buddy

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My precious Buddy is dying.

There, I said it.  The reality of this, after a terrible visit last night with John, has pierced through my wall of denial this morning and it’s almost too much to bear.

He has some hard tumors growing in his jaw.  His tongue is protruding and he’s drooling.  The Vet said last week it’s most likely a fast growing bone tumor (cancer).  She X-ray’d his whole body and nothing else showed up anywhere else but this tumor will eventually cut off his ability to swallow and breathe and it will kill him.

How ironic that the Vet’s office just called me as I was typing this and I could barely speak I’m bawling so hard.  It’s very difficult, as I’m sure many of you readers have faced, to accept hard realities that you are in fact going to lose someone (or something but I consider my beloved Buddy a “someone” to me) and there’s nothing you do can about it.

My brother is still desperately suicidal and there’s nothing I can do about that either.  But I can only face one terribly sad thing at a time so I flip flop between these two right now.

I’m not quite sure of how to proceed with Buddy because the testing to determine 100% what he has is expensive and the diagnosis, likely is something that will have no treatment.  He has a very hard bony tumor under his jaw that is spreading fast.  I’ve read and read about it online and these bone tumors don’t waste time.  I see changes in him just from several days ago when I took him for this first exam on this.

The confusing thing in a way is he’s eating better, once I realized he needed pureed soft food.  He’s gaining weight back and his coat looks much better.  But he’s getting sicker as his poor little tongue is protruding and he’s drooling.  Yet there is he, crawling up right next to me as always, affectionate, purring, jumping on and off the bed.  I want to think he’s ok but he’s not.  I know he’s dying.  I just can’t stand it.

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Buddy has been with me for 14 years, through so much.

I was at the time living in this small condo I was renting after I left my marriage.  I couldn’t have pets there, but one day one of my clients came in desperate about this cat.  She told me her best friend was in town closing up her father’s home who’d just died.  That he’d had this cat that she didn’t know what to do with.  This cat had sat on her father’s bed comforting him through his entire convalescence but the daughter had no real connection to the cat herself.  She didn’t want to take her to the shelter.

My heart just went out to this situation and I agreed to take the cat in temporarily although was not supposed to have a pet.  I assured her I’d find her a good home.  Well, best laid plans.  Mia injected herself immediately right in to my heart and I called my landlord begging her to let me keep her.  I paid an additional deposit and now, I had a cat.

She was a very social and affectionate cat and I was gone a lot.  One day, after returning from a vacation and having boarded her, I went to pick her up at the “pet boarding place” (I can’t think of the right name) and saw a notice on the bulletin board about some kittens that needed homes.

I read about how they’d been rescued from the sewer, having been born down there in the heat of the summer.  The rescuer later told me it took them an entire day to retrieve all those kittens, who of course were feral.

I called her up and found out she was just up the road from me and drove over.  I saw little Buddy, tiny, crazy scared and knew he was for me, a friend for Mia.  It took us 3 hours to capture this little terrified kitty.  The rescuer was so terrified herself to let any of them go after all she’d invested in rescuing them.  She told me to promise her if it didn’t work out, to bring him back.  I assured her I would.

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I brought tiny 2 pound Mia’s “Buddy” home who proceeded immediately to get lost in my condo for three days.  I literally had no idea where he was hiding.  That first evening I sat on my couch, felt a tiny movement on my thigh through the armrest.  He had crawled up in to the workings of that sofa, in to the arm rest and remained there for three solid days.

I would wake up at night, petrified he was doing to die in there and go in “pet chat” rooms for reassurance.  Someone said to me “an animal will not starve to death if there is food around”.  So I opened that sleeper sofa and put food and water inside on the floor for him.  I never heard a peep and he remained tucked away in that arm rest until…

One night I was laying in bed and heard a crunch crunch sound.  Mia was on the bed with me as always so I tiptoed out and saw that tiny cat over by the food.  Once he saw me however, he bolted right back to the sofa.  It was my first sighting of him since I brought him home.

