Life with Max Pt I - Max Appears

I've been writing a book about my cat Max ever since I first brought him home.  I'm going to be sharing the chapters on the blog.  Hope you enjoy this departure from my usual posts!



Max Appears

2013 was a tough year for me.  I lost two out of my three beloved pets that year and the house felt sad and quiet.  My dog, Lucy, was my favourite pet of all time. She was a husky-shepherd-golden retriever mix with the best characteristics of all three breeds. She was my best friend and constant companion. We went everywhere together, she was the light of my life and in January 2013, she was gone.



LUCY
My Maine Coon purebred cat, Maggie Mae, was fading as well.  She had back problems and was becoming very crippled up, unable to climb onto chairs and walk easily.  She had begun to spend most of the day sleeping and was no longer asking to go outside much.  By the time October rolled around, I couldn't bear to see her in pain any more and then she was gone, too.

MAGGIE MAE
I decided that I would look for another dog that was the spitting image of  Lucy with  her loving nature, only in medium size rather than the big dog that Lucy was (80 pounds).  I was regularly checking the SPCA and other rescue animal websites but no luck...

What did show up was Max. Maximilian Maine Coon Cat. He was a stray that had been found up a tree with a piece of wood stuck into his side on Halloween night. He must have been about 4-5  months old when he was turned in to the Animal Control Officer who asked me if I was thinking of getting another cat.  I had only just lost Maggie  two weeks before and I wasn't really keen on getting another cat as I'm really more of a dog lover.  Max was so cute that I couldn't resist & I agreed to foster him until the owners could be found. So Max came home with me. It was November 1st.

MAX - who could resist this face??!

Max appeared the very day that I had decided to let go and let God decide if I was to get another pet. That very morning I woke up thinking that if I was meant to have another pet, it would just appear without me trying to make it happen and if it didn't, I wasn't meant to have another pet right now.  I still had one cat and I didn't want her to be left all alone whenever I was at work. Eloise was Maggie's kitten but other than colouring, Eloise did not look like a Maine Coon at all.  She was long-legged, short-haired, lithe, active and sweet. Maggie was none of those things...

Maggie had been beautiful but snappy and quick to take offence. I called her Ninja cat when she and Eloise first came to live with me because if you made the mistake of picking her up, she went into full attack mode – claws bared and no mercy. The family she had come from had 3 small children and they had been very mean to Maggie.  That coupled with the fact that Eloise was still a kitten made Maggie very protective and vicious if she suspected any harm could come to Eloise.   Added to that protective instinct was the fact that Maggie couldn't retract her claws, poor thing. Carpet was murder for her to walk on. Over the 12 years I owned her, she grew to love me and even though she never quite lost her wild side, I loved her dearly. It was like taming a wild beast, the bond is a little more special.

 She was a large cat, topping the scales at 20 lbs at her peak but in the last year of her life, she dropped to 15 lbs. She was 13 years old when she left my side forever.

Eloise was 12 years old then and had never learned how to play with another cat. She adored Lucy and  was used to the company of dogs, I had three when Maggie and Eloise arrived on the scene. Neighbours’ dogs hung out at my house, too, but Eloise loved Lucy best. She would sleep curled up at Lucy’s side purring incessantly although I suspect the good feelings were all on Eloise’s side.

LUCY & ELOISE
Maggie and Eloise never did get along. Once she had been weaned, Maggie turned on her and refused to have anything to do with her. All those two ever did was fight when they were in the same room together. As they grew older, they would tolerate each other but it was an uneasy peace. Eloise and I had two weeks together in the silence left by Maggie’s departure and then I sic’d Max on her…

Yikes.

That first day there was a whole lotta hissing and spitting going on in my house. Nobody was very happy with the arrangement. It became apparent that I would have to separate the two cats until they could get used to each other. Eloise lived in the main rooms of the house and Max was relegated to the laundry/mudroom. He didn't like it ONE BIT. And my French door bore the brunt of his discontentment. He actually ate parts of it.  There were splinters everywhere!  Little did I know that was a sign of things to come...   To keep him from attacking the house, I sat with him in the laundry room whenever I could. The things I do for my pets!

MAX ATTACKS

THE REAL MAX REVEALS HIMSELF...
My cats are kept shut up in the laundry every night because Eloise would never let me rest. She toured the bed, walked back and forth on my pillow, tried to get as close to me as she could and if that didn't succeed in getting my attention, she would begin yowling and clawing at the curtains. That ploy worked. And that’s why she usually slept in the laundry/mudroom. Except Max was there now. Maximilian the terrible. Crap.

Another down side to this arrangement was the extra litter box in MY bathroom. Ugh. Kitty litter is something I heartily dislike. I can put up with all the other cat stuff, but litter boxes. YUCK! So now there was a litter box, a scoop, a broom and dust pan in my bathroom. And Max, whenever he was released from his prison of the mudroom, made a beeline for that litter box and proceeded to flick litter helter-skelter as he tunneled to China. Sigh. What the heck was I thinking??

Every night when I got home from work and released Max, he would race out of the laundry room like a bat out of hell. His favourite thing to do was to tear down the hallway into my bedroom and leap onto the bed where he proceeded to fight with the faux fur throw, launch himself into the cushions and pillows and then bounce around like a jumping bean for half an hour. You’d think that would tire him out, but oh no, not Maxie. It seemed to egg him on. Evenings were not a relaxing time for Eloise and me anymore.



