REMEMBERING MAO – A CAT

Jeff and I got Mao as an 8-week-old kitten in the fall of 1965. We had just gotten married the month before, and of course we had to have a cat right away. Why a Siamese? I don’t know. Maybe it was just Karma.

Mao traditional-siamese sealpoint

From the very first day, Mao was Master of All He Surveyed. Although I have had many cats through the years, Mao was the first and by far the most utterly unique.

He was very smart for a cat. For instance, when we were out-of-town, we would have someone “house-sit” for us. No matter who that person was, and no matter how much Mao ordinarily liked them, while we were away, Mao would attack him or her (or them) virtually continuously during our absence. He would hide behind the bushes and attack legs as they tried to open the front door. He would wait around the corner, and then pounce. He would launch himself from atop the bookcase, landing on a victim’s head, sometimes causing serious damage.

The moment we returned, Mao ceased his attacks and commenced purring. He figured, I believe, that he needed to drive out the interlopers so that we could return. Since we always DID return, his belief was consistently reinforced!

Mao protected us from bed goblins. If you were on Mao’s “family member” list, he would stop by your bedroom every night. You had to lift the covers so he could walk to the foot of the bed and back up. No goblins tonight? Good, I will go now, and he did.

Mao was the only cat I’ve ever known that perpetrated acts of vengeance hours or days after your perceived offense. If, for example, you shooed him off the table during dinner time, he would wait until you were sitting on the potty with your pants around your ankles and could not chase him. Then he would casually bite your shins. Tail held high, he would stroll away.

Mao patrolled the perimeter of the grounds like any good watch cat should. Every day of his life, he performed it, almost as if it were a ceremony. During his closing weeks with us, he began to patrol in the company of a younger feline, Mr. Manx. As if passing the torch to the next generation, he taught Mr. Manx to walk the perimeter, and inspect the beds, which Mr. Manx then did for the rest of his life.

In October 1978, Mao, who had been diagnosed with cancer some months before, disappeared. We never found his body, though we were sure he had gone off to die. For the last couple of weeks before his departure, we had noticed that he felt different. Where his muscles had been hard, they were now soft. He slept most of the day and moved slowly.

It is many years and lifetimes later. Jeff has passed. I live far from that place where Jeff and I and Mao and all the other fur-people lived. But I remember him. We all remember Mao, the most special cat.

Mao, I am sure you were there for Jeff when he came to the Bridge. I’m sure you will be there for me, too. You and all my other furry friends who I loved will be there together.

But you were and will always be, utterly unique and entirely unforgettable.



Categories: Anecdote, Animals, Cats, Pets

Tags: , , , , ,

18 replies

  1. A lump in my throat, Marilyn. You put it there. Beautiful tribute to Mao.

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  2. Beautiful post Marilyn. How does that saying go – thousands of years ago the Egyptians worshiped cats as gods, and they have never forgotten it. I think that Siamese cats look like those cat gods from the ancient times. My grandmother had a Siamese cat with different coloured eyes – it was called Oddeyes funnily enough. I have some lovely memories of her too.

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  3. An emotional tribute to Mao. You will certainly miss him. RIP Mao.

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  4. RIP to Mao. A very special presence it seems to have him in your life.

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  5. Mao, unlike Pete Rose, is in the Hall of Fame. And, deservedly so. I hear Mao hangs out with Ty Cobb. You could look it up.

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  6. One day there will be a big reunion at the bridge for me too. I am getting trained by two feral cats since a year (long story). Cats are fascinating, independent, proud little creatures…they puzzle me. Mao was a beautiful cat.

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    • After a certain point in life, there ought to be a huge crowd at the bridge. Throngs. Dozens of cats, dogs, birds, ferrets … and too many people.

      Mao was our First Cat and his name was Mao E, which means Cat #1 in Chinese. Seemed appropriate.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a lovely homage to Mao. Such a handsome boy. Siamese are so wise and intelligent cats, amazing to be around. RIP Mao. ❀

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  8. I remember Mao and just ran across a picture of him in a portfolio the other day. One of my most memorable cats was also a siamese I named Pung Chow. He was about to be thrown out, on his own, by my wife’s niece because he was such a trouble maker. He was only a kitten and I took him in.., the trouble ceased completely. I never found out what his problem was, and didn’t much care.., he was special and we loved each other until his demise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are great cats. One of our Siamese was also named Pung Chow. Those are Mah Jong terms, so I bet there are a lot of Siamese with that name. I miss cats, but I can’t keep them safe around here.

      I’m going to start checking the prices for airfares to Phoenix. This is ridiculous. I was also thinking about driving. Sounds weird, but there’s a lot of America we’ve never seen. Maybe it’s time to see it. Rent a small RV. See some of it while we still can. What do you think?

      Like

  9. Beautiful memories about Mao. He was very beautiful. Siamese cats should be the most intelligent and spiritual cats at all. I have had one as kid, she was half Siamese and few years ago I lost my white Siamese to cancer, he became 5 years old. Both were very intelligent.

    Liked by 1 person

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