This kind of thing went on for a solid month.  He hid either in the sofa arm or behind the kitchen cabinets I discovered one day.

I almost brought him back to the rescuer about a month in to this when I couldn’t find him anywhere and heard this tiny meow.  I realized it was coming from the fireplace. I stuck my head in to that sooted chimney and two little eyes were peering back at me from the flue.  He had tried to escape the house by crawling up in there.  It broke my heart and terrified me.  I normally didn’t try and grab him but in this case I did, worried he was injured up there, and pulled his little tar black body out of that chimney only to have him screech and fly out of my arms and straight to the bathroom in terror.

I had to go to work so threw water and food in there and closed the door leaving him in there.  When I came home, there were little black paw prints all the way up the walls and doors.  I didn’t know how on Earth I could keep this wild feral cat.

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I kept going in to the chat rooms and one night someone said “he will come to you through your other cat.  Let her bring him to you”.   That person also told me “either he will stay skittish like this the rest of his life or he will become the best cat you ever have”.

These words stuck with me, in fact I clung to them for dear life.  So I started noticing Mia’s behavior.  Never once did that sweet cat ever hiss at Buddy or be aggressive with him (tears).  She just stood patiently waiting for him to come around outside the sofa, across the room, near the food dish.  Just watching…and waiting.

I’ll never forget the night I was on my bed reading and I heard this little “poof”.  I knew he’d popped up on the bed.  I didn’t veer my eye contact to even look at him as even making eye contact would send him running or rather crawling with his tiny belly to the ground like a Marine in battle back to his hiding place.

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So I just sat there, stone faced, not even wanting to smile or move and he joined us.

That was the beginning of Buddy becoming the best cat I’ve ever had.

Mia and Buddy grew very close, like mother and son.  She was probably the only mother he ever had, practically.

When she died, of lung cancer of all things, several years ago in my arms, Buddy went in to a severe depression for almost a year.  He started that belly crawling again and lost his luster in his eyes.  It was just as heartbreaking as losing Mia, his extreme grief.

I got Sabine shortly thereafter because I just couldn’t bear watching him like that.  They became close but nothing like him and Mia.  A loved one just cannot be replaced, we all know this. (more tears)

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When I was down at the Ranch a few weeks ago I took a memoir writing class.  We were asked, as an assignment one day, to describe “What is Home?”.

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This is what I scribbled out in that 5 minute allowance:

I lay myself on my right side on the white feather sofa I found for a $300 steal at the consignment store.  After settling in comfortably, I call Buddy’s name in the falsetto he only recognizes.  He comes from whatever sunny hiding place he’s found, crawls up into the curl of my belly, roots around until he finds his perfect spot.  And we spoon.”

I wrote this before coming back, realizing how sick he is.

Sabine is also distancing from him now.  Animals know this detaching thing so much more naturally and organically than us humans.  We tend to hold on for dear life.  I’m holding on for dear life right now and at the same time I know my days are very numbered.

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It’s a strange relationship we engage in with these furred children we adopt.  We bond with them in such a pure way, a way you don’t get in these complicated human relationships.  And in order to go deep like that, we also have to go in to years of denial that we will most certainly out live them and have to bury them one day.

One of the things I’ve noticed about myself, having endured so much loss throughout my life, is that intimacy, the choice to be intimate with a loved one is one of the most terrifying things I ever endeavor.  It’s easier to stay distant in the delusion of some kind of “protection’ yet with the side effect of sure loneliness and unfulfillment.  It’s something I have struggled with my whole life, stepping in to intimacy like ripping off a bandaid and just going for it.

I also know the pain of regrets so that outweighs the fears of attachment with it’s certain detachment.

But once that commitment is made, you can drop deeper as it’s already where you are.   There’s some kind of “point of no return” I’ve noticed when it comes to that kind of risk taking.

