Max the Good

Max in the summer greenery.

It is with great sadness that I write today about the passing of our dear one Max.

In remembrance …

Max Smith (Summer 2005 to February 2020) came to the Smith family in late summer of 2005. He was born to a family on Franklin Street in Bound Brook who were relatives to Ian’s Cub Scout leader. Max was part of a litter born in a garage with his mother using the lawn mower bag as bedding. He was about 8 weeks old when entering the household. His first event with the family was de-fleeing in the downstairs bathroom. The family all squeezed into the small bathroom while Max was doused with flee remedy and water in the sink – the fleas seemed bigger than him. Here he showed to Mom the goodness within by accepting the cleansing without complaint. Mom suggested the name Gabriel as he was an angel from the start. The name Max was the family’s choice after being suggested by Ian.

Also part of the family at this time was Ginger. She was companion to Max for many years, giving him moments of playtime in the garden and perhaps a few minutes when they both had cabin fever when stuck inside during long snow storm events. The goodness of Max showed through in his relationship with Ginny. Max was a lover of food and Ginny more finicky. When they had a food that Ginny loved she would eat her’ fast and then move right under Max’s nose into his plate. He would accept this. He might be rewarded with getting a quick opportunity to lick her head and then he would move off to wait to see what scraps were left.

Max had a special relationship with his human family. Ian was his playtime buddy. Hours could pass with them spending time together. Alex’s loving attention was restorative for Max making his giving in to Ginny easier as well as keeping his Good showing. Mom cared for Max with keeping his daily routine of feeding and going out as he liked it with the planning of good carers when she was away and also nursing him through some severe illnesses. Times with Dad were always special; they were both great fish connoisseurs and, relaxing on the couch together after a long days work was bliss.

Christmas 2010

Max was wonderful at all the best things of cat-dom: playing, cuddles, greetings when coming home, attention to visitors, and guarding the yard. Mom is happy to report he was never troublesome with the negative cat traits of climbing, peeing around the house, or clawing the furniture. He seemed to know instinctively which carpet would not show the claw marks and, when young, he took quickly to his cat condo/scratching post. Max had a short period of rebellion during one long winter of cabin fever. He was caught on a few evenings after dinner of walking on the counter as well as sitting in the sink licking dirty dishes. But, this behavior pattern didn’t stay with him as spring came, as it does, and time was better spent out in the garden with the plants.

Max also had periods, when fit and in good health, that he thought himself alpha cat of the neighborhood. He would fight with cats that came into his garden and then end up at the vet with an infection. Mom would say to the vet, “when he is overweight he lays around and gets sick, when he is fit he fights and gets sick.” On one occasion Mom ran outside when hearing a cat fight to see Max yelling with another male cat who looked older with a saggy belly. As she broke up the fight she laughed yelling at them both, “break it up, you’re both just lazy house cats!”

Mom’s best memories are with Max outside in the garden. He was a great companion in the spring when beds needed to be cleared out. He would want a few minutes of play with some long grass but was then happy to rest nearby being glad to have his family outside with him. It was always a joyful reunion on the driveway when Max greeted Mom when she came home from work although he tended to get a bit too close to the car at times. It would be scary though at night for Mom and Dad, to pull into the driveway and suddenly recognize their dear black cat was lying in the driveway waiting for them.

Max was buried in the garden joining those who have pre-deceased him:

  • Mel Gibson “Mad Max” Smith, Mel the Beloved (1989 – 2000)
  • Sherry Darling Bates Smith, Sherry the Timid (1984-2003)
  • Arnold Swartzenegger Smith, Arnie the Zen Master (1992-2005)
  • CoCo the Cookoo (a stray who came for a short time)
  • Ginger Smith, Ginny the Elusive Beauty  (2003 – March 2019) (always in Mommy’s heart)

Plus many rodents and birds that some of these named may have contributed to the demise of.

Max’s memory will be held in the minds of as well as felt in the hearts of Peter, his human Dad, Tricia, his human Mom, his older human brothers Alex and Ian, and his mentee, 10 month old Earl Gray Smith who will unfortunately not receive the benefit of Max’s outdoor training.

Max and Earl. Nov. 2019.

Condolences are being received by extended family and friends who had the benefit of meeting Max when visiting the Smith home as Max was receptive to visitors. He made the closest connections with those who joined the family for a meal at the dining room table, who then might have felt a nudge of a cat paw on the leg or seen Max take his place in an empty chair.

Miss you Max.

Alex and Ginny 2010
Max and Ginny, a summer evening, 2013.
New friends, Max and Earl, Oct. 2019.
Arnie in the cat house on the deck, 2004.
Portrait of Mellie painted by George Bates Sr.

(From the spirit side, Ginny reports that Max has made his crossing joining our beloved human and pet family on the other side. He is quiet just now. A lovely garden awaits him that is tended by Aunt Donna. His pussy cat family has the welcoming on hold until he is ready to party!)

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