I spent the weekend at Lollapalooza in Chicago, so had been planning a pretty epic post about that. And maybe I'll still write it. But not right now.
Because when I got back to Michigan yesterday, I received some terrible news. My mom picked my friend Toni & me up from the train station, and of course, the first words out of my mouth were, "How's Mac?" Just a few hours earlier, I'd updated my Facebook status with, "I'm on a train now, headed toward home. Although I would have liked to spend more time in Chicago, I'm very excited about reuniting with my cat."
My mom told me that she knew I'd ask about Mac, and then said that she'd been dreading me doing so. She pointed to a box of tissues by my feet and told me that Mac had died over the weekend.
Although I knew she'd never joke about something like that, I spent a few moments in the "Are you fucking serious?" stage. And once it sunk in that it had really happened, I cried for what felt like ages. I felt guilty for not having been there when he died, of course. And the night before we'd left for the train station, Toni and I had camped out in my basement, watching Bette Davis movies on TCM. So Mac hadn't slept in my bed with me like he usually does. It had crossed my mind to go upstairs, find him, and make him join me on the couch. But I didn't.
So it helps to know that he didn't suffer. My dad found him dead near his litterbox on Sunday morning. It actually looks like he had a heart attack after taking a huge shit. Last night Toni said, "Your cat was a badass. He died like Elvis."
We've actually long suspected that Mac had a bad heart. His breathing has always been noticeably labored. And he lost a lot of weight over the past few months. We took him to the vet back in June, but he found nothing wrong with Mac, and just said that he was underweight and dehydrated (weird, given that Mac has an impressive appetite). But we took the vet's advice and put him on a high-calorie diet of super delicious kitten food that Mac loved.
He was always a very enthusiastic eater, just like me. :)
Waking up this morning was hard, not only because Mac usually sleeps with me at night, but also because I usually feed him first thing in the morning. I'm one of those people whose glasses live on her face unless I'm asleep or in the shower. So Mac knew not to bother me if my glasses were off. But the moment I took them from the nightstand and put them on my face, he'd start begging for food. Loudly.
He was very vocal. When I moved to Saginaw, I took him with me. And he'd howl in protest all the way up and down the I-75. For a guy with a bad heart, he sure had great lungs.
And he charmed my friends with them. Talked politics with people who came to my apartment. At one point, my friend Tracy said, "Dude, you're going to hate this, but I'm pretty sure that your cat is a Republican." She had a number of solid reasons for this, but my favorite was that he was an old man from Grosse Pointe.
Political disagreements aside, he loved Tracy's cooking. And everyone's cooking, for that matter. As I said, he was as enthusiastic about food as I am. My mom told me that he devoured some leftovers from Olive Garden with her the night before he died. I'm glad that he had a great last meal.
I've had many pets throughout my lifetime, and losing them isn't new to me. My dog Wylee died last year. My cats Poe and Smokey both died while I was in high school. And I've also buried two hamsters.
But Mac was my favorite. And I guess that's just because he decided that I was his favorite human, and was loyal to me even during the two years I spent living on campus at SVSU and couldn't have him with me.
I even had my senior photos taken with him when I graduated from high school. And he had his own Facebook page ("Mac the Feline," just in case you'd like to check it out).
People keep telling me that I'm handing this really well. I don't know about that, really. I'm a mess. But even though I wasn't here when Mac died, I know that he was well cared for. My parents and sister had a tendency to spoil him with affection whenever I wasn't home.
And everyone else knows how much I loved him (see the part about the senior picture and Facebook page), and has been really good to me, too. It helps to know that despite how obnoxious I've been about how much I love my cat, people seem to accept the fact that I'm a giant cat lady. Mac was kind of the center of my universe.
RIP, Stinky Head. That was kind of a dick move you made, leaving without giving me a chance to say goodbye. But you made up for it by being awesome in every other way possible, and I just hope that I will someday meet a cat who is as wonderful as you were.