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I took that risk with Buddy after that chimney incident, realizing we were in it together for the long haul. And I’ve bonded deeply with this little animal through so many of my life’s struggles.  He was always there curling up in to the soft curve of my belly or my armpit.   On the couch, in the bed, on the back of the chair I sit in as I type, curling around my neck.

How brave he is.  He has to know he’s on his last days as he struggles to swallow the pureed food I make for him now that he begs for and laps up.  Yet he keeps coming to me, every night, purring and curling in to my body.

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I think he’s trying to comfort me.  Soon is coming a moment where I have to make that unselfish decision for him, knowing his attempts to comfort me are outweighed by this pain he is in and I will have to let him go.

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I’m just glad I have the day off today.  And on Friday when I take him to the Vet for the certain bad news and horrible terrible decisions to be faced.

But now he walks down the stairs, past me, his little tongue hanging out, in to the sunshine by the back door and he’s here.

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And I take every last moment, every last breath I can share with this beautiful unconditionally loving creature, knowing he will never be replaced and that I will miss him for the rest of my life.

Yet I will have to let him go.

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Oh my Dear Precious Buddy.

My life will never be the same without your loving presence.

23 thoughts on “buddy

  1. MsDeb

    I’m sitting here with my eyes tearing up & a lump in my throat, as I remember my dear pets that I’ve lost…I truly believe that I’m going to see them, hold them, smell them & love them again, one day. This gives me comfort, sometimes. I hope you find a way to let your tears flow, without your poor heart breaking…your Buddy has lived a good life with an exceptional, loving human – he is a very lucky cat/person.

    • steve

      Buddy has been a great cat for you.
      These precious souls that rely on us for affection and a sense of calm in this crazy world we live in. He has had a beautiful life with you… In my thoughts and prayers…

  2. Cyndi Wells Platfoot

    Oh Kathy I know how hard it is but you have to just hold on to the fact that you gave him a great life and now you will give him dignity in death. I’m on my 3 set of cats my 1st Shad & Josey were not related but got along great. Shad was a skittish cat that got a herpe lip all the time but as soon as I got Josey he never had it again. They need a ‘buddy’ =) Josey went first and Shad followed a year later. My next set of cats were siblings Riley & RJ I rescued from a farm and I had them for 12yrs both died within a year of each other. Having to decide that ‘it’s time to let them go’ is SO hard but they can’t tell us how much pain they are in and it just breaks your heart to think of them suffering.I’ll be praying for your peace of mind with Buddy.So sorry that this is happening now with everything going on with John as well but you have to be one of the strongest woman I know. Love ya {{{HUGS}}}

    ps. My tuxedo siblings now are 2yrs old Fiona & George

  3. spellbound4

    Oh my dear Katie, I want to wrap you in the biggest, gentlest hug. I know all too well the pain you are feeling, as I went through nearly the same thing last month. It is so hard to make the decision and to know when we must let our babies leave this world, and I do believe Buddy’s comfort level will let you know when that time may come. Take advantage of every special comforting moment you and Buddy will share.

    I am so sorry John is not doing better. He stays in my thoughts and prayers. I can empathize with only being able to handle one major crisis at a time. John is safe where he is, so you just take care of you and your Buddy.

  4. PMLsmom

    Oh how much we cling to the unadulterated affections of our pets…We lost our beloved rottweiler Cassie a year ago. She was only 11…I noticed that she was acting funny, not herself – and forced my husband to make a vet appointment for the next day. She died, with me by her side, at 6:30 that next morning…never made it to the Dr. I wish I hadn’t waited so she wouldn’t have been in pain, but I sat by her side – paw in hand and watched her slip into a coma, breathing becoming labored and shallow, and then – gone. I know you will do right by Buddy 🙂

    We also have Booger the Talking Cat. She is only 8, so hopefully we have lots of years left with her. God bless and God speed, prayers and hugs.

