Friday, March 18, 2011

Cheshire Cat Moon over Hollywood Boulevard

I had to let an old friend go yesterday.  My beloved furry feline friend Max.  It's been over a week now since I lost him, and only now can I bear to post about it.

He has gone on to the big Catnip Fields in the sky after gracing me with his presence for 19 of his 20 years. His dementia was becoming too difficult for him, so I had a vet come to the home to ease him out of his distress. My other cat Lucy even got to say goodbye.

Max was a very special cat. He was charming, friendly, whimsical, and sweet - a spirit with fur, as my friend Brian described him. There was a lot of eye contact with Max. You can see it in the photo below. He wanted to get to know you. Pick him up and he'd shove his nose in your mouth to say hello and see what you had for lunch. Kittens followed him around worshipfully. He presuaded dog-people to say, "I'd get a cat, if I knew it would be like Max." Dogs themselves would beg to groom him, and he'd deign to allow them to nibble his fluffy black fur.

Despite the sharpness of his claws and his ability to kick the butts of cats twice his size, he eventually earned the nickname The Cat of Peace. Max was proof that you can live a small, quiet life and still make the world a better place. He did that for me every day.

The night after he died, I went for a run, sniffing and trying to just listen to my breathing rather than to the grief whispering in my ear.

As I turned right down Hollywood Boulevard, I got an eyeful of a luminous crescent moon in the perfect "smile" position above the palm trees.  Of course I thought of one my favorite fictional characters, the Cheshire Cat.  And I thought of Max.  And for a moment my heart swelled with happiness as I thought perhaps the Big Cat in the Sky was grinning down at me.

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