In Memory of Madison

On a Sunday over 5 years ago, we needed to go to Petsmart to pick up more cat food. For those who don’t know that is adoption day at Petsmart. Of course we have to go see all the kitties and puppies. In the kitties area was a spotted white one. I simply said “aw” or such and was ready to head to the checkout. My wife was not as easily swayed. Before I knew it, she was holding her, and this cat was already giving her hugs and biscuits. I said we’d have to wait and see. On the way home Megan cried. It would be less than a week later when we welcomed her into our home, and we named her Madison. I also said she would be known as the gato blanco con los “pftt-pftt-pftt”; that’s the sound of the ink dispensers when her white-furred body was going along the conveyor belt.

Everyone will say how sweet and caring their pet is. If you’ve met Madison, you may have to agree with me that she was the sweetest, yet sassiest, cat that ever or ever will walk the earth. It’s hard to believe I started out not sure if we were ready to have a second cat in our home. Every time I sat down I usually had her on my lap. Oh and she was rarely called Madison unless she got herself in trouble; her two daily nicknames were Maddie-Moo and Moo-Moos. If she was really zippy, I had to call her mukalakachaka-bakalakalu. Yes.

Madison was recently diagnosed with an enlarged heart after we noticed heavy breathing, rapid weight loss, and having fluid removed from her chest cavity. After being on meds she started to eat more and already gained a pound back. She was back to her old self, even though we knew she would have a shortened life.

We didn’t realize how short it would be. Very early on Tuesday January 27th she had a bad stroke and lost bloodflow and muscle control of her rear legs. My wife got her to the emergency clinic where we knew it was time to end her pain. I was able to hold her and pet her one last time, look into her eyes and let her know it was ok. My wife was able to be there and hold her at the end. As hard as it is, we are glad we were able to restore her dignity near the end, and that at the end we were able to be there with her. I can only hope my end is just as comforting.

She wasn’t just our cat. She’s one of our children, our daughter. As the grief and pain starts to decline, an even emptier feeling creeps in. The house is quieter, and she isn’t there to plop on my lap. She is survived by her adopted brother Wiggles, and he is doing a great job to help my wife and I as we try to adjust to life with a missing friend and loved one.

Hug your pet, your SO, your child, your friend. Don’t let petty things or even being too lazy to try to call, email or write (yes on paper!) prevent you from keeping in touch with those you do truly care about, even if you’re afraid they may not feel the same any more about you. Even at the best of health life is painfully too short, and every moment is truly a gift. Live that moment, remember it any way you choose (photo, writing, etc.) and if you can, share it with a person and/or animal at your side.