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Tribute to Macallan

“If you want a lap cat and a purr machine, then get an orange male cat.”

That was what a vet friend said to us when we were considering getting a second cat to keep Camille company. Later that summer, Macallan was found, a little kitten in the middle of a road, rescued and put into the foster home of that very same vet friend. He hung out with the feral litter that had been found earlier, and in August 1996, we brought him and his foster brother, Duncan, into our home.

Such a tiny thing he was then. And, sure enough, he was a purr machine. Duncan’s purrs were barely audible, but Macallan’s purrs could be heard by everyone. And he always wanted to be up on laps. But he was always so polite. He never just jumped up on someone’s lap. He would position himself and just look up at you, and, with his eyes, ask “Can I come up?” During the last few months of his life, he would never let me sit at my desk without asking to come up and lie on my lap. Not only did he like to lay on laps, he also wanted to touch fur to skin. In bed, he would seek out an arm lying outside the covers, and snuggle up so that fur was touching bare skin. When I was working at my desk, or reading, he would sit on my lap and drape his front paws over an arm. Another favorite spot was on Pete’s outstretched legs.

Macallan was also a very mild mannered cat. Even if he got angry at another cat, he would lift his paw rather halfheartedly and give a mild swipe that never did any harm. He quickly befriended both kittens, Whidbey and Gretel. But Whidbey became his very best snuggle friend. They were quite inseparable.

As a kitten, Macallan didn’t play a lot. And, of course, cat toys seldom interest the cats they were designed for. Instead ordinary household objects can become playthings. A bag of bags could become a fine cat bed.

Bags are such interesting things. A open paper bag, lying on the floor, could hide all sorts of things. So, of course, a cat must investigate. One day, Macallan decided to investigate the bag we had left open in the kitchen, unaware that, in sticking his head in the bag, he had also stuck his head in through one of the handles. When he found nothing of interest in the bag, he tried to back his head out. But it was stuck in the handle. Panicked he skidded across the slippery vinyl kitchen floor, crashing into the wall at the other end, while we, laughing, tried to rescue him.

Ceiling fans held a particular horror for him. He would get very worried whenever we would turn on. We wondered if he had been terrorized by a bird of prey while he was lost in the middle of the road.

In spite of being rescued from the wild outdoors, Macallan still would go outside, though not so much when we moved to Goshen. Illness made him brave again and he was always asking to go outside these past few months, up until the day before he died. He never wandered far, but he enjoyed the grass.

We will miss you little boy. May your gentle spirit always glow.

 

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