Goodbye, Buddy cat (21 June 1999 – 27 June 2005)
(Written 5 August 2005)
About three years ago, one night my cat, Buddy, without provocation, started attacking everything in sight including me and my other cat, Wizard. I managed to lock him up and he calmed down about 24 hours later. His behavior scared me and I took him to the vet. He was diagnosed with kitty depression. I was given some medicine to calm him down. It did. After about two weeks he started spitting the pills back out. But, his behavior was more or less back to normal. He ripped most of his whiskers out at this time. Over the next two years, he would have brief fits of aggression, but as long as I left him alone (and Wizard did, too (but he learned his lesson early)), he would quickly calm down, but he was still wild enough that his whiskers never really regrew. I began moderating my own actions to keep Buddy from 'firecrackering' as one of my friends called it. (Including foregoing adopting a kitten that I was asked to take (and actually wanted to take).) At a checkup with the vet during these years, I was told if he got any worse, I should probably put him down. I did not want to. Buddy was my first cat (though I’ve had cats since I was born - but they were my parents’ cats) and a very intelligent and fun cat. There was still enough of the normal Buddy left that I was okay with the fits.
In October I moved about 70 miles, so that I was near work and school. This move freaked out Buddy and he began to have his aggressive fits more often - and now they were much more aggressive and last longer, to the point that I would open the door to the backyard and let him out of the house so I would not be injured. In Denver, I was slowly growing away from my best friend. My other friends all claimed to be allergic to cats and also would not make the 20 mile drive to my house, so I never had people over. In the Springs, my friends are much closer and my home has become the favored place to hang out. My brother also returned to the area with his year-old daughter. All of a sudden I’m having a lot of people over.
Wizard hides from people, but Buddy would come out and be sociable. But his moods are like quick-silver. And I’ve seen him going from one extreme to the other within moments. Buddy bit me four years ago (my fault), but since then I’ve not been able to react as quick to Buddy as I should. Wizard is not a problem for some reason. In January at the yearly physical (but with a new vet), Buddy completely lost it to the point that the vet had to put him under general anesthesia to give him a simple physical and his rabies shot. I discussed the behavior with the vet and we tried medication again. He used to be easy to medicate. No more. The vet kept him overnight for observation, but ultimately I was asked to consider euthanasia again. As spring went by, he didn’t as bad as he did the day of the vet visit, but his behavior was quickly becoming un-Buddy-like. Buddy was more quickly disappearing at this point and I was coming to the realization that Buddy was a now constant danger to anyone and I didn’t want my friends and family hurt and that I was going to have to put Buddy down soon.
The last Sunday in June, Buddy lost it really bad again and I had to open the door to the backyard to give him a new target to attack. My friends had left so Wizard and I were the only ones in danger. This was about 9 at night. I kept going to the door to see if he calmed down about every half hour. Initially he hissed and growled at me. Near midnight he attacked the screen, the wood on the deck and jumped at the screen some more. Frustrated, I went to bed. At one thirty I heard him get into a fight. It was one of the numerous foxes that live in my neighborhood. Buddy lost. The fox must have taken Buddy’s body with him, I’ve not found a trace of him, nor have my neighbors. I knew it was time to put him down, but his death is still devastating to me (it has taken me six weeks to explain it). Buddy was six years old and one week.
Wizard needs company. I got Wizard as company for Buddy when I started working an hour and half from home. Wizard is going crazy without Buddy. I’ve been looking into kittens and I have finally found a kitten. It has been hard for a couple of reasons. I have to explain Buddy’s death to them (one group felt I was being negligent for letting him out, even though I felt my safety was at major risk). Also, I want a fairly young, male kitten that is not a grey tabby (which is what Buddy was) or an orange tabby (like Wizard). I finally found a shelter that has an eight-week old black DSH male. He isn’t neutered yet. That was supposed to happen this week but he got a kitty cold. So I should be able to get him late next week. (Good in a way. I’m out of town this week and want to be able to supervise Wizard’s introduction to the new guy and would feel awful locking up a cat in small room for more than a day.) The shelter is calling him Frodo, but I am going to rename him, as that is the name of my brother’s cat (who actually looks a lot like Buddy). I'm very happy to have a kitten again.
To help me remember the good things about Buddy:
- He liked water and was forever getting in the toilet and shower. When he was a kitten, he would sit in my parents’ dog’s water bowl. He would swirl the water to see it move.
- He was leash trained. I really enjoyed taking him with me to check the mail.
- He was a jumper and could jump 6 foot from a stand still.
- Until last year, he could only squeak. He would open his mouth to meow and very few could hear it due to pitch.
- He was trained to come when called and to get up or down off of beds on command.
- He played fetch and would often initiate games.
- He liked to snuggle under the blankets and under Wizard.
- He greeted me at the door every day without fail.
- He would drag his leash around the house (kind of like a security blanket).
- As a kitten he would jump onto oscillating fans and just ride them. (He had to stop once he got to the size where they would fall over.)
- When Buddy missed me, he used to hit the greeting button on my answering machine and play the greeting. (It was in my voice.) He even did it a couple times when I was at home, working hard on something and ignoring him.
It has taken me this long to write this without completely breaking down. I’ve already had panic attacks resulting from a loss of concentration and the impending end of the class session.