Ask Max Monday: I’m Still Standing…Well, Laying Down, but Still…

Ask Max Monday

First things first: I’m still here. I’m okay. I’m not great, but I’m about as good as a 19 year old dood with bad kidneys and a wonky thyroid can get. My weight is down again; at my highest I was 18 pounds, and now I’m around 9.5, which is a healthy weight for a healthy cat, so we’re under no illusions here. It’s not ideal.

After last Sunday night’s scare and Monday’s so-so kind of day, I bounced back a bit and ate really well—comparatively—for three days. I’ve gotten especially picky and will really only eat Fancy Feast, which is a problem because Buddah shouldn’t have it (he has a sensitive tummy) but if I get it, he refuses to eat the food that’s good for him. So it’s been a balancing act, getting food into me while not making him sick.

On Thursday I saw the stabby lady, who said we were not at the point of The Decision, but she didn’t want to leave the Woman with false hope. I’m old. I’m not well. So we’re taking things one day at a time, and each day has been okay. I’ve gotten excited about fresh steak and special treats; this week when I’ve napped in the closet they’ve brought me chicken from their dinner, and tuna water, and tonight the Man grilled a fresh ribeye just for me, and I damn near squealed when the Woman brought some to me.

And I’m not hiding in the closet all the time; most of my naps (and face it, I sleep a lot) have been in my own room, on one of my sofas, and I’ve given the Woman a little thrill by getting onto the top of the sofa a few times. She worries about me jumping, so this week the Man is going to make boxes of varying heights so I can step up instead of jump (worth noting: she bought me stairs, but I refuse to use them. I’ used to cubes all around the house for ease of access to the big bed and the desk, and they feel like something familiar is something I’ll use.)

But that’s where we are. I’ve had some good days this week, and some okay days. I really hope I have a lot more to look forward to, but it’s okay if that doesn’t happen.

If it feels like I’m saying goodbye…I’m not, not yet. I have high hopes that I’ll be answering questions next week and the week after that, but I don’t want to wait for the important things. And straight up, I want you to know, I love you guys. Between my blog and Facebook and Ask Max, all the interesting and amusing and thought-provoking things we’ve talked about, you’ve made my life extra interesting. It’s a very, very good life.

So, thank you. I love you guys lots.

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My question, should you have time amongst the many, is: If through all you have learned, the folks you have met, the questions you have fielded and answered and parried away, there is or are, say, twenty things you would share, what would they be?
Purrs and healing blessings
ERin & Mrs Hudson

I’m not sure I can condense it all down to 20 things. I’ve learned so much on this amazing ride that putting it all together is almost overwhelming. But I can tell you that the most important lessons and details are very simple.

Most people are good, and they try to be kind, even when they’re not sure they’re doing the right thing.

People are more afraid of the unknown than we are, and part of why we’re here is to help lessen that fear and show them the way. They come to grips with their fears by learning to care for us, love us, and when it’s time, letting us go.

I’ve learned that there is nothing wrong and nothing more hopeful that loving someone, whether it’s a person or a cat or—Bast forgive me—a dog. When I was working on a book, I had a character (Hyrum, who has become my favorite) sing a line from a song the Woman remembered from her childhood: Bless the beasts and the children. I couldn’t have him sing more than that because of copyright, but it follows with “For in this world they have no voice, they have no choice.”

People do that for us; they become our voice, and they create our choice and do the best they can, and it’s all born out of love.

If you don’t know the song, look it up. It was done by the Carpenters in the late 60s or early 70s, and it’s beautiful.

And now that I’m sitting here thinking about it, I think all I’ve learned over the years I basically stuffed into Hyrum. Be good, be kind, be patient, and look for the wonder in life. It’s all around us, and it’s beautiful.

Oh, and eat donuts. Because what’s life without donuts?

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Max, my Mom doesn’t trust me to be outside by myself because I have sneaked out of the backyard more than once. She bought me four types of harnesses and I’ve figured my way out of all! A real Houdini I am! This past weekend she bought one that I cannot escape from, so while I’m on a 16 ft lead and can go all over the backyard, I cannot sneak off. Isn’t this illegal to do to cats?! I’m not a dog! Has the Woman ever tried to put you in a harness? How would you escape? Any ideas? Thanks dood! Purrs from Pearl

The Woman has tried a harness on me before, and I hated it. So I stay inside where I feel safe, and where outside introoders can’t get to me. Truth is, I wouldn’t escape. I prefer the inside where my food and my favorite napping places are. Now, the cat who came before me, Dusty, she enjoyed being out on a harness and zip line, but I don’t think she ever escaped. Why would she? All the food is at home!

Stay home and stay safe. Because hunting is gross and outside living is hard.

