I had to say goodbye to my Max this week after an unexpected and rapid decline. I'm heartbroken, but more than anything, I'm so grateful for the 6½ years we got to spend together. He was my first pet, and he taught me so much. He never, ever stopped purring. I miss him terribly.

He had an incredibly hard first half to his life, during which he was abandoned and endured some horrific things. He was eventually rescued by a feral cat rescue organization in Boston, and then he came to me for foster. Despite all he went through, he loved everyone he met.

He was the greatest older brother to Ruthie (even though she scared him at first) and he raised her ever since she joined us at only a few weeks old. I think it's wonderful that she grew up to look like his mini-me.

He was probably about fifteen, although it's guesswork with adult strays. Give your pets a big hug today.