Maggie: Sometime in the fall of 2000-9/23/09.
We never intended to keep her. In the fall of 2001, Eric's parents went on a vacation for a week or two and needed a cat sitter. They came home, and she just stayed with us. At first, I struggled with liking her. I had recently said good-bye to my childhood cat, Joy, who was a dainty, princess-like creature who had been a part of my life for sixteen of my twenty-two years. Maggie was a fat, lumbering, snappy kitty who didn't seem to want to get close to anyone. She'd had a hard year of life behind her already (due to illness and the affections of a particularly obloquious toddler of the previous owners before Eric's parents), and it took a while for her to warm up to a human relationship. But we loved her through it, and eventually, I even came to like her.
She was extremely independent in spirit, all the while being terribly dependent upon us for her care. We loved her through an eating disorder, issues with bladder sands, a liver infection that almost killed her in 2005, and finally an infected abdominal cyst that would ultimately mark the end of her life.
When we found the cyst earlier this summer and received the dire prognosis from the vet, we decided to make her as comfortable as possible and let her enjoy the summer. Since we had recently fenced in our backyard, she was allowed to roam freely while basking in the sun, chasing (and even catching!) chipmunks, and arguing with contentious squirrels. One such squirrel really hated her. Anytime she would walk outside and he was around, he would climb to a high point above her and chatter at her incessantly, even resorting to throwing acorns at her at times. Sometimes she would chase him, sometimes she'd chirp back, but mostly she would just ignore him and walk around the yard as if to let him know who really owned the property.
On the afternoon of her death, she was buried in the northwest corner of our backyard, behind some rose bushes. As she was removed from her box and placed in the ground, that very same squirrel came out of hiding, perched on the fence above her, and began his customary scolding. Maybe he didn't realize she was gone. Maybe he did, and it was his way of saying goodbye. Or maybe he just wanted to get in the last word.
Eric and Ian saying their goodbyes before taking Maggie to the vet. 9/23/09
We'll miss you, Maggie. Rest in peace.