The day I’ve been dreading for the last several years has finally arrived. This morning, my beloved cat named Meyer Malone, died. He’s gone. My heart is broken.
Meyer was frankly the best cat in the world. He was spoilt rotten, mischevious, adorable, regal, demanding and my little boy. He was 17 years old and had a full life filled with love. He certainly received more kisses than my husband does!
Meyer came into our lives six months after my mother passed away in 1999. I don’t know if adopting him was a coping mechanism for my grief or a planned addition to our family, as we all ready had a cat named Molly Malone. Regardless of the circumstances, we adopted another tiny white kitten who had the same mother as Molly, but was a year younger. We called him her ‘Mini Me’ and named him Meyer.
People often ask us how we came up with the name Meyer, but anyone who is familiar with John D MacDonald’s Travis McGee novels should recognize it. Like his namesake, he became a legend.
Meyer had a large personality and a million nicknames. My favorite one for him was Boo, but he also answered to Short Stack, Little B and for unknown reasons Marvin. Meyer lived with his sister Molly until she suddenly passed away on Boxing Day.
Molly’s death was a surprise. She was in good health and was only six when she died. We found her curled up near the Christmas tree. Our vet said she must have had a heart condition that was undiagnosed and likely died in her sleep.
When she died, I was worried about Meyer. He had never been an only cat before and was only five years old. We didn’t know how to handle our own grief, let along his, and ended up adopting another adult female cat in February.
I will never forgive myself for how I introduced Meyer to the new cat we named Maggie. We thought a face to face introduction would be best but I didn’t anticipate Meyer mistaking Maggie for Molly. He saw a large fluffy white cat in front of him and happily trotted over to her, probably to say ‘Where have you been?’ However, at the last moment, he realized Maggie was not Molly and ran away and hid. It was the first time he broke my heart.
Maggie and Meyer eventually worked things out and became brother and sister. They endured two moves together and even though Meyer never snuggled with Maggie like he did with Molly, they would sleep near each other and sometimes even touch each other whilst sleeping.
Maggie was a beautiful long haired white cat with gorgeous green eyes. We think she was seven when we adopted her and she lived with him until she, too, suddenly died at home in 2013, following an infection. Once again, Meyer lost a sister and once again he was an only cat.
This time, Chuck and I thought long and hard about adopting another cat. Meyer was 14 years old and even though he still acted like a kitten at times, we weren’t sure if he could handle a kitten. We sensed he was lonely but we couldn’t tell if he was happy. In the end we decided to keep our hearts open and if another cat found us, we would consider adopting it. But I was adamant that I would not adopt another white male cat. Meyer was an original and I thought having a Mini Me of him would be disrespectful to his uniqueness. My husband was just as adamant that we would only have white cats. So we agreed that if we adopted another white cat, it would be a She.
A few months passed and we found ourselves at a local shelter. Chuck was looking at and older male white cat (that I already decided we wouldn’t adopt because he was a He and was White and was Older than Dirt). Thankfully, someone had already adopted the elder gentleman but just hadn’t taken him to his new home. Chuck was ready to leave when I spied a white cat with grey markings on its forehead. Closer inspection revealed the cat as a five year old He with the unfortunate name of Snowflake.
Chuck asked if I wanted to adopt Snowflake but not before pointing out that he was a He and was White. I said, no he’s Grey and he’s coming home with us. On the way home, we renamed him Travis McGee and to this day, I still refer to him as our Grey Cat.
This time, we kept the cats separate for several days and when they finally met each other, Meyer wasn’t impressed. But he was willing to share the house because he was the Best Cat in the World.
Travis and Meyer were hilarious together. Meyer was a small cat and when Travis realized that he had a forever home with food whenever he wanted it, he gained weight. So much weight that I gave him the nickname Lumpy. Meyer and Lumpy would fight at times but I think they generally liked each other. They had a very full three years together until today.
Meyer is gone. My sweet little boy passed away this morning with me and Chuck comforting him. He just turned 17 and this year we noticed that he was developing blindness and deafness. In the last couple of weeks, he lost a lot of weight and was becoming wobbly on his legs. In the end, he couldn’t support himself. I hope he didn’t suffer too much. I hope he realized how much he was loved.
Meyer was my constant companion for 17 years. I realized today that our relationship was the second longest continuous relationship I’ve had besides my relationship with Chuck (sorry, Dad and Bob – father and brother relationships don’t count). Sure, I’ve known people longer than I’ve had Meyer, but I saw him every day of his life. Our longest separation was when I moved ahead down to Nashville, and that was only for three weeks.
We had so much fun together. Almost every morning I asked him why he never learned how to make coffee and he was always willing to taste my food, especially if it was dessert. He didn’t really like traditional cat treats and preferred potato chips instead. He didn’t mind water and would often let his tail dip into my bath water while he balanced on the tub edge. He loved watching hockey and baseball and Modern Family. He even licensed out his name to Chuck when Chuck started Malone Entertainment back in Buffalo. Until about last year, he would always greet us at the door when we came home. The past few months, he always seemed happy to see us when we came home, even if it meant our entrance woke him up.
He had an adventurous life for an indoor cat. I remember the time he got stuck under the stairs, the time he got stuck behind a server, the time he caught a mouse only to let it escape inside our townhouse. The times he would climb up on top of the bookcases (which was forbidden, by the way) to sit next to Buddha. The times he would sit by me whilst I read and the times he walked over the keyboard whilst I wrote. He lived in NC, NY and TN two separate times. He tolerated trips in his carrier only if he could sing along to the radio. He loved boxes and laying on top of Wegmans shopping bags. Oh, and he jumped on Luke Bryan’s lap the first time he met him which surprised everyone because Meyer usually took time to warm up to men.
I believe that Meyer is now playing with his sisters in Heaven while my Mom and Chuck’s Mom share a pot of tea. In a few days, he’ll join his sisters on the Cat Shelf and will permanently sit between Molly and Buddha. In the meantime, Lumpy will be getting extra hugs and kisses, which I’m sure overjoys him.
Our home and lives are a little bit emptier now. The Malone era is over. Lumpy will be an only cat for the time being and we have no idea what to expect with that. We likely will eventually adopt another cat because we’ve always had two ever since 1998. But not a He. And not a solid white cat. Meyer was one of a kind.
I love you, my sweet boy. Thank you for a wonderful 17 years. I hope you enjoyed your time with me as much as I’ve enjoyed my time with you.