The surrealist artist Max Ernst inspired us to name our Max. I saw Max in the window at The Cat Vet. When I got home I told Betsy she must go over and see the beautiful red boy in the Cat Vet’s window. Although we never once discussed adopting Max, it just seemed to be understood that he’d be coming to live with us. And he did.
Despite his inability to get along with Nora, he is an absolute sweetheart. Without a doubt he is the most kissey of all our cats. And he loves to play as much now at over 9 years old as he did as a kitten – perhaps even more. He also loves to be played with roughly. I’m not kidding. What he seems to like best is to rolled around on the bed and have his belly fur roughed up with your hand. I’ve never heard a cat purr so loudly, and when you start to pull your hand away, he immediately grabs it with both paws and pulls it back for more petting, smothering your hand with kisses at the same time.
He’s also the first to let me know if the food bowls need filling, usually by pawing at my hand as I sleep until I awake, stumble down the stairs and refill the bowls. He likes to sleep on my pillow, too. In fact, I sometimes have to push him over to find room to lay my own head.
He adored our cat, Miro, who died sometime ago. Max was devoted to him, followed him from room to room, and slept curled up next to him. It may have something to do with Miro taking Max under his wing, so to speak, when Max was a new kitten. You see, Max had what they call an umbilical hernia when we adopted him and it required surgery to correct. When we brought him home after the operation, Miro licked his stitches and stayed very close to him. I guess Max just returned the favor as Miro grew older and had health problems of his own.
When we had to have Miro put to sleep, we took Max with us to the vet and he laid next to Miro as he died. Max then sniffed him a couple of times and then walked back to us. He got to say his goodbyes, and I believe his being there with Miro helped him accept Miro’s absence once we returned home. We did this because Max had had a very tough time when another of our cats, with whom he was also very close, had died a couple of years earlier. For weeks he would walk from room to room crying and looking for her (Chloe), and he even started sleeping in all her favorite spots. It was obvious that he didn’t understand why she suddenly disappeared. But being with Miro in those final moments made all the difference in the world.
Max has now become attached to the newest members of our family, Jenny and Ellie, giving them baths whenever they are close enough to do so. All this, and he still doesn’t get along with Nora. Cats are such fascinating animals.