There is no such thing as an ordinary cat.
Yes, this is a post about my cat. But hey, it’s her 19th birthday which, from what I’ve read, is the equivalent of 93 human years. Any living soul, man or beast, who can claim that much life on earth, deserves special recognition in my book. Last year we held a ‘Maggie can vote’ party to celebrate her 18th. This year I’m celebrating that she’s still with us. Just this past week, four of my friends lost their beloved cats, so I know every day I have with her is a gift.
Maggie (Magnolia) came into my life as a kitten. She was small enough to fit in the palm of my hand. I think she may have been weaned too early, because she took to “nursing” on my arm, which she continued to do for many years. To her, I have always been Mama Cat. She was the second cat in my household. Madison was first, both of them Manx cats and both named after Seattle neighborhoods.
Every pet, just like every human, has their own unique qualities and quirks. And Maggie has hers.
She is a very chatty cat. I’ve often thought that if ever there were to be a cat to start speaking, it would be Maggie. She has an immense repertoire of meows, mrps, brrps, and all manner of cat communication. If I say a sentence or two, she replies, then I follow with a few more words and back and forth we go.
For a cat (as stereotypes go), she is intensely “dog-like,” meaning she is not aloof as one might expect, but instead a companion at-the-ready, wherever we might be: in the shower or bath, at the table, in the office or outside in the garden. We have dubbed her our “Shower Assistant,” and there is always one chair–with her name on it–at the dinner table.
Then there are her little “routines.” Bedtime, in particular, has a specific order. Jump into bed, stomp around on Big Papa, settle down. When both “Big Kittens” are in bed, and the lights turned off, this is the time to jump down and get a final snack. Then, return and hunker down wedged solidly in between Mama Cat and Papa Cat. If, during the course of the night, there are opportunities to turn sideways and claim more territory, by all means, go for it.
Maggie always promises she’ll do more office work, but when it comes right down to it, she’s more on task for her many union-mandated breaks. And, should there be any question regarding the pecking order in our household, the photo above clearly shows who wears the pants in our family. Cat on the office chair. Husband on the floor. Makes perfect sense.
One of the most unexpected joys our sweet geriatric kitty has brought to the family, is her acceptance of Little Bird. I wondered how she would handle it when, at 17, her life as the sole child was completely upended when we brought a crying baby into our home. Maggie has been nothing if not patient.
“My ride the cat, Mama.”
“Walkin’ together,” (said with Maggie not even a whisker’s length away).
Maggie or ‘Maggie Moose,’ as Little Bird fondly calls her, has been an awesome ‘big sister,’ so sweet and tolerant. And Little Bird is utterly delighted by her mere presence. We’re so fortunate that our daughter’s first experience of life in a family with a pet has been so positive. It makes me love our old kitten all the more.
Happy Birthday Maggie Moose!
You’ve been by my side–literally–for 19 years. You bring so much joy, laughter and warmth to our hearts and into our lives.
Take the road less traveled, Beth