When Phil and I first started dating 15 years ago, he was extremely vocal about how badly he wanted a dog. He had always had a dog growing up and he missed that companionship.
So naturally, we got a cat.
When we found Maverick, he had just been brought in to the SPCA with several of his brothers and sisters. He was 3 weeks old. As Phil and I wandered through the cat room, not surprisingly, I gravitated toward the kennel full of teensy, tiny balls of fur. I opened the door to pet one, and those sneaky, little kittens seized the opportunity.
Before I could register what was happening there were kittens running wild all over the room.
I yelled at Phil to close the door and then he started gathering them up. But, like a classic comedy, every time he opened the kennel to put one back, 2 more would escape and he would be back on the chase. As he frantically chased the kittens around the room, however, I never moved a muscle.
While every other member of his clan executed their escape plan, Maverick walked out of the kennel and looked right at me. When I picked him up, he burrowed into my neck and there he stayed, purring loudly the whole time.
He chose me.
We adopted that sweet little boy that night and brought him back to Phil’s house. Phil and I had been dating 4 months and that night, when Maverick moved in, so did I. He was the best cat I could have ever wished for.
I love how when he wanted to snuggle (which was often), he wouldn’t just knead and lay down, he always needed to be touching us. Maverick would reach out and rest his paw on us, often tenderly stroking our faces the same way we would to his.
I love how Maverick was always waiting at the door for us to come home. It didn’t matter if we were gone 5 minutes or 5 days, we would open the door and there he would be, greeting us, happy that we were home.
I love how Maverick could get comfortable anywhere, any time and in any position. Like most cats, he loved to sleep, but I was often amazed at where and how he slept. No matter where he settled, he was just unbearably cute.
I love how, unlike many cats, Maverick actually liked other animals. This sometimes caused him grief when he would try to befriend other cats who wanted nothing to do with him and would, invariably, send him to the vet – my boy, a lover, not a fighter. His best friend growing up was our pup, Maya, even if that love sometimes looked a lot like annoyance.
I love that, like me, Maverick had major shoe fetish. If you came over to our house for a visit, chances are you were leaving with cat hair on your shoes because Maverick would spend the entire time rubbing all over them, often sticking his face right up in them (its possible he loved shoes even more than I do).
I love how open he was with showing us affection.He never played coy or acted aloof, he was all about the loving. And, damn, could he purr! He had the loudest purr, and could keep it up forever (especially if we rubbed his ears). I loved falling asleep with him curled up with us, the sound of his purrs filling the room.
I love how I could talk to him about anything, whether it was a big problem or just random pleasantries. He never really contributed much to the conversation, but he would listen without judgement and look me with those big, loving eyes. Then he’d head butt me. That was the best.
Two weeks ago, I noticed he had a large lump under Maverick’s chin; it was hard and immovable. He couldn’t close his mouth fully and had been drooling for a couple of months (we just looked at the drool as a minor irritant when he would sleep with us and drool on our pillows) but when I felt the lump I figured something was wrong. When we took him to the vet, she confirmed our worst fears – our baby had cancer. Osteosarcoma – aggressive and unpredictable. The tumour was already big, and it was growing rapidly. We wouldn’t have much more time with him.
Mav has been by our sides for almost our entire relationship – for every celebration and every sadness, he was there to offer a cuddle and a purr and to let us know that he loved us no matter what. So the decision to put him down was hard. Like, really super crazy hard. In the end, he died in my arms with Phil beside us – our little family, whole for one last time.
I miss him, more than I thought possible.
He was the best cat I could have ever wished for.