This is a rare non-hiking related post for us but we wanted to share the story of the wonderful gift that Buddy was to our lives. For the last 17 years he brightened our lives and while that seems like a long time in years it felt way too short.
Shortly after we moved into our first house in 2002 we decided to add a cat to our family. In December we visited the Humane Society where Buddy made it clear that we would be taking him home with us. (He never did stop telling us what to do and when to do it.) When we had made our choice (given in to his demands) the folks at the Humane Society gave us a note that had come to the shelter with Buddy, a note that we’ve kept to this day.
Dominque was 7 so we had the little boy covered.
Grace also mentioned that Buddy liked having his belly rubbed, something cats often do not care for. He loved a good belly rub though and would curl up around your hand.
Things got off to a rocky start for us, Buddy was so excited to have a home that he wasn’t bothering to eat. We took him to the vet and tried several things eventually having to leave him there overnight so that they could feed him intravenously and get his stomach used to food again. They explained to us that if cats don’t eat for a while they will stop feeling the need to, some sort of defense mechanism to ease the pain of starving. The stay at the vet worked and after he came back home eating was a favorite of his.
Buddy shortly after coming home with us.
A year after Buddy joined us we brought Hazelnut home. Buddy did his best to welcome her and we would often find them curled up together in the early days.
Buddy loved to jump up on things to get as high in the house as he could and getting into any drawer or cupboard that he could.
His jumping days were cut short by arthritis in his hip which required medication but his love of opening drawers and cupboards never faded. Often we would come home from a trip to find half the cupboards and drawers wide open.
He also loved to curl in the sink when he could still get up on the bathroom counter (and fit) and he never met a sack or box (he especially loved boxes) that he didn’t need to get into.
Buddy’s one vice was that he loved to chew on things. We had a no plant rule in the house (other than grass that he could eat) because he would make a b-line straight for anything green, including the fake Christmas tree which he gnawed ends off. Toys that were attached to strings were largely ignored so that he could simply chew on the string. There was also a strange obsession with pipe cleaners. Dominique had used them at one time for a school project and for years after that Buddy would (if he got into Dominique’s room) somehow manage to find one and drag it out to chew on. None of us, including Dominique, could figure out where he was getting them but he had a stash hidden somewhere. The only time string didn’t temp him was when it was the yarn Heather was using for her crochet. Somehow he knew that was off-limits.
Partners in crime in the Christmas tree.
From day one Buddy was a lap cat.
January 4, 2020
He spent all of his 17 years with us by our sides when we were home. On weekends, before work, and in the evenings he was either on one of our laps or laying right next to us. Until his arthritis got bad he had a routine of getting on the bed when I got home and waiting for me to come over so he could stand on his hind paws with his front paws on my chest and nuzzle under my chin. I called it our hugs. When he was a kitten he would sit in one of our laps and bat popcorn out of our hands as we tried to eat it. After growing out of that phase he just tried to lick the olive oil as he loved olive oil and green olive juice.
In addition to the arthritis in his back hip Buddy lost a couple of teeth along the way which earned him the nickname snarls.
He did have one tooth though that would often stab into us when he fell asleep with his head on our hand/arm as he was wont to do.
He also lost his hearing, but that didn’t stop him from telling us when it was time to get up, time to feed him, or time to go to bed and it didn’t stop us from talking to him.
He let me know every night when it was time for bed. He would wait for me near the bed and as soon as I got in he would come up to snuggle in.
He enjoyed being carried around the house so he could get a close up view of everything that was out of his reach. He also liked to take a few minuts after dinner to play, his favorite game was chasing that crazy red dot that he could never quite catch. His other loves were trying to sneak out into the garage, sitting on the heating vents, and of course cat naps.
It seemed like no matter what we were doing he was there with us. He would wake us up, wait on the toilet seat or vent while we showered (sometimes he would pry open the door and get in only to remember that he didn’t care for water) and sit with us until it was time for work. In the evening he sat on the lap of whoever was sitting down and when it was time for bed he’d let me know. He usually split his time in bed snuggling with each of us during the night. In other words he was a constant companion and his absence is felt in everything we do now. Even in typing up this post he would have been on my lap forcing me to put my arms in awkward positions to try and type.
In June 2019 he started showing signs of difficulty breathing. He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and a pound of fluid was removed from his lungs. He was placed on medication and responded fairly well. He was slowed down and began losing weight but otherwise seemed like himself for a few months. He took to wearing sweaters to help keep him warm but time finally caught up to him and the fluid returned, worse than before.
He started showing signs of increased difficulty breathing after Christmas and slowed down noticeably.
January 10, 2020
We moved up a follow up appointment at the vet fearing the worst but hoping for the best. That morning before work he laid his head on my forearm and purred while I petted him as that one tooth dug into my skin for the last time.
The vet confirmed our fears, the fluid was back and worse than before. Another procedure to remove the fluid would likely have been to much for him. It was the hardest goodbye either of us had ever experienced. Buddy brought us so much joy and happiness over those 17 years. We couldn’t have asked for a better furry friend. Heather’s friend gifted us with a wonderful framed picture of our Budder-ball which captured his personality perfectly.
He will always have a special place in our hearts, we miss you Buddy!