Makani came home with me on June 26th, 2013 when she was 8 ish years old. I had never had cats before and was actually a little scared of them--but I was promised that they (Bubba and Jefrey also joined us) were all very nice so I put together my first cat tree and welcomed them to their new home
All three of these special kitties had FeLV, the feline leukemia virus. I had taken them home as forever fosters from The Lange Foundation as the virus was contagious and they couldn't stay at the shelter with other cats. Thank you Megan for trusting me with them and bringing them into my life.
From the moment I brought Makani home, I could tell why her shelter info card described her as "spirited"! While the other cats cautiously looked around/at me then proceeded to go hide, she immediately wanted to be pet, was purring, let us hold her, and almost escaped from the room I had prepared for them! She was completely unafraid and curious!
It was also clear from the beginning that Makani was the queen of the bunch and she wasn't afraid to show it! Maybe it was how her personality had always been or that she was possibly a stray who had survived on the streets. But regardless, Makani was bad ass, bossy, aggressive, brave, assertive, and didn't think twice to slap one of the other cats if they pissed her off lol.
She was always sweet to me though and any other human she met. She's been the only cat I've ever had who LOVES to sit in laps! Our routine would be for me to put a pillow or cushion on my lap (to help make it more comfortable) and she would run over and come sit on it. (And if any of the other cats wanted attention and got too close she would swipe at them!)
I don't know what Makani went through as a kitten until the time I had gotten her but I feel like she had been through some rough times and experienced suffering and pain. Despite that, she always came out on top because she was a fighter.
When she first came home, Makani had just gotten all of her teeth taken out except her canines due to stomatitis. She was very skinny because she hadn't been eating due to the pain plus now she was recovering from a dental procedure. Eventually her canines also created trouble for her and once all her teeth were out, we could stop forcing pain meds on her and she was 100% better!
I remember the change--there was a point where she had gained weight and become fat and happy! She no longer was in pain and could eat as much as she wanted and she always had a great appetite!
I vividly remember thinking, WOW, getting to help Makani and seeing her thrive is the most rewarding feeling. My heart felt so full. This is what animal rescue is all about--this is what life is about! I am so grateful to Makani for allowing me to experience this.
It is with great sadness that I had to say goodbye to my beautiful, strong-willed girl, Makani, a few days ago. It is truly an honor to have had her in my life these past 7 years. Every single day she has shown me love and affection. How lucky am I to have been on the receiving end of that?
If you have ever had to make this decision, you know how hard and gut wrenching it is no matter the circumstance. But it seemed her kidney disease had finally caught up with her and I was afraid she would suffer or be in pain if I did not help her move on.
It was shocking that this happened and I think I might still be in a little bit of shock--if you read the last Friday post, I had mentioned Samone was going through health issues, not Makani. We'd been managing Makani's kidney disease for several years and Sunday morning she seemed FINE. Ran to me as she always did when she saw me, ate all her food and tried to steal Samone's, and was jumping up and down from her spot on the bench by the window. By the afternoon I could tell something was up when she didn't come up to me. By evening it was clear that something was seriously wrong and her energy seemed to be drained. It felt like her body just could not go on.
I kept her company that night and didn't leave her side. I wanted to make sure I was spending the precious time we had left in the best way I could. I wanted to make sure I was there in case she needed to be taken to the emergency vet or needed my help. Anytime she opened her eyes, I was there. I hope it made her feel safe and comfortable.
I stroked her head, scratched her chin, told her I loved her out loud and in my head, tried to send her good energy and vibes, cried and held her, told her she was the best, helped her use the litter box, held her paw, kept my hand against her, just tried to be there for her as much as possible. She was sleepy and tired but peaceful. At times she even looked like she was smiling at me. A few times, she grabbed my hand with her paw and nuzzled her little head into my hand. I will always treasure these moments.
Saying goodbye, even if you feel it will end their suffering, is always so SO hard.
It is so hard when you expect to see them in their usual spots as you have for all these years and they are not there.
It is so strange that they are there one second and then they are gone.
The hardest part for me has always been the first meal without them. Their bowls are still there, their food, their meds. I usually keep everything for a ridiculously long time until I am ready to let it go.
Although all of this happened so unexpected and quickly, maybe it was for the best--maybe it saved us both from prolonged pain and sadness.
But I still wish I had more time with her.
Animals are so amazing. I have no doubt they are incredibly connected to their spirit and energy and to the universe. I know Makani was not scared of death at all (I don't think she was scared of anything). And I hope that I was able to help her start the next chapter in her journey. Her body might have been old but her spirit is strong and lives on. I hope that wherever she is, she is doing all the things she loves--so happy and so free.
I want to always remember how she loved sitting in my lap, that her favorite spot at this house was behind the curtain, and how the first time she slept there, I couldn't find her until I saw the lump by the window :).
That somehow I got in the habit of calling her Miki, that she always insisted on walking or climbing or sitting on me, and how she and Jefrey became frenemies but I think mostly friends.
How she was a wonderful model and inspiration for Atiliay (she is the cat behind the cat hair t-shirts!), her deep purrs, how much she LOVED catnip and cardboard scratchers, and her very strong headbutts (that the other cats would always be taken aback by lol).
The way she would viciously chase and take down toys, how athletic she was, how she was the only cat I have had who was not scared of the vacuum at all!
I want to always remember her strength, her resilience, her soft side, her tenderness, her unconditional love.
Thank you, Makani, for everything you have given me. I am so appreciative and grateful for you.
Every beloved animal who has become a part of your life changes it for the better and takes a piece of your heart.
Makani, you will always have a very special place in mine. I love you. I miss you. Until we meet again.