My Other Cat Monty

Posted at: 2012-02-23 04:51
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From before I brought him home, nearly seventeen years ago, I knew he was no ordinary cat. The breeder said when she did the vacuuming, all the other kittens would scatter. But there was Monty riding on top of the cleaner. He was deaf, of course, but I’m pretty sure he was able to hear a bit, above and beyond feeling vibrations through the floor.

Monty looking up

Later, he developed a talent for what I called Late Night Cat Opera. He’d go to the top of the stairs at about 2 AM, and call loudly for about two minutes. Then he’d stop and return to whatever he was doing. This would go on for a few nights in a row, then stop for weeks before starting all over again. He’s very loud, probably because of his deafness, and it was very funny.

Monty exploring the backyard

Most of the time, he’d be The Cat Who Walks By Himself and would be deeply interested in whatever was happening out of the window. Or whatever else was on his agenda. But he also liked quality lap time. Quality lap time was usually pretty intense, with Monty alternately doing happy feet (a.k.a. kneading) on my belly, and licking my fingertips, and occasionally drooling, purring all the while. Oh, how he liked to lick. He wanted to lick my nose but I had to discourage that because he took skin off.

Monty with a treat

His favourite activities were being brushed, particularly around the face and the ruff, and getting his chin scratched. He’d stretch his neck out for almost anyone, even when he’d be shyly hiding from visitors.

Monty as a kitten playing

Everyone who met him said what an unusual personality he had, alternately hiding from visitors to sitting on their laps, to his unusual vocalisations. Plus his distinctive looks – a large, shaggy, white Maine Coon with intense yellow eyes. What little skin showed – nose, lips, ears, paw-pads – was bright pink and many people thought he was a she. He was very gentle and good-natured. He never bit anyone, and while I had received the odd scratch from him, it was never out of malice or bad temper.

Monty hiding

We were very close, Monty and me. That’s why it was so heartbreaking when he suddenly couldn’t walk anymore. He was fine one day, and the next was only able to crawl unsteadily. The vet said it was neurological in origin but couldn’t be more specific. A stroke or clot or embolism or something else were possibilities. And with the hospitalisation required to do everyday things like eat and use the litter box, it became a quality of life decision. So we decided to say good-bye to the little guy.

Monty asleep

Monty had had several health problems in recent years. Besides being deaf, he came down with diabetes at age 15. That’s unusual for an older cat, according to his vet. I administered insulin shots twice a day for a couple of months, then was able to stop when a special food controlled his blood sugar. He disliked being picked up, but it’s easy to sneak up on a deaf cat – a.k.a. Mr. Oblivious – so the shots were never a problem.

Monty in my slipper

Then, a year later, the vet discovered what turned out to be a softball-sized cyst attached to his liver. It was successfully removed, along with other cysts inside his liver, about two months ago. He was recovering nicely when the walking thing happened. So there were problems, but we always worked though them together.

Monty bannister sitting

It seems like only yesterday we was saying goodbye to Maxie, my first cat, and way too soon, we had to say farewell again.

My last photo of Monty

My wife and I visited my little buddy one last time. He was wrapped up in a blanket and had a drip attached to a leg. He was a bit dazed but still stretched out his neck for a scratch under his chin.

We will miss Monty and all his quirks. But he’ll never truly be gone because we will remember him always.

Monty striking a pose