This post has taken over three months to write. I am posting it tonight because sometimes you just need someone to hang with and watch bad TV ... Mao was that someone.
I was trying to get my life together post-fire which was surprisingly hard. And then the cat died. This post is about Mao - the best buddy I could ask for, who was there for me through thick and thin. One of my very first posts was about how great he was - and he was.
The fire was hard on us. He was home when the fire started and was found hiding in a side room, eyes large and scared of the noises, the people and the smells. We were displaced for three weeks and lived in separate places. And when we finally came back the house smelled funny and stuff was all over the place. Instead of windows I had plywood boards, there was still broken glass in the hardwood floors and across my garage, I was missing furniture, my deck was covered over with tarp to protect the electric room underneath and there was absolutely no food in my house - it all had to be thrown out. Neither of us were comfortable in this space which seemed like our old home, but wasn't. Mao and I tried to maintain our routines, he would still run to meet me when I got back from work, rolling over to have his belly scratched; we would spend our evenings on my upper deck; he would beg for treats in the morning and sleep on the sofa during the day.
When things were bad, when I didn't think my house would ever be re-finished, when my neighbours hated me, Mao was there. He never left me and I think he knew I would be OK, that I would figure this out. On those days when I didn't want to get out of bed, he would snuggle a little more, lick my hand and be a calming presence. When things were going well, he was the affectionate, loving cat he always was - purring, playing, eating, begging and sleeping. But then he started eating less and sleeping more, I too started eating less and sleeping more - we were stressed. Living in a shell of a house slowly took its toll.
But Mao wasn't stressed, Mao had cancer. He had a massive tumour rapidly filling his belly and by the time we found out - it was too late. I had 48 hours to say my good-byes. To spoil him with bacon and ice-cream, until he wouldn't eat bacon and ice-cream. And then I had to make a choice for him - because I loved him so much I couldn't see him suffer. Mao died in my arms on June 21st, 2012.
He is missed every day.