Goodnight Sweet Prince

  • Sunday / May 13, 2007
Goodnight Sweet Prince: Mr Mason

Goodnight Sweet Prince

This is an Anniversary day. But not one I might be inclined to celebrate. No party hats, no music, no icing on a cake. It’s just one year later.

I only knew him a short time. No more than a few years. But this furry little beast burrowed his way into my heart. I was sad to say good-bye. Mason, as my partner Chris named him some seventeen years ago, was a big orange boy cat. A Manx to be precise. Chris brought him home one day from a local Seattle animal shelter.

The breed in and of itself is a miracle of, or actually a mutation of, genetics. The very things that give the cats their unique and cherished characteristics are an aberration in other breeds.

The Manx is a stocky, solid cat with a dense double coat (long or short), a compact body, very short back, hind legs that are visibly longer than the front legs, big bones, a wide chest, and greater depth of flank (sides of the cat nearest the rear) than other cats. The standard weight for males is 10-12 lbs. and for females is 8-10 lbs. The Manx head is broad-jowled with round eyes, and the ear-set is distinct to the breed–when viewed from the back, the ears and the top of the head form a “cradle” or “rocker” shape. The ears themselves are broad at the base and taper to a narrower, rounded tip. This is the general appearance of all Manx cats …

From Cat Fanciers website.

Mason was no exception. He had no tail. He was a rumpy. His peculiar body, elongated back feet, his gate when running was more a hop. He looked like a furry golden rabbit. It’s how he got one of his MANY nicknames … ‘Bunny.’

The bunny boy was a very loving & gentle cat. Not a mean bone in his big furry body. One of the most amazing characteristics of Manx cats is that they bond with their human. And they bond usually with one person in the household. Being Chris had him for many years before we met, he & Mason had a very tight bond. One that would last until we had to put “The Love Sponge” down a year ago today.

When Chris & I met Mason already had a gazillion nicknames. The was ‘The Love Sponge’ for how affectionate this boy was, there was ‘Bunny’ for his obvious bunny look & feel, the was ‘Sack-of-Potatoes’ his given American Indian name for his abundance & girth, but I gave this man-boy-bunny the reverence he deserved. I called him almost from the first day “Mr Mason.” His age required it. His dignity and stature demanded it. He was of course an elderly cat when he first came into my life. No one before had ever called him this … so from then on … to me he was Mr Mason or Mr Mase. Chris started calling him that too.

Mr Mason was the only cat I ever knew that loved to be brushed. He would come running … no bunny hopping … at full gate down he hallway if he saw you with his brushes. He would immediately ‘assume the position.’ He would kick his hind legs out and lie completely flat on the floor, for maximum coverage.

Goodnight Sweet PrinceEven before the brush hit his fuzzy old body … the purr machine was going full blast. Within the first few strokes he’d be in kitty ecstasy. Brushing the boy would yield several full brush-loads of fur. I was always amazed how much fur could come from one animal. The best part was when he’d roll on his back & let you have at his beautiful big belly. He was a very trusting & loving cat.

Somewhere around April of 2006 Mr Mason was diagnosed with lung cancer. Chris & I were devastated … to say the least. We both started doing a lot of research on geriatric cats with cancer. We found many sites recommending trying to increase their intake of protein & trying to eliminate grain from their diets. There were so many other things we learned. But during this time Mr Mason got worse. He became more & more lethargic & want to be left alone. We tried to make the bunny boy a s comfortable as we could.

We were fortunate that we had a month or more to try to wrap our heads around what was about to happen. Chris & I were about to lose someone quite near & dear to both of us. But for Chris it was especially difficult to know that someone he spent sixteen years of his life with was about to expire. During this time we both tried to have much more individual time with the boy to just hold him & pet him. We were lucky to have this much time to say our good-byes. I’ve never know anything so difficult.

Here was a being … an amazing soul that required so little & gave so much & we needed to let him go. We needed to send him off to the big bunny patch in the sky to play with all the other beautiful bunnies.

So here’s to you Mr Mase … here’s to all you gave & kept giving. Hope you’re having fun with the other bunnies.

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Joe Streno

artist . musician . photographer . apple computer consultant . residing on planet earth with his three cats rudie, rocco, & rose & living to tell tales about it

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