn't be able to write too well without glasses and with tears running down my face. We picked a spot under the maple tree in the front yard, nice and shady, where the grass wasn't too burnt out from all the heat. I brought Minkie up from the basement and outside, and set him on the grass... and of course, even as frail as he was, he tried to wander off.

We just sat there talking about Minkie stories while her husband prepared the shot. When we'd said our good-byes, she rubbed his leg looking for a vein, and he started protesting, loudly. It figures that the darn cat would go out of our lives the same way he came into them - bitching! He was gone even before she'd finished the shot... that quickly and that peacefully. We sat around a little bit longer, just petting him and remembering all the good memories.

Even the vet was sniffling at the end. She lamented with us that our beloved pets have such short life spans in comparison to ours, and hugged us all before she left. We picked some catnip, found a turkey feather, and arranged him as though he was sleeping in his box. He would have LOVED that box, tearing it apart as he did every box he slept in. Steven was sweating horribly by the time he had the hole half finished, but he was determined. "It's MY cat, it's MY job," he told me. I helped a little when the sweat started dripping into his eyes.

We put him out back in the fence row where we had buried the other cats. Now Minkie, Muss, & Black Cat are all together again. It's under a bunch of oak trees, shady and peaceful. Right behind that spot is an area of rocks - it must be where the farmers that used to own this land threw all the stones from their fields every year. I can attest to the fact that we grow a bumper crop of new rocks every year, that's for sure! We found a large one, flat and slanted on one side, just perfect for a headstone. Steven insisted on rolling, see-sawing and dragging that thing into position all by himself. It must have weighed AT LEAST 200 lbs.; Jessa and I offered to help, but he wanted to do it. "It's MY cat," was all he'd say.

Thus ends the saga of the 'devil cat,' as MSK often called him. We gave him the best life we could and, when it came time, we tried to do the right thing for him in the end. I think we did pretty well... he always came home. Sorry for two maudlin posts in such a short time, but I really needed to vent.

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