As long as I can remember, I’ve been a cat guy. I like dogs well enough, don’t get me wrong, but cats have a special magic about them. I’ve had and been around cats most of my 40 years. One thing I’ve never had to deal with is their deaths. I’ve always been away or not involve during the actual passing.
In the past 5 days I have lost two cats: Buddy, a wedding gift to my wife, and Kiki, a stray kittenless Siamese.
Buddy as I said was a gift to my wife. We were young and had little money. Less than a month into our marriage and I bought my wife a companion, a little buddy to stay with her while I was away busing tables. I remember how happy she was, my wife Kelly. She is very much a cat person too. Buddy was scrawny and small with a soft kitteny coat with spikes of long hairs every so often.
Our room-mate at the time decided to get a kitten as well. Her name was Buttons and the two had a great amount of fun. Where Buttons was graceful, Buddy was gangly and awkward. How he ever grew into the sleek sure-footed hunter, I don’t know.
We only had Buddy for about 6 months when we moved from Colorado to West Virginia and found we couldn’t keep him. So he went to live with my Grandfather. There he grew up, a lived a good life spending days hunting mice and other rodents, and nights keeping my Grandfather company. Despite what my Grandfather says, I know he became quite attached to that old cat.
We saw Buddy regularly, at least twice a week. He always greeted us in the front yard when we came to visit. His fur was was a combination of cottony and silky soft. In the winters he would grow a mane. I often thought he might have been part Norwegian Forrest Cat. He loved the winters.
In recent months he began to slow down and be more finicky eating, then a couple weeks ago when he stopped eating regularly my Mom took him to the vet. Initially upon a quick examination they thought it was bad teeth and so he was scheduled to have the bad teeth removed Friday. Under anesthesia a closer look at the back of his mouth revealed an inoperable tumor. We decided not to wake him.
Kiki, an apple-head Siamese, who had the most beautiful blue eyes, couldn’t have been more opposite of Buddy. She came to us as a stray, who still with heavy teats was a kittenless mother . She was 5-6 years old at the time. Kiki loved to be loved. She loved to be indoors. She never seemed to desire to be an outdoor cat. Not like the others that would come after her.
After about 6 months we got a kitten from a friend, Colby. He was probably too young, but Kiki’s motherly instinct kicked in and she cared for him. And 3 months later when we got another kitten, Autumn, (they’re like chips, you can never just have one) again she loved and raised her, even though Autumn wanted to be more independent than Colby.
That is the kind of cat, Kiki was. Motherly and loving. Always greeted strangers. Never really afraid of anyone. Kiki was love.
About 6 months ago, Kiki, now nearly 13, developed a tumor on her belly. It turned out to be breast cancer. We knew the day would come soon that we would have to make the hard choice. This morning, for the first time, Kiki wanted outside. She needed outside. So I let her out and she went to the edge of the walk way, too tired to go any further and sat. And part of me wonders if she just wanted to look at the world one last time. To see her last morning. I knew today was the day. So I called the vet and told them I was coming in.
I was prepared to watch her go easily, but while waiting our turn, she spasmed and gasped and died in my arms. It wasn’t easy for her or for me. I saw the life go out of those beautiful blue eyes.
I’ll miss these two wonderful cats and will remember their lives. Remember what they gave to me and my family.