Buddy came to live with DEW and me, DEW’s Lovely Partner, when he was about 4 years old. We lived in Northeast Minneapolis at the time, and there were a number of cats that roamed our neighborhood. We referred to them by their distinguishing characteristics—Flop-Eared Kitty, Brown Kitty, etc. It was apparent from their colors or general health that they had homes. It became clear over time, however, that Blue-Eyed Kitty had been abandoned, so we began putting food out for him. When he came to eat, we would say “There’s our pal” or “There’s our little buddy.” Eventually, as these things usually go, we decided to take him in.
We hatched our plot. I would hold the “cat-cart” at the ready, DEW would pick him up and plop him in the cart, and off to the vet we would go for shots and a check-up. Blue-Eyed Kitty, however, was not amenable to plopping. DEW picked him up, but he fought out of DEW’s grasp. Blue-Eyed Kitty was young, wiry, and very fast. DEW is now, and was then, many wonderful things. He was not, however, young, wiry, or fast. So the reader will understand that when Blue-Eyed Kitty went streaking across the street, through the neighbors’ yard and into the bushes and DEW, in a momentary delusion of grandeur, went chugging after him, the sight was, well, quite a sight.
This episode was the first indication of the great humor that “our little buddy” would bring to our lives when he did eventually submit to adoption and officially become Buddy. “Funny like a Bud” became a catch-phrase in our household. Whether going from the table to the stove to the top of the refrigerator to sleep in the roasting pan, riding all the way to Nebraska upside-down in his cat-cart with his paw over his eyes, or trying to open doors (he knew how they worked and would try to reach up and turn the knob with both paws), it seemed like he was always making us laugh.
If he wasn’t doing something amusing, Buddy could usually be found snuggling with one of us. Snuggling may actually have competed with eating as his favorite pastime. He loved to have DEW cradle him in his arms like a baby; if DEW tried to put him down before he was ready, Buddy would grab him around the neck and hold on. He slept with us every night. Depending on his mood and how warm or cold it was, he might be draped across the top of a pillow (which was know as “sleeping on our heads”) or spooning with his head tucked under my chin, or under the covers, curled up in the crook of DEW’s legs. We always knew when he was particularly relaxed and content—at those times, he drooled.
At the end of July, we noticed some mild indications that he was not quite up to par. Nothing to be overly concerned about we thought, but given that he was 17 we decided to have him checked out. We were devastated to learn that he had lymphoma and that it was very aggressive. Equally aggressive interventions were possible, but would only prolong his life for a few months. We agreed to try one moderate intervention. It didn’t work. We watched as, over the course of one short week, he lost substantial weight and became rapidly weaker, to the point of staggering when he walked. He was barely eating, and spending almost all of his time hidden away at the very back of a closet. We knew that the kindest thing we could do was end his suffering. On August 8th we had him put to sleep.
I would like to close this eulogy with words that I spoke to him many times during his life with us. These were also the last words that I said to him as I held him on my lap at the vet’s office while he received his final injection. “Mr. Buddy. We love you very much. You are the best boy in the history of boys."