On New Year’s Eve Max became gender neutral. It happened without fanfare. It happened without drama. It happened without slowing him down for one.single.solitary.moment. He was fighting the anesthesia from the moment I picked him up from the vet and I had to pick him up at noon because the clinic was closing early that day. He utterly and completely refused to sleep it off and that stance went on for the rest of the afternoon and evening until he finally, mercifully collapsed out of sheer exhaustion.
Next day was no different from any other day with Max, tearing out of the laundry room first thing for his usual high-speed chase around the house. I checked the incisions a few times but everything seemed just fine, even though he was licking the area quite frequently. His new favourite activity was chewing the spongy play mats that I had used as an insulated rug in the the laundry room. This room has an open crawl space below and the floor feels quite cold in the dead of winter. The playmats were supposed to make it more comfortable for the cats to hang out in there. Max would not leave those mats alone. His eyes would sparkle and he would chew and chew and pull pieces off, scattering the tiny bits far and wide. I had never heard of cats chewing like this. Dogs yes, my dogs were notorious for chewing odd things during their teething phases - like my steel toed boots, for example. My brand new, hugely expensive steel toed boots. GAH - bloody pets. And here Max proved once again that he was really a dog in cat’s clothing.
In an effort to distract him, I tried to find new toys but he wasn't really all that interested in anything else. Then one day I was cleaning out my desk and tearing up old receipts which drew Max's attention almost immediately. He sniffed the papers and pawed at them so I balled up a piece of paper and threw it across the room. He flung himself at it and batted that little piece of paper around for half an hour until it was hopelessly squashed and useless. He went through 8 pieces of note paper that day and each one gave him as much enjoyment as the first. Go figure. Don't bother spending $30 on cat toys, just tear up a free paper bag instead. MUCH more fascinating to a cat!
By the end of that day, I was overjoyed to find both cats sleeping together again – and this time Eloise was content to stay and snuggle. What a relief!
With Max no longer interested in any of the toys I had bought him, I needed something new to distract him from the damage he was intent on inflicting on my newly renovated house. While browsing a flea market I found a stuffed lamb that was the right size and had curly fur. Max was particularly fond of toys with curly fur so I bought it right away. Max LOVED this lamb from the first moment he laid eyes on it– if you could call it love. He carried that thing around with him everywhere he went. It wound up beside the food bowl, in his bed, in Eloise’s bed, on the couch, under the couch, on my bed and even in the fridge one day. Don’t ask me, I just live here…
|this is Donkey Oti not the lamb, but you get the idea...|
Max’s idea of relaxing was to grab Lambie Dextrous by the top of its head and kick the crap out of it several times a day. As with the donkey before it, I don’t know what that poor lamb did to deserve that treatment or why Max had such a great need to pummel stuffed animals to death, but at least it was that lamb on the receiving end and not my house.
On the other end of the spectrum, Max had relaxation down to a fine art. Max, it seems, was a Yogi. About the same time as Max appeared in my life, I had begun taking Yoga classes. It was impossible to do any kind of yoga practice at home without Max’s participation. He crawled underneath me when I did the plank pose. He climbed on my back when I did the child pose. In downward dog he licked my nose, stood on my hand, swished his tail around my nose and generally got in the way. He sat behind me whenever I began the Sun Salutation – biting me when I put my foot back to get into the deep lunge position. He wasn’t getting out of the way for anybody! If I sat to meditate, he crawled into my lap. **Sigh** So difficult for me to relax and enjoy my practice, but Max was in heaven. I couldn't use my yoga mat for any of my at-home practice because Max wouldn't stop chewing on it. He even ate a hole right in the middle of it one day when I left it rolled up and in the corner of my front entry.
A few weeks later I began noticing some odd looking Max moves:
Clearly Max had been paying closer attention to Yoga than I realized. I wish I had photos of all the positions he got into, but he was becoming wise to the camera and scooted away whenever I approached with it.
He also loved to watch TV and paid close attention to the screen when the TV was on, often launching himself in a single bound from the couch to the TV to pound with his paw on something that had caught his attention. This would send me screaming to yank him down and away from my new LED TV screen before he inflicted damage. There was a lot of screaming going on these days. Max was hands down the most destructive animal I'd ever had in my house. Max and I certainly were having our moments...
Together Max and I watched the 2014 Winter Olympics, I was particularly interested in the Women's Hockey finals. I was on the edge of my seat watching the final period and then the OT, messaging excitedly with Facebook friends from one end of the country to the other - cheering loudly when Canada took the Gold medal!!!! Max? Max just went back to doing his yoga meditation practice.
You can read all the chapters HERE