College of Veterinary Medicine Home Pet Loss Hotline

You’re thinking Buddy is a dog’s name. Generally it is but this remarkable pal was just that, a Buddy. Although, at the time I didn’t know, he was about 3 years old when he ‘moved in’ and we ‘lived together’ 8 years, not nearly long enough.

Buddy moving in:
In September of ‘97 an absolutely gorgeous “Maine Coon” cat came wandering into my yard and up onto my deck where I was sitting enjoying a cool, late-September evening in the Tri-Cities and visiting with friends. Up he walked and gracefully fell onto his back across my feet and rolled and preened himself as if to say “I’m very charming and quite a beautiful boy. Wouldn’t you like to know me better?” Just in case I wasn’t ‘buying his story’ he rubbed, purred and generally charmed my visitors too.

I had just experienced the “empty nest” that fall when my only son, Andrew went off to WSU, so perhaps I was an ‘easy mark.’ I really was yearning for someone who needed me. An 18 year old son who was eager to ‘spread his wings’ needed his space (w/o mom checking in with too many “Mom” things) to grow into the remarkable young man and husband he is today

Learning about Buddy:
For several weeks, each evening as I worked in my gardens, Buddy would stroll in and do the “charming thing” rolling over and purr-upping. I began to put food out for him and invited him indoors for ‘short visits.’ Inside I watched him like a hawk; he REALLY wanted to do that nasty tail wiggling thing! He had some feral traits; he wanted to be petted but only on his terms. His claws were sharp and he knew how to use them.

Until I took him to Desert Vet Clinic (Richland) to have him neutered I thought he was about a year or so old. He loved going anywhere w/me in the car. Anytime we went to Desert Vet Clinic, he was in his element, being his ‘charming’ self.

The Mission:
My mission (as I saw it) was this was a cat who needed me and I was up to it. He was very territorial (even after neutering) and often I’d hear the unmistakable “cat-r-waalering” sound that I knew signaled a cat fight (there were several other feral cats in the neighborhood; I live near an undeveloped area where people drop off unwanted animals). I made the mistake of dashing out (in short sleeves, short pants) trying to pry 2 cats apart in the midst of a full-out cat fight. I lost. After that, I bought a “Super Soaker 5000” at Toys-R-Us and when I heard a cat fight begin, dashed outside and began to pump it up. It didn’t take ‘Bud’ long to figure out that he (and his target) were going to be blasted.

Over the next several years I worked on ‘gentling’ him. We grew our relationship. Over time, he grew to respect me and I, him. He never was a kitty you could entirely trust but with the respect lines drawn, he would always tuck in his claws and respond to my words of ‘easy boy.’

Neighborhood friend:
He was a people cat. Never very happy to be indoors for long, he made his ‘rounds’ of the neighborhood. My neighbors (a few doors down) who are NOT cat friendly people, told me that Buddy had become a welcome visitor they enjoyed coming to visit them.

SNOW! was Buddy’s absolute favorite thing. As I shoved the sidewalk, he would be out under the street lamp watching the snow come down and standing on his haunches, batting the snowflakes as they filtered down. As I knocked down snow off my landscaping, he would find a small snow clump I’d unloosed on virgin snow and he’d leap in and out of drifts as he batted them over the accumulated snow.

Then, in a blink of an eye, he was gone. He was run over (hit & run), his back shattered, alive, but with too many injuries to recover from. My wonderful neighbors saw him shortly after he was hit and drove us up to Desert Vet. With tears in all of our eyes, the hard decision was made…

He lives on (of course) in my memory (and this tribute to him). He was buried out in the country at my friend’s pet cemetery where many other pet friends are buried. The spot is beautiful, under a fir tree. He was all curled up just like he was taking a kitty nap, tail curled up and over his nose like he always did. Sage and straw cushioned his final sleep. I brought his favorite toys to bury with him along with a new toy to share with a former kitty I had. We all petted him one last time and added more sage over his body which my friends gently heated-it smelled so good. The moon came in and out of the clouds and even the coyotes were sending up their mournful howls.


Posted Jan 11,  2006  |     Printer Friendly Version