  5. Doester

    My heart is breaking for Buddy, you, and Sabine. Having just spent two full days at MedVet and looking to be there for another two days next week, thank you for sharing what is in your very heart / soul. You have such a talent for being able give us a glimpse into your life and, at the same time, make us search deep into ourselves to connect with feelings sometimes pushed down / not wanting to face them alone.

  6. Peepers McPeep

    My Grover and Fozzie send their love, as do I
    No words can express my sorrow for you both.
    I’m so sorry, Kathy.

  7. ritanita

    We lost one of our two Millenium cats who lived with us since they were babies. Nasdaq was only 12 year and 8 months old, the youngest one I’ve ever lost. It was a short event. One day he was sick, the next day he was at the vet. His prognosis was poor. His life would be miserable even if we tested and treated him for the two diseases he probably had. It was so hard to say goodbye to him. I still get tears in my eyes, and they are here now for you and Buddy as well.

    The good news is that we rescued two very special kittens in late January to keep Yoda, my other Millenium Cat company. Sure, he’s 13 and not up to the little ones antics, but he loves to watch them play. He even plays and chases them around, a far cry from when he was so depressed we couldn’t even get him to eat.

    One of my kittens is Lucky, the name he was given by his foster parents. He was the only survivor of an abandoned litter of 3. He was bottle raised and his survival was a miracle. His best friend is Georgie, an almost spitting image of Nasdaq. He was the runt of a litter of 10 and was nursed into health along with Lucky. As for Lucky, he looks an awful lot like Buddy.

    My heart as the mother of 3 wonderful fur babies goes out to you.

  8. Slainea

    Tears in my eyes reading this. He’s such a brave and beautiful boy. I know how heartbreaking it is to lose your heart in such a way to an animal-soulmate, and then to have to say that unthinkable goodbye. Big hugs.

  9. Dottie

    Oh Kathy, I am so sorry you are going through all of this right now. My heart breaks for you and your precious Buddy. I have loved and lost many kitties in my many years on this earth. I think rescued kitties are the best! They seem to know that you rescued them and repay immeasurably. And I know there have been times when Buddy has rescued you. And now it is time for you to be strong and make the right decisions for him. Don’t wait too long. (We did that once and promised future kitties we would never do that again.) Be strong for Buddy, then allow yourself to fall apart. Then go rescue another precious furbaby. You have a lot of love to give. In honor of Buddy, share that love with another baby who needs you.

  10. lovelaw

    I am so sorry about Buddy. I have been through the heart-breaking trauma of losing a beloved pet. There is nothing anyone can say to sugarcoat it. It is almost unbearable, as you well know. But remember, as time passes, it becomes more about the happy memories, than about the loss. We lost our Sheltie, Barney (Brown-eyed Handsome Barney to be exact 🙂 ) going on 10 years ago. He was 13. Writing this now, I smile at the thought of Barney, and cry at the thought of Buddy. So, see…..one day you will smile at the thought of Buddy, (like Mia) though it doesn’t seem possible now. I feel your pain, and I hope you are comforted by knowing that the love you’ve shared for so long, went both ways. You made his life as beautiful as he made yours. ((((HUGS)))).

  11. Lilibet

    I’m so sorry, Kathy. What a beautiful tribute to Buddy!
    We have been through this with two of our precious kitties. You will know when it is time. Hopefully, your vet will let you hold him, as ours did. It was so hard, but we wanted to be with our dear friends until the end. Sending hugs and prayers for you, Buddy and John.

  12. I know you from WS but never registered

    So sorry Kathy. He has given you as much, if not more, than you have given him. What a wonderful tribute to the little gentle giant. Love the photos…..and you will be so glad you have them down the road. You will be in my thoughts during Buddy’s difficult time.

