They say that cats have nine lives. If that is true (and I have no reason to doubt it) then every one of Maxie Baldwin's lives will have been a blissfully happy one. Yesterday,
the Baldwin Family aka the Youngest of the Darling Daughters, Jack, Hazel and their Dad had to say a painful goodbye to The Best of Cats.
I remember the day 18
years ago when Maxie and his twin brother, Mills, came to live in the Baldwin household. They came courtesy of the Worthing Cats Protection League whose officers had insisted on interviewing the Youngest of the Darling Daughters and her fella
and inspecting their home (and the safety of its location) in minutest detail - before declaring that they were fit to be parents to two adorable bundles of fur. The kittens hurtled round the house, enjoyed numerous friendly, fraternal fights -
and cuddled up together every night, dreaming (we could only presume) of the next day's mayhem and mischief.
Those were the days before Jack and Hazel were born - but if we worried that the birth
of two rumbustious kids might faze the growing kittens, well we needn't have concerned ourselves. The cats adored the kids; the kids adored the cats. Period.
Mills was a Cat Who Walked By Himself
but Maxie was the sociable type. He bore a certain resemblance to the cartoon cat who advertises Felix cat food on the TV (see the photo illustrating today's blog) and he was just as playful in his early days. He gracefully accepted the attention
of his young owners, even when this meant, on occasions, being dressed up in various of Hazel's woolly hats. As cats go, he had style.
Mills, sadly, died some years ago and lies buried in the
front garden, just under the window where he used to perch to check out what was going on in the neighbourhood. Maxie, however, continued to thrive, to seek out the most comfortable bed on which to curl up, and to choose whose lap to favour when
the family sat down to watch TV in the evening. I always felt truly honoured if he chose my lap - he would circle around, testing out how soft, how scratchy, how warm my lap felt, before either deigning to join me or setting off in search of some other,
warmer, softer, less scratchy lap.
Years passed and Maxie became a Grand Old Man. His legs didn't work as well, he preferred to stay in at nights, he enjoyed the simpler pleasures of life, like
a warm duvet, the warmth of the sun in the conservatory - and prawns for tea. As old age goes, it was pretty idyllic.
For reasons too complicated to go into here,
I once "liked" the Mid-Warwickshire Cats Protection League on Facebook. This means that every day I receive posts with photographs of appealing-looking cats in search of what the MWCPL likes to call their "forever home." One cat particularly
caught my attention because its name was Brian - which happens to be Mr B's name. Brian is apparently a "gorgeous young ginger male" who is playful and friendly and enjoys playing with dogs. Though deserted on a vet's doorstep, he
has, and I quote, "not harboured any grudges against humans." I am not sure Mr B would have been so forgiving...
Nevertheless I do hope
Brian the Cat finds a "forever home" as Maxie did. I hope he is loved as dearly, played with as much and cuddled as often. And I hope when Brian becomes a Grand Old Man of 18 that he is looked
after as lovingly in his old age as dear Maxie was. No cat was ever better loved - or more tenderly cared for in his later years.
Baldwin - the Best of Cats.