Tuesday, November 1, 2011
So nice to come home to...
Please forgive me for indulging myself here. We lost our beloved Buddy, our cat, a few days ago. Even though he was 17, it was sudden and we only had about two hours to say goodbye.
When my daughter was small, I, being a single working parent, was advised to get a kitten to keep my child company. I didn't like cats and didn't want one but one day at a farm stand a little runt from a large litter was left alone in a steel cage. I agreed to take him home and instantly became annoyed with the litter box, my chewed fresh cut flowers, and the constant yelping he elicited when my daughter was overzealous.
However, time passed and Buddy was with us through every traumatic event as well as every milestone. He happily posed for pictures with a Christmas bow every year and then a pirate suit on Halloween. I began to see the benefits of having him around; he was cozy and comforting. No matter what happened out there in the world, we came home to Buddy, his eyes glowing from the front window as he waited for us. The people who say cats are aloof never had a sheathed paw reach out and touch their face while they were weeping.
My daughter loved away the fine ears Buddy had by rubbing them too much. The new curled ones gave him character, my neighbor said. A friend looking for my house one day, spotted Buddy with the curled ears inside, and knew she had found the right place. He was not the most handsome feline, always small, but he made up for it with a big personality every day he lived.
We were comforted by his rituals and set the clock by them. In the morning, he scratched at my bedroom door at 6:00 am. I never needed an alarm. He sat quietly on the bathroom rug while I dried my hair and then trotted off to the Wedgewood bowl in the living room, the home of his cat treats. His favorite thing to do was lean up against my daughter's leg as she did her homework every night. He never said a word, ever. But his closeness told us how much he cared. Being the only male in the house, he liked to show off once in a while and performed a series of antics that kept us in hysterics. He was neat and clean, proud and gallant. He was a prince.
Today the veterinarian sent us his paw print with a card. I called to verify that it was really his print. We have his collar with the tinkling bell too and we will frame them together as soon as we can bear it. For now, the house is quiet and still and we really miss him. We look for his tiny face around every corner. He always greeted me when I closed the door and followed at my heels until I was settled after dinner. That was his time to jump up on the couch and wordlessly crowd beside me - his warmth felt through my clothes. He's just not here anymore.
We had no idea he was sick until the day he died and despite his age, we weren't really ready. But we kissed him and thanked him, stroked him through our tears. He really was never any bother even at the end. We will miss our Prince, the man in the fur pajamas. For me, my grief is palpable - it stings. I will especially miss how very nice he was to come home to. Rest in peace, dear little Buddy. Thank you for 17 years of love of laughter.