It’s a part of life; there must be rain for things to grow. That’s what part of me reminds me with hesitant optimism. Still, it is hard for the emotional part of me to let me wrap reason around the fact that a dear long lived pet is now dying.
Mau Tin announced his adoption of us over some 21-years ago when he approached my wife and me on wobbly thin legs and meowed in the fashion that became his name. After that we called him Mau. We couldn’t believe such a loud voice could come from such a tiny Siamese. He took right to my wife and from that day forward claimed any lap, regardless of who it was, as his curling place.
I say curl but Mau had more of a sprawled state of relaxation when he settled on you. We always wondered how he could be content when he looked to be in such an uncomfortable display. Still, his loud purr assured us that all was well and the lap or arm he descended upon was destined to fall asleep while he claimed it.
His distinctive meow and loud purr helped compensate for his lack of agility. You see Mau was uncoordinated, though he managed to cover it well. I recall watching him stretch on a coach pillow, knowing the way he was moving, he was bound to roll off. Sure enough, he fell off the coach and landing with all four paws on the floor. He stood there for a second and slowly glanced about as if to see if anyone had noticed his fall. Seemingly satisfied, he then strutted away to another resting spot.
The next most important thing to Mau, besides a warm lap to lie on, was a warm spot with sunlight. We could track Mau’s location and the time sometimes during a day by the various locations around the house he could find a spot of sunlight. Oh, how he loved to be warm. He would even curl up with our other cat, Saxon. The two of them were buddies but our new dog, Indy only liked to harass him. Mau did his best to try and ignore Indy. Mau had served as surrogate parent to all of the cats our daughters had while they were at home.
When winter arrived and the days grew colder, Mau would sit in front of the fire place telling us it was time to start a fire. He would sit there until the fire was lit and then try to get as close to the warmth as he could. We had to remove the pillow he lay on in this fashion when we discovered it had gotten singed from how close he would lay. It was amazing we didn’t end up with Flaming Mau. I put a screen with two layers of mesh curtains in front of the fire place to keep Mau from burning himself. Still, sometimes he would force his nose through to make sure the fire was warm enough for him. He’d lay there sprawled out in front of the fire and roll over when one side got too hot for him.
The arrival of spring meant there was no longer a fire in the fire place so Mau would go back to seeking out sun spots through out the house. Often, he would sit in front of the French doors to our screened in back porch to inform us he was supposed to be out there. Once we realized our oversight, we’d open a door and Mau would find himself perched in a chair bathed in sunshine or on the floor pavers.
Mau spent his whole life inside. He’d sit on window sills and watch the world go by. A hassock in our bedroom was a special favorite. Not that it was in the sun but because it offered Mau a view out the window to the bird feeder on the front porch. Mau would sit there riveted to the movements of birds while he sat on the hassock. When he wasn’t at the window or in his sun spots, Mau would be sleeping on our big four-poster bed.
We knew when it was time to turn in because Mau would start his loud call to us. When we figured out what he was telling us, he would stop and jump up onto the bed and wait to see who would be the first one he’d get to curl up next too. In winter, he would burrow with his nose under the blankets until he could get in underneath and lay with his nose poking out and start his purring.
Mau’s purr purr as we called it always told us he was a peace and content with the world. We loved him dearly. Like all things in this world we knew his time would be for but a time but we somehow hoped Mau would live forever. When the days arrived where he no longer could climb the stairs to join us upstairs in someone’s’ lap while we watched television, we began to see the day was coming. We managed to pass those days and accepted it when Mau no longer stayed in the house but lay all day on the screened in porch. The season was coming and we tried to cherish each remaining moment we still had with him.
Robin would gently cradle Mau in her arms and bring upstairs with us at night. During the day I would visit him where he lay on the porch or bring him up into my study so he could purr in my lap while I worked at my desk. But that was then and this is now. I now sit typing this without the reassuring purring of Mau in my lap. The rain has stopped and the sun has come out once again. Maybe it’s a kind reminder to us all of the endless seasons and the importance of love and life. Somehow, that sunlight holds a warm promise to me, even though I know what is to come.
In mere hours we will cuddle him up into our arms one last time. Robin will whisper to him how much she loves him and I know Mau will purr one more time for her. Then, we will both promise our Mau Tin that we will wait to see him again on the other side of Rainbow Bridge.