Ask Max Monday: There is Love…

Ask Max Monday

Max, how will you be preparing for Valentines Day? If not you, will the staff be setting out their stall for each other or do they just, like, ignore and carry on regardless? What would your tips be for the best gifts a Cool Cat like yourself could get or give on this strange day….. and given the opportunity what would you give to The Dr?

Since I don’t have a girlfriend or boyfriend, I don’t really do anything for Valentine’s Day. And since this year it’s on a Friday and the Man has to work, I’m pretty sure the people aren’t planning anything. Not that they ever really do. They both have an aversion to going out when it’s super peopley outside, and it’s gonna be crowded everywhere. Nothing says “I dig you” like spending the day crammed in with 500 other people.

The best thing for a guy like me? Real Live Fresh Dead Shrimps. And I think I’m getting some. Not because the Woman loves me like that, but because she likes to make me happy. I’m pretty sure I’ll get some. And really, what cat wouldn’t want that? Aside from also getting steak. I’ll probably get that, too.

And if I could give the Doctor anything? That’s easy. Jammie Dodgers and Jelly Babies. She digs those. Or at least she did when she was a man. And a new fez. She’ll always like a new fez.

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Hey, Max. I hope you have some words of wisdom for me. My guy is almost 20 and will be going to the bridge soon—I’m okay with that because he’s had a good life and it’s time. His kidneys are failing and he doesn’t want to eat or drink anymore, so I suspect that when I take him for his vet appointment on Tuesday, that will be it. He’s been the cat of my heart; I’ve had a couple others, even when I had him, and I loved them, but he’s THAT cat.

My friends know this. They know how I feel about him, and I have told them more than once that when he’s gone, that’s it. I don’t want another pet, not for a long time. I know my heart will need to heal. But a couple of them keep saying things like “Oh, you’ll do better if you get another cat” and “You’re not the kind of person who can live without a pet.” I am really afraid that they’re going to gift me with a cat when he’s gone. And while I love animals, this would wind up being an unwanted pet.

What do I do? They aren’t hearing me. I’m already mourning and he’s still here, and it will be worse when I have to say goodbye.

Dood. I am so, so sorry. Partly because you have to say goodbye to your heart-cat soon, but mostly because I have an idea how hard it’s going to be. You can still mourn deeply while also being all right with the idea that it’s time; those things aren’t opposite emotions. I’m pretty sure that when my time rolls around, the Woman will be broken, but happy that she had me for as long as she did. She’ll miss me but be grateful that I went before life became an unwelcome burden for me.

The time to stress to your friends that a new pet is not in your immediate future is now. Make a Facebook post if you have to; let the world know that your guy is facing his last days, and while you appreciate everyone’s good wishes, you absolutely do not want, and will not tolerate, the responsibility of another animal. Not yet.

Ask them to respect your grief, and if you have to, warn them that crossing that line will come with repercussions. You’re well within the scope of understanding if you have to cut someone out of your life if they refuse to respect that.

It sounds harsh, but no moreso than someone who hears you say you can’t handle another pet yet while they fully intend to burden you with that responsibility.

I know the Woman has made a similar declaration: after Buddah and I are gone, no more pets. And she’s been met with hostile responses, as if she’s somehow offended the world by needing that time. Words are flung in her direction, there will always be a cat in MY house and anyone who has room for a cat should make a home for one who needs one, but those things are, intentionally or not, a bit cruel.

Not everyone should fill the cat-shaped hole in their heart with another. Some people need time. Some people know, without a doubt, that it will be years before they’re ready. And some understand that they’re done. They’ve been caring for animals all their lives and just need to BE. Anyone who’s been tied down for a long time by a sick and elderly pet should be able to understand why someone else might want a break from that.

If your friends aren’t even trying to understand, they’re not really your friends.

Tell them straight up, no more. No surprises. Anyone who shows up with a little kitty gift will be asked to leave and they damn well better plan on caring for that pet themselves.

You have every right to deal with your grief your own way. You don’t need to be gentle about it; be firm. Only you get to decide when and if you’ll be ready to have another pet.

And again, I am so sorry.

Honestly, if we could spare our people the pain, we would. I know your guy would do anything he could to make it easy, but the fact that he can’t…that’s love. And he feels that. It takes a lot of love to be able to let go.

= = =

Got a question? Drop me a line at or leave it in the comments here.

4 thoughts on “Ask Max Monday: There is Love…

  1. Max, thank you for a profoundly excellent answer to anyone whose “friends” are not paying attention when they say, no more pets right now.

  2. I lost a soul mate kitty myself several years ago, and the missing of him has never stopped. I know there will never be another pet who touches my heart like that, and if it weren’t for other animals in our home, we would have been pet free for a long time. No one can tell you how to feel. Make this clear to your friends. You need time, maybe forever. If you crave a kitty fix, there are places you can do that. If you dont, that’s ok too.

    Please know I’m profoundly sorry for your circumstances, and I know how grief-stricken you will be. But do let your memories help to keep you warm at night, and make you smile now and then. If you can eventually do that, it will make your little guy so very happy. He will live in your heart forever!

  3. It is difficult to deal with loss no matter what! But if someone told me that I “needed” to get a new pet at that time, I would show them to the door and tell them not to let the door hit them in the ass! Max is so correct! Make sure they know the consequences of what they do. I also want to say how very very difficult it is to have to do the “right thing”. We have gone through that and it will be heartbreaking but just know all of us are with you in heart and we have been down that path. My deepest and most sincere thought is I am so very sorry. Your kitty will be at the Bridge to meet you when it’s your turn and what joy that will be!

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