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Dear Max,

Daily backyard ‘scursions (totally supervised) are wun of my favrit things (besides treats an rubs an sleeps an jumpin’ on my sister). But my backyard time is gettin’ shorter and shorter since my hoomans invited the birds to eat at our house!!! Can yoo beleeve it? My hooman says me an my sister should just enjoy watchin’ dem eat, like “kitty TV”! Instead, I want to pawticipate in a WWW Smackdown wif dem!

Why wood da hooman invite BIRDS to eat at our house??? We is sooposed to be soshally distancing!! (Well, dey are way out in da yard on the other side of the big window, but still, dey are visiting our house by invitation!!) What the ?$&@“‘%#^*+=}{>€£¥???

Mr. Buttons

Dood, I have no idea. My people used to put out food for birds, too, and all it really got them was bird poop all over everything. I’m pretty sure that’s why they stopped feeding them. So. Much. Poop.

They also used to fee a squirrel when we lived in Evil, Ohio. That sucker got FAT. I watched him like TV, too, mostly because he was ginormous and I was jealous.

I’m not sure you want to get involved in aviary smackdown, though. Birds don’t fight fair. Their beaks are sharp and they peck really hard, and if you get a good swipe on one, they just fly away. It’s not worth the energy.

Besides, I’m pretty sure they taste like chicken, and if that’s what you want, send a person to the store to get some real live fresh dead chicken with the feathers already removed. That’s a lot less work and probably won’t have that gamey, oily texture that I am positive outside birds have.

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Hi Max. I am the proud mom and four cat kids. My oldest kitty matriarch is 20 and she is diabetic.  I have had her since she was a kitten.  My next two kids were both rescued cats from the same summer from different litters at different times severn summers ago.  The youngest kitty kid is just over a year old was from a litter born outside of my office window on the campus where I work.  One of the 7-year old kitties was found when he still had his eyes closed and ears folded down and basically imprinted on me.  He greets me at the door like a dog, and is my buddy.  He doesn’t like to be held, but he does like attention.  When my oldest kitty comes around, he will reach out and just smack her with a paw.  He never used to do that, but lately he has a become a total bully to her.  He doesn’t do that to any of the other kitty kids in the house.  What is his problem, Max?  Why has be become so nasty to her?  She can’t even begin to fight back.  She can’t jump up on furniture or run to escape. I feel so sorry for her.  She does nothing to provoke him.  He just lashes out.  Max, what can I do to help my kitties get along better?

Mom of Mira, Bit, Itsy, & Squeakers

Buddah does the same to me, and I think it comes down to the prowess of youth over the diminishment of age. He lashes out at her because he can, and he’s establishing dominance.

What my people did that helps a bit was to put Feliway diffusers all over the house. It curbed Buddah’s drive to pick on me as much, enough that I could get some peace from him. They’ve come really close to separating us, one in the front of the house and one in the back, but it didn’t get quite bad enough so they let it be.

Does the little guy have his own territory? Things that are mostly his? Buddah has his cat tree that I never get on, and he has the top of the bookshelves and the TARDIS in the office. Having space of his own helps.

Mostly, though…he knows she can’t fight back. He knows the others can. I know how she feels, but I’m honestly not sure what else can be done about it. When Buddah chases me or picks on me they stop him; he knows he’s not supposed to. But he also knows he’s stronger than I am and is making sure I know it, too.

That’s a huge downside to getting old. The little chits have no respect. And they won’t get off our lawns.

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If you have questions, leave them in the comments or in email and I’ll get to them next week.

7 thoughts on “Ask Max Monday: I’m Still Standing…Well, Laying Down, but Still…

  1. Max, feeling better, or still standing, amounts to the same thing when you get to a certain age, well at least that’s what Mrs H says, MOL
    Whilst we’re all here, what do you think will be this year’s BIGGEST shocker?
    And I don’t mean if it turns out that D T turns out to be an alien with a bad wig…and the real DT has been locked away in a cell for the last decade…
    Purrs ERin

  2. Oh wise Max, I have a question. What are your favorite Fancy Feast flavors?

    My humans are starting to bring me Fancy Feast offerings instead of the free range artisanal crap they’ve been dragging in since my beloved Nutro Max Cat went away.

    I horked up half a can of some tuna and salmon garbage last night. You’d have been proud of me, Max. Right in the middle of the hallway carpet!

    What flavors of Fancy Feast should I demand? I’ve tried something with chicken guts and it was really good. What are your favs?

    Keep on ticking, Max!


  3. Max, we don’t know how we’d live in a world with you!
    But if you have to go, please know that you were loved deeply and dearly, by your humans and by your fans.
    Terrific advice today; we don’t invite birds into the yard, ’cause The PO’M is out there, and he’d think we were supplementing his usual meals!
    By the way, a neighbor of ours just put up a Tardis as a mini-library in their front yard.

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