The Story of Maxamillion (or how I became a cat person)

When I was a sophomore in college, I received a distressed call from Mom that I’ll never forget. “Max is really sick, Paolo. I think I need to take him to the hospital. He won’t take any food or water and he hasn’t since last night.”

Max was my dog. He was a smart, handsome, leg-humping Sheltie that we got as a puppy when I was in the 8th grade. Actually, it was the summer before 8th grade because on the first day of school I recall we put him in the garage and he ate something that caused him to have diarrhea – to the point that Dad had to hose the garage out.

I loved that dog.

The day after that call from my Mom, Max died. Something had tied him up internally, and he was too weak to make it out of surgery.

He died by thong. That is, the vet found that he had eaten one of my sister’s thong underwear, which tied up his intestines. You can see how this was a particularly difficult loss to get over when you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. This should also serve as a lesson that NO PRETEEN GIRL NEEDS TO WEAR A THONG.

There, I said it. The therapy must be working.

Since Maxamillion, I haven’t had another pet. Not even a fish. I was moving too often between college and now... but now I have a home with a yard, which is why we got the cat, Fabrizio.

We had originally looked at dogs and have a PERFECT, fenced yard for a dog, but we just couldn’t do it. We’re reminded every time we watch Mom’s dog, Simon, that dogs are high maintenance compared to cats. Cats are surely more self-absorbed, but they also take care of themselves. We ski on the weekends, we have a wedding and honeymoon ahead of us… We’re still not ready for all the responsibilities of a dog. Cat-ownership is like training wheels for dog ownership. Now I’m not sure if we want to take the training wheels off.

Fabrizio is crazy cool. For one, he’s bi-polar. Sometimes he will cuddle with Amanda for hours, and sometimes he’ll jump from around a corner five feet in the air and attack your arm. He keeps you on your toes that way.

Best yet, he only goes to the bathroom outside. He doesn’t use the cat box AT ALL. A pet that goes to the back alley and buries its own shit is IDEAL. He’s saving me time, effort and kitty litter cash, and I love him for that. It’s worth the love bites and scratches.

I really can’t complain about being a cat owner. Fabrizio had that one bad habit about scratching furniture, but it’s amazing how quickly a high-powered squirt gun can remedy that.

I had never intended to be a cat person, and never thought I would be. Nevertheless, here I am, with cat biting arm.