I debated writing anything today and I debated writing about Mac because the wounds are still healing but then I thought that this might be a way to move past the grief. Writing can be so very therapeutic after all. So here I am at 11 o’clock at night writing about my beloved Mac.
Mac was the runt of the litter. The mother was the barn cat for the stable where my girls took horse back riding lessons. The mother had nine kittens and tried valiantly for a week to look after them all but when it became apparent that she was only going to run herself ragged we offered to take the three smallest. And that is how we ended up with Taang!, Mac, and Eric.
Mac was my kitten from the get go. I fed him and washed him and burped him and wiped his little bottom. He loved the attention even when his eyes were barely open. As he grew he would cuddle up under my chin after his feedings, content. He loved to be picked up and carried around while I did my chores. I got pretty adept at doing things with one hand while Mac slept curled in my other arm. We called him our little football kitty because that was how he liked to be carried and he would fall asleep like that. My favourite memory of him is when he was small you could pick him up, flip him on his back and tickle his tummy. He would swat madly at you but then the swats would slow down and he would be fast asleep.
As Mac got older and could run around, he took enormous pleasure in learning new things. When he learned to walk he had to walk everywhere. When he learned to run, he had to run everywhere and there was a period of time when, after he learned he could jump from chair to couch to table, I swear his feet never touched the ground. We nicknamed him Peter Pan. Mac was a busy little kitten, always doing something and always making us laugh. And he always seemed to have a smile on his face. The happiest little cat in the world it seemed.
Mac would come and sleep with me at night. He would rest his little head on my shoulder or curl up against my back. I would wake up to see him sleeping above my pillow. He would also pat my cheek or eye if he wanted me to wake up and pat him. Yes it could be annoying but I never once got mad at him for doing it because he was just so cute. He would bump his mouth against my lips, giving me awkward Mackie kisses. He always seemed to need to be touching someone and just looking at him would cause him to purr furiously.
And then in 2009 Mac planned and plotted and then when the timing was right he slipped out the front door. He was gone eleven days. Eleven heart wrenching, terrifying, sleepless days that saw my kids and me out at all times of day and night calling him, papering the neighbourhood over and over again, phoning the animal hospitals, calling the animal shelter. We searched the internet for tips on how to find a missing cat. We never gave up. And as a last-ditch effort we called a professional cat finder to help us. She wanted pictures of the neighbourhood and after viewing them told us where we would find Mac. We got a humane trap from rescue and with the help of a neighbour set it up in his backyard. We captured Mac two days later. Mac was home again.
Then in 2010 tragedy struck. Mac was sick. The diagnosis turned out to be diabetes but the doctor who looked after him in his crisis was excellent and reassuring. We brought Mac home and set up a schedule. Our lives became dominated by caring for him. Not that we didn’t do other things but we always had to arrange things around his medical needs. It wasn’t a fun time but we managed. Little did we know that the worst was yet to come.
When Mac was initially diagnosed with diabetes, the vet had also said that his heart looked slightly enlarged and that at some point we should have a sonogram done to see if there was a problem. At that time the clinic was going through changes and our vet left for another practice. What happened then was a rotating door of vets some better than others and the heart problem was forgotten in the stresses of trying to get his diabetes under control. No one mentioned it again.
Tired of never knowing which doctor we would be seeing when we had to take Mac in for his check-ups, we decided to change vets to someone who we would be able to see on a consistent basis. One who would be the primary care giver. She was very good and we built a solid relationship with her. Things were going well. Then in November of 2012 I noticed that Mac didn’t seem to be breathing properly and was looking bloated. The vet x-rayed him and found his chest cavity filled with fluid. She tapped him to remove it but the diagnosis was the worst thing imaginable. Mac was dying. He had cardiomyopathy. His heart just wasn’t working and his left ventricle was enlarged.
The vet put him on a course of diuretics and heart medication but the fluid would still build up around his heart which meant that every month or so Mac would have to go back for a tap. We did everything we could to try to reduce the fluids, he was put on the highest dosage of diuretic that was safe and wouldn’t kill his kidneys. We gave him a food that was both low carb and low salt and we restricted his movements, no stairs, no stress, no jumping around. But still the fluids gathered. In March we took him back to the vets for a routine tap but he squirmed so much she had to give him a sedative. Now there aren’t that many that are safe for cats in his condition and the one that is used most often is also one that can cause clots. And after we got Mac home, he unfortunately threw a small one. It didn’t paralyze his legs has they often do but he was in considerable pain and for the next two weeks went downhill until it became too painful for us to see him deteriorate and the decision to have him euthanized was made.
I can’t write about that day seven months ago. It is still too painful. My darling little Mackie lying lifeless on the table after eight years of living a big life. He was always full of the joy of living. Always happy, purring, and full of joie de vivre. Nothing ever got him down, and as long as I was there for him life was good. The days after his passing were terrible. The house felt impossibly empty even though we still had his two brothers and Pete to give us comfort. I could not look at a piece of furniture without seeing Mac lying there squinting up at me and purring. I still have trouble imagining him gone. The house still seems too empty. The tears still a little too close to the surface.
I know that with time I will heal. Already I have forgotten what he smelled like, how soft his fur felt, how his purr sounds. I have forgotten the pat, pat, pat of his paw on my cheek, the mrrows, the paws reaching out wanting you to pat him. I have forgotten so many little things and I know that even a picture isn’t going to bring them back. But I know that I will never forget how much love a little kitty heart can hold and give. I will never forget how much love he had for life. He was my baby and I will love him forever. I miss you, my little Mac.