Saying Goodbye to Buddy « Shoot Me Now

Shoot Me NowSaying Goodbye to Buddy

Saying Goodbye to Buddy
Published on Saturday, October 3, 2009 by

About 13 years ago I agreed to take in a cat that was soon to be homeless.  His owner was sick and unable to care for him.  I’m more of a dog than a cat person, but was excited at the new member of our pet family.   His name was Buddy, and at that time he was estimated to be about five years old.

Buddy was the coolest cat I’ve ever met.   He loved to be outside chillin’.  There is no other word for what he was doing.  Fearless of all dogs, Buddy was known to walk right up to German Shepherds and other big dogs being walked down our street.  The dogs were often so surprised at his presence and cool cat attitude that they almost seemed to nod to him as they walked by.  Yup, that was my Buddy.

Fast forward 13 years later, Buddy is… was… about 18.  And over the past year, Buddy was getting thin.  He ate well, acted completely healthy and… well… he still pulled stuffed animals out of my daughter’s room for a little bit of romantic entertaining when he was able to get away with it.  (I swear the cat would light up a cigarette once we were all in bed.)

Two days ago Buddy walked up to me and I knew.  I just knew.  Buddy was dying of old age.  Overnight he went from my totally cool and healthy Buddy to a very tired, wobbly and thin cat.  He went downhill – FAST.  So fast that I even made an appointment for yesterday to have him put down.  I did NOT want him to suffer.

But then I was vetoed.  By the kids, my mom and my friend.  They reminded me, “Buddy is not sick.  He is dying.  It is nature.  Let him stay at home and die.  He is not suffering.  He would hate going to the vet.  It would stress him out and make things end badly.  Just let him die at home.”

I simply can’t go in to the details.  It is too hard.  But to sum it all up, it has been a day and a half of second guessing, changing my mind, mourning, second guessing and listening to talk talk talk about life, death, dignity and second guessing again.  Sitting and telling Buddy it is OK to go… no wait, I can’t get in to it.

Today at about 5:45 Buddy died.  I was on my way to church with the kids while my oldest stayed home to be with Buddy.  Just before I went in my son called me in tears.  Buddy had died in his arms.  (as I stop typing to choke back the tears… again)  This is something my son will have to carry with him forever.  I told him that he should feel comforted that Buddy waited until it was just the two of them.  The trust that Buddy had in David to wait and die in his arms alone…. more tears.

I’ve had to put down both a dog and a cat.  They were in pain and I was able to end it.  Letting Buddy die naturally was amazingly hard.  In the last 48 hours I’ve seen life turn to death the way nature designed it to happen.  What I’ve seen is gut wrenching.  But Buddy died the way he would have chosen to die.  No cold tables and needles.  Just the family around him as he slowly and quietly left his body.

So Rainbow Bridge is now home to one totally cool and chillin’ cat.  I will see him again, for sure.  But in the meantime, this is a sad, somber and lonely household.  This “I like cats a lot in OTHER people’s homes” person is so blessed to have had such a great cat for so long.

Please.  If you have a cat, go give him or her a nice scritch behind the ears for me.   And if you don’t have a cat, then give your other pet a snuggle.  Enjoy your pets while you have them.  Because I have found that 13 years sure goes by fast.

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