I lost Buddy Thursday night. I had to take him to Dr. John's to put him to sleep. He declined basically over night, I think, so I left work early Thursday to head home and check him out myself ... he didn't even come when I called him, was definitely not himself and was wheezing when he was breathing. He had a lot of fluids in his lungs apparently, Dr. John said the best we could do would only buy him maybe days.
I'm heartbroken! They're all special - all the ones you rescue, the ones you keep (or who just won't leave you!) ... but Buddy really was a once in a lifetime kind of guy. I'm just heartbroken ... and I still have no idea how the hell I'm supposed to function without my flame-point man.
Let me talk a little more about this guy to explain why he was so great.
First off, he was damn handsome! Everyone referred to him as "that white cat" when really he was a flame-point Siamese. His coloring made him an even odder match up with Norman, his best friend, FIV+ boy also from behind a Sleepy's store and just about the biggest dang, long-haired black and white cat you can imagine. Massive, dark Norman and tiny, light Buddy were quite a pair! Quite a pair ...
Buddy came from behind a Sleepy's mattress store. A super wonderful woman named Karen L had to make lots of attempts to trap him because that task just seemed impossible. I had promised to take him because I have a love for flame-points and we had no real barn cats at my parents' place at the time. So, when he ended up being Feline Leukemia positive, I still didn't see the big deal in taking him - I figured we'd keep him until he got sick (which probably wouldn't be long) and then put him to sleep. In my mind, that was better than just euthanizing him like just about everyone thought we should do. Seriously, you should have heard the crap I got for having a FeLeuk+ barn cat, but he was happy and that's all that mattered to me!
When we first got him, he was a total freakin nightmare!! He's lunge at you and spit all the time - I hate that combination. No matter how much experience I have with cats, that crap still scares me. Buddy got out after only being locked up for a few days (the manner in which that happened is still suspicious) and was just gone ... gone for good, I thought, until my sister's one friend who lived a couple houses down said, "Hey, think you can catch this cat for me? It's a white cat that's been hanging around." I looked at him and said, "That's no white cat, he's a flame point ... and, yea, I'll catch him - he's already mine." :) I caged him up for a more appropriate amount of time for him to get used to his new home, me & feeding schedule and the boy never left again.
After several months, he started to be a lot nicer ... he'd hang around more when other people were around, talk (like a Siamese!) and rub up against me every so often ... but go to try and pet him and he'd swat at you! It was always a test I did, mostly while he was distracted by eating, until one day he didn't swat. In fact, Buddy kinda leaped up on his back legs a bit to push his head further into my hand ... and from there it just progressed to the point where Buddy would come dashing at you when you called out his name and he'd follow me all over, running with me or whatever and just roll belly up right in front of your path if you stopped for a moment cause he'd want his belly rubbed. He liked to watch while we were working outside (a very good supervisor while putting up barns and fences) and there was no car safe from him leaping on it to check it out - he actually used to sleep on my dad's covered Camaro convertible the winter before we had Norman too. And FeLeuk+ and all, we had Buddy for several years. Him and Norman, the last couple years have just been the best of friends too - rubbing up against each other, laying in the sun together and snuggling to the point where they'd squeeze themselves both into a tiny, one-cat-sized heated bed!
Buddy was just exceptional! I mean, even the tattoo I got of his paw print has a story behind it. Look at my foot and it's a little silly if you know much about cats and their behavior. I have one smooshed up, tiny, pissy paw print and one relaxed, spread-out paw print ... the pissy one if from my HOUSE cat and the relaxed one is Buddy's. He was just so chill while I inked up his paw and got prints for my tattoo ... I guess, I'll admit that I got it knowing he would probably be the first I lost since he was FeLeuk+ ...
Did I mention I've never lost any of my cats before? Cause that's true. I've lost ones while doing rescue, yea, and a couple family dogs in my lifetime too, but I never really had a cat until I was 16, so she's still fairly young herself and I'd never lost one of my own until Buddy Thursday.
My mom kept asking what we should do (and I knew when I saw Buddy ...) and Dr. John asked what I wanted to do with his body (I brought him home. Truly, I kinda wanted his ashes, but couldn't bare the thought of him going in a trashbag to wait in a freezer for that ...) and then my dad just kept asking where I wanted to bury Buddy. Too many decisions for my broken heart that day ...
I've kept myself distracted the last couple days ... cause when I think about it, I just start crying. I hung out with friends Thursday night and all Friday to keep from being home to not notice Buddy around. When I left my parents' to come back up to my apartment today though, I said goodbye again. I had my parents bury him in the front garden ... he used to walk through it a lot to jump on the cars, sit by the front door or greet you as you came out, so that spot seemed appropriate. My mom got this slab I've had for awhile now (since we lost Honey & Ellie) that reads: If tears could build a stairway, and memories a lane, I'd walk right up to heaven and bring you home again. She put it over where we buried him and I put one of the pink/purple roses from my garden by it. I started crying again ...
If you read all that, thanks for listening and learning about him. He was amazing ... and I'm hoping that he'll be waiting for me at the bridge like all my friends keep telling me.
I Loved You Best
by Jim Willis
So this is where we part, My Friend,
and you'll run on, around the bend,
gone from sight, but not from mind,
new pleasures there you'll surely find.
I will go on, I'll find the strength,
life measures quality, not its length.
One long embrace before you leave,
share one last look, before I grieve.
There are others, that much is true,
but they be they, and they aren't you.
And I, fair, impartial, or so I thought,
will remember well all you've taught.
Your place I'll hold, you will be missed,
the fur I stroked, the nose I kissed.
And as you journey to your final rest,
take with you this...I loved you best.