Madison Genaro, 1996-2010


She came to me, along with her brother, in September of 1996. I had left my cat back in the States when I’d moved to England in 1995, and, having decided to remain in London for the foreseeable future, I was no longer going to live without a cat. I grew up with tabbies and wanted another one, and the rescue organization brought my roommate and me two 12-week-old kittens. The boy cat, we decided, would belong to my roommate; the girl would be mine. And this Rangers fan, loving London but missing New York, named her after the Garden.

At first a terrified rescue kitten, Madison didn’t emerge very often from her safe place under the couch, but she soon developed into an inquisitive, playful, affectionate cat. She chased sheets ruffled by breezes; she took off after glimmers of light and shadow playing on the walls or the floor; she sat in the window each morning watching the birds gather on the fire escape; she demanded neck scratches and lap time. She refused to sleep anywhere except with me.

When I repatriated, she and her brother expatriated with me. For the last 11 and ½ years, we’ve all been happy New Yorkers, and like me, she loved spending her summers in Saratoga. At the home of Mama and Papa Backstretch, who adored her as I did, she’d sit for hours near the sliding glass doors, captivated by wildlife unseen from a third floor Brooklyn window, most notably chipmunks.

Though frequently on the move, an inveterate explorer, when my nephews were toddlers she tolerated their fumbling attempts to pet her, and when they were tired, she accommodated, patiently, willingly their desire to lie down on the floor with their heads on her stomach.

Maddie was brave and intrepid; she greeted strangers; she approached and approved newcomers. The only thing that made her miserable was car travel—perhaps that transatlantic voyage early in her life was more difficult than she let on—and as she got older, I had to find innovative ways to get her ready—tranquilizer and all—for the journey, because no matter what I did, she anticipated and avoided it. When we went to Saratoga for Thanksgiving, I gave her a pill at 6:45 am. When we arrived in Saratoga at 11, the first thing she did was spit it out on my parents’ living room floor.

I woke up Saturday morning to discover that she couldn’t move her back legs; the vet quickly diagnosed a blood clot, the first symptom of previously undetected heart disease, a common occurrence in cats. Despite medication throughout the day, her condition worsened, and shortly before midnight, she died. The felines and the humans in the local and extended Backstretch household are devastated. Her personality made her the feline center of our home.

She was a star of this website, as much as part of it as I am, and I haven’t quite decided what will happen with her picks and those of the other felines. Her absence from the left column, and from my life, is a little too unbearable to contemplate just now. A quick check shows us that Madison leaves us with a profit; literally and figuratively, we should all be so lucky, but no matter what she gained, it’s nothing compared to how she enriched our lives.

36 thoughts on “Madison Genaro, 1996-2010

  1. Teresa, I am so sorry for your loss of dear Madison. There are no words in my vocabulary that could give you comfort at this time, but please know I am thinking of you.

  2. Teresa,Here's a poem from the Best Friends web site that offered comfort to me. I am so sorry for your loss.Don't Weep for Me Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there, I do not sleep.I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glint on snow. I am the sun on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain.When you awake in morning's hush, I am the swift, uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft starlight at night. Do not stand by my grave and cry, I am not there; I did not die.- Mary Frye

  3. It is so hard sometimes to explain the connections between animals and humans. I simply think some of us "get it" and some us of don't. I always say pick a person who loves animals and you have a found a good soul. My condolences.

  4. Condolences on your loss. … In memory of Madison Genaro, a $2 across the board wager has been placed on Lyrical Bobcat in today's seventh at AQU with the (hopefully) winnings going to a charity of Backstretch household's choice.

  5. Thank you so much, everyone, for your kind words; words can't express what they mean to me. Lyrical Bobcat was, I think, one of Madison's recent longshot winners that contributed to her positive ROI. Thank you for that very fitting tribute–I think I'll join you in it.

  6. Sorry to hear about Madison, pets and cats in particular add so much more to our lives than we do to theirs. We are lucky they have the patience for us!

  7. Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together…. Author unknown… I'm so sorry for the loss of your sweet kitty. As someone who has dealt with more cats with saddle thrombus than I can count (and the emotions experienced by their owners), I feel compelled to offer you this: much like she was able to hide those pills from you, cats hide their illnesses. There was nothing that you missed that would have changed the outcome. It sounds like you gave her a wonderful life, much more than she might have gotten elsewhere, and she was lucky for that.

  8. Teresa,As fellow cat lovers, we are so saddened by your loss. The happiness that cats (and dogs) give us on a daily basis cannot be explained. Those who claim that cats and dogs don't "love" but only "respond to kindness" never owned either. Our thoughts are with you.Donna & Stuart

  9. I am SO sorry for your loss. Those wonderful furry members of our families are such blessings. Thoughts and prayers sent your way.

  10. My husband David forwarded this on to me because he knew how sympathetic I would be to this situation. We had a beautiful brown tabby that we lost a number of years ago, and he will never be replaced. You will get through this difficult period though. Our thoughts are with you!Terry Miller

  11. I THINK YOU SHOULD BRING FLOYD AND THE KITTENS TOGETHER WITH A CAT CONSENSUS PLAY AND USE THE PROFITS TO BENEFIT A MADISON GIFT TO THE BROOKLYN BACKSIDE CHARITY TO BENEFIT ALL FRIENDS IN HER MEMORY.

  12. Teresa, condolences on your loss. I totally understand what you're going through. When I got married and moved to England just over 12 years ago, my cat, Babe, had to come with me. She spent six months in quarantine. My husband had never had a pet before, but the two of them soon bonded. I used to tease him that she liked him better than she liked me! We lost her in 2007 at age 15, when kidney and thyroid problems caught up with her. She was the one link to my life in the US. I've had several cats over the years (Big Man has been with us just over a year) but losing them never gets any easier. Barbaro's owner, Gretchen Jackson, was right when she said 'grief is the price we pay for love.'

  13. Thank you all so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and memories and sympathy with me–an exceptionally trying day has been made more bearable because of your words.

  14. Sorry for your loss. It's always hard to lose a pet, especially one that has been in your life for so long. You have my condolences.

  15. Jim, Paul, & MI-bred–thank you. The other felines in the Backstretch household are doing a great job of making sure that I'm not too feline-lonely, and the kind words of friends are doing much to make me feel better.

  16. Dear Teresa: I'm so shocked to see that beautiful Madison has left you so suddenly. My 4 kitties & Spice are wishing that we could give some comfort. Such a beautiful picture & she had such a loving home. You'll never forget her & she was one lucky kitty to have found you.

  17. Ah, jeez Teresa…I'm shocked. We just spoke last week about my recent loss of Biggie and Rascal. I cried freely, knowing that you understood completely and was so comforted by your sisterhood. Hear, Hear to Maddie, a most curious and delightful girl!

  18. Lynne and Lucky and Linda and Val–thanks so much. The other cats, and all my friends, are taking good care of me…makes it all a little easier.

  19. Madison looks very much like our cat Bailey who died a few years ago. Every time I'd see the picture it would remind me of Bailey. Plus I liked Madison's picks! May Madison be where there are many sheets unfurling.

  20. Steven, anon, ccc: Thank you all very much for your kind words. I continue to be overwhelmed–in a good way!–by how many fans Madison had, and by people's kindness and friendship. Thank you.

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