On the weekends, Max would sleep most of the daytime hours and become this snuggly, soft, furry love bug that wanted nothing more than to be as close to me as possible. He was so lovable in his sleepy moods. He began to tug at my heart in the way he had when I first laid eyes on him. Back when he was in shock from whatever chased him up that tree. Back when he gave the impression he was a calm, staid little fella that could get along with anyone and anything.

Yep.

Colour me fooled.

MAX


By week four, I had had little sleep thanks to Eloise and her all-night-every-night antics.  My patience was wearing dangerously thin. Max was always on top of Eloise, trying to wrestle her to the ground or jump on her back or tussle with her. He was quite aggressive already. I know that these are all things he would have done with his litter mates and they would have had a grand old time, but Eloise hated it.

I considered giving Max to the SPCA. He was still young enough to find a new home easily. No one had called, inquired, put a message on the radio or in the lost & found about him. He had either been dumped or born from a feral cat. Either way, I only had two options – keep him or give him away.

I gave him a deadline of December 10th. If there was no improvement in the relationship between the two cats, he was gone.

MAX & ELOISE


On November 29th, I decided it was time to see how the two cats would manage if they were both left together in the mudroom. I closed the door on them during the day and waited to see what would happen. After a few minutes, Max was sleeping in his box by the window and Eloise was crouched in the far corner. No fighting. Whew!

That night I made them sleep together in that space as well. There was some fighting but overall, it was okay and I got my first full night’s sleep since Max had become a part of our lives. After a couple of nights’ sleep, I was able to find the patience to deal with Max’s extreme energy.

The cats were now sleeping in the same space and I had some peace at night. Little Max got a stay of execution – so to speak.

End of Chapter One



If you want to read the whole series of the "Life with Max" posts, click HERE

25 comments:

  1. Anne,
    Love the Chronicles of Max. So sweet. What a great post. Loved this. I cannot wait to read more chapters.
    Kris

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  2. Please continue posting about your Max. Lovely pictures, too!

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    1. Thank you Frances! I'm glad you are enjoying the story!!

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  3. I have always enjoyed seeing Max in past post, so it is nice to know the back story. I can't wait to read the rest of the story. Personally I think he is adorable. Smile.....

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  4. Oh you gotta love that Max...Always loved reading about his antics and truly made me laugh. Great first chapter Anne...and your Lucy was a beautiful soul.

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  5. I can't wait for the second chapter. I love animal posts.

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    1. I'm so glad Debra!! Thanks for visiting!

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  6. Pets are so special, and it's great that you were able stick out the adjustment with Max. I love the photo of Lucy and Eloise. We have a cat and dog that are inseparable.

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  7. Wonderful cat tales...I look forward to reading the next chapter. Miss Twiggley sends her regards.

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  8. Loved the story....please continue! We have a part Maine coon...oh my word...the energy! And while Bowser is a sweetheart...he does have his moments of sheer terror! So I'm curious to see how Max is doing! ;)

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    1. Thank you Donnamae! They do have loads of energy don't they? Like the border collie version of cats! Thank you for your sweet comment! xox

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  9. Hi Aanne, it was lovely to read this story and see Max again! Lucy and Eloise look such good friends. It is so difficult introducing pets to each other. Tavi has grown so much he now towers over Twinkle. Although they will play together outside Twinkle will tell him when enough is enough! Sarah x

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  10. This is so great. Max is a character and I'm happy you opened your heart and home. It's amazing how we are with our babies. I can't wait to read more. Isn't it amazing when you look back and say, they were so small

    Cindy

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  11. I like this fun departure. I'm ready for the next chapter.

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  12. Oh I can tell I'm going to love reading this book! I must say too... you are a soft hearted woman. So many people would have given up and turned him in but you stuck with it! It's hard sometimes and people don't seem to understand that.

    I'm looking forward to chapter 2!

    Tania

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  13. I love that you are writing about Max! Since I can't have a cat, I'll live my cat desire vicariously through your monthly posts!

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  14. Max is a cutie... on pictures! Believe me I know that sometimes pets can be a challenge... But maybe there's a reason why they come into our lives?

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  15. We had a Scarlett, well behaved and such a lady. Then we got a Tommy, he was a rascal. Eventually, they became best buds and curled up so tightly together it was hard to tell where her fur ended and his began. Max is adorable...I bet he's fun to have around!

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  16. Good for you to write a book. I admire your determination Anne. Your cat tales make me think of the dilemma I face at the moment. Do we get a new puppy now that Rusty is gone? Scrap, who is the dominant dog in the household, may not appreciate a young upstart. Perhaps in time they might get along, but in the short run I fight face similar squabbles as the ones between Eloise and Max.

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  17. I went to my sister's house last week and every time I've been there recently I can't help but want to take their newest barn cat home with me. She's the sweetest little black and white and not made for barn cat living, but I'm so hesitant to put 2 cats together. Reading the Max chronicles, your making me believe that it could be doable. I think it's amazing that the situation worked itself all out right before your deadline. Sounds meant to be to me!! Looking forward to next month's chapter. Happy weekend, Anne!!

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  18. I went to my sister's house last week and every time I've been there recently I can't help but want to take their newest barn cat home with me. She's the sweetest little black and white and not made for barn cat living, but I'm so hesitant to put 2 cats together. Reading the Max chronicles, your making me believe that it could be doable. I think it's amazing that the situation worked itself all out right before your deadline. Sounds meant to be to me!! Looking forward to next month's chapter. Happy weekend, Anne!!

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  19. Can't wait to read more about your pet adventures. Blessings

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    1. Thank you Nancy! I'm so glad you're enjoying the story. xo

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  20. That's a good read, Anne. Now I know why I like you, you love dogs and cats!

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