  13. Thank you everyone. I just made the decision to have a mobile vet who does home euthanasia come to the house Friday at 6:30. Her service looks as perfect as something this horribly heartbreaking can be. She just called me and was so nice on the phone. Thank God for hospice workers and people who can handle this kind of thing. She asked how I was feeling emotionally and what I might need. It’s amazing people are so brave to do God’s work like this. So we have two more days. Just how will I get through my clients tomorrow..just 4 hours. I’m guessing tears will be involved off and on and that’s just the way it’s gonna be.

    • Chris

      You are brave,compassionate,caring and a great MOM to your Buddy.
      Just know that your handsome Buddy will be at peace knowing he will always have you by his side. Smile and think of all the love you two have shared.
      Best wishes during this difficult time.

  14. pilcherje

    {{{[{Kathy/Buddy}}}} When you know that kind of pain, everything you said, *everything*…I have to keep typing over because it’s hard to see through the tears…because I know. I fell in love with a feral. He’d wait for me in the gully, peaking over the ridge, waiting for me to talk to him when I got home. I did it every night. It took weeks for him to cross that road, to trust me enough that I really wanted him to come to me and not be afraid. And when he finally did, I was his.

    I named him Puzzles. He let me brush him and pet him and when I would have to go inside, he’d jump at the back of my legs to push me…I assumed he didn’t want me to go. And soon, just the sound of my car brought him running. He’d get on the roof and look down into the windshield at me…it was the first time since I was a child that I’d taken to a stray…the history of my pets I cannot say here…but loss, by any means, was something (*everything*) that kept me at bay from pain, through loss.

    When I moved I couldn’t take Puzzles with me and no one wanted a feral…so I gave him to Paws, a welfare and adoption agency. They fell in love with him and he ruled the roost there. He visited every worker, he’d sit in an open window, but he never jumped out when he could have. They named him “Johnathan” and they made a beautiful page for him, he was ready for adoption.

    Then they called me one day to say he’d acquired a cough. They took him to the vet. The X-rays showed he was riddled with cancer. They put him to sleep. My only solace was in knowing that he wasn’t in that gully, alone, afraid and hungry. But the tears came anyway. I didn’t get to hold him one more time and say goodbye.

    I swore I’d never let myself get attached or allow a pet to become attached to me again…but here I am, two years in love with Lily. I still think of her as my Aunt’s doggie. She wanted me to take her when she knew she herself, was dying. I tried once, through a vets office to have her adopted out because I felt apartment life in the city wasn’t something she should have to be holed up in…but when I wrote down everything I knew about Lily, every quirk and funny look she’d give me with her chocolate eyes…I found myself giving a two page resume of “someone” I knew and loved with all my heart and I cried the whole time, writing it. The gal wrote me back once I sent that ‘resume’ off. She felt that I would be making a mistake because everything I knew about Lily, well, Lily knew that about me too and needed me just as much. You can see her in the pics on my Twitter page.

    I haven’t regretted keeping her. She snuggles in the crux of my arm and stomach just as your Buddy does. She lays at my feet. She tells me when the phone rings, she jumps at the sound of her leash and when I grab quarters for the laundry, she wants to go too, to run the halls to the laundry room. We’ll be together, till one of us goes, even though I try to ignore that fact…so in the interim, I’m sure Buddy knows how much he’s loved and you can be sure, he loves you and his only way of telling you is to be by your side in spite of his pain.

    My hearts with you and Buddy…I know how hard Friday will be…my thoughts will be with you both. XXXOOO

  15. Laura Jackson

    Kathy, love to you. I lost my 16 yr. Old just last year. I’m right now there with you both, in spirit, and will be there Friday. Alot of people care for you and your loving, tender heart. Me and Hobbes went thru a similar thing, he couldn’t eat anymore. It’s so hard. Just know you are not alone.
    Laura in Santa Barbara

  16. Kiminnm

    Big hugs to you and Buddy…also keeping your brother in my thoughts and prayers too! May God’s love and comfort surround you ……

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