Sad news. Maytag gave up his ninth life yesterday on the highway behind our house. We missed him when he did not come home, and today when I got home from work our neighbor told me she had seen him beside the highway. I retrieved his body from the roadside and we buried him by the pink azalea bushes under the oak tree. Donna put a marker and a rose on his grave. I put a rock. I don’t really know why; it just seemed the thing to do. We stood there a while, and quietly shed a few tears. It was a tender, sad, emotional moment for us.
Ever since that November night in 2008 when I fished him from the washing machine and dried him out, Maytag and I had a special bond. He was like the son (or maybe grandson) that I never had. He was all boy, constantly getting into predicaments and situations and always bringing a smile to my face. If he was outside when I came home from work, he would hear my squeaky car and come running from wherever he was in the neighborhood to greet me.
He was a great hunter, and he loved to bring his trophies to our doorstep for us to admire. Always true to his predator nature, he consumed his catches so they never went to waste. We had a few mice in the house this winter, and of course Maytag proudly did his duty and caught most of them.
Maytag had a regular route through the neighborhood. He would crisscross our quiet street, visiting each house in turn. All the neighbors knew and liked him. He let little two-year-old Cody across the street pet him, and he would catch moles in Mrs. Brooks garden, to her delight. He would work his way down the street to the creek at the bottom of the hill. And although he did not actually swim, he wasn’t shy about poking around the bank like a raccoon, looking for a frog or a snake to bring home and eat.
The most amazing thing Maytag did was accompany us when we walked the dogs. He would hurry up ahead, until he got just far enough. Then he would plop down in our path, roll over on his back, stretch, and wait. Just before we caught up to him he was up and away again. Whenever we passed by the Burch’s house, Maytag made a show of walking along the split-rail fence as if to say “bet you can’t do this!”
Another talent Maytag had was his ability to sleep in the most ridiculous and seemingly uncomfortable positions. He loved to find a sunny spot in the yard, but he especially loved to sleep on Donna’s heating pad when he was inside.
I was a little surprised at how much Maytag’s death affected me. After all, his siblings all went on before him, and I handled each of their passings pretty well. But Maytag was different. Although he was a just a little cat, he had a big heart and a big spirit. He brought us so much joy and laughter.
Maytag, buddy, we love you and we will miss you very much.