So long, Buddy
Wow, two posts in the course of four days? What’s going on?!? Who am I?
I had a few things that were on my mind and one of them is the imminent departure of my cat. His name is Buddy.
No, he’s not sick. He’s not dying. Nothing like that.
But he’s lonely. And it’s all my fault.
A little history: When I first got Buddy, I was working from home. Self-employed. I was there all the time. And he was there all the time. My partner at the time was also home during the day, and there was another cat to play with. But then, if you read through these blog posts, you’ll discover that there was a rather sudden breakup, leaving me having to downgrade and figure out what to do next. I was left with two cats in an apartment really designed for none. I did my best to make it work, but there just simply wasn’t enough space. Add to that a roommate who is not really cat-friendly, and it cuts the space down even more. Sprinkle in a new job that keeps me gone for extended periods of time, and it just came down to the only decision that I could make: I would have to re-home my cats.
I made it work for a long time. I didn’t want to give my cats away. They had been my friends, my confidantes, my pals on days when I sat and wondered why I didn’t have as many friends as I would like. There was something refreshing about seeing them at the front door when I would come home, hearing their meows when I’d open up a can of food for them, hearing their affectionate purrs as I stroked their head.
I admit that I am mostly a cat person. Dogs are great, but they’re a lot of work. And cats are independent, self-sufficient. And, I truly believe this, much smarter than we give them credit for. Yes, they’re an animal — but they seem to be so incredibly perceptive.
My other cat, who now has a new home, seemed to feel sadness when the first cat I owned had expired from cancer. She moped, she would look in the box for her friend, she seemed to be absolutely miserable. Which is how Buddy came into the picture. He was only eight weeks old, and I adopted him from the New York Human Society. Well, he adopted me.
I went in to pick out a new cat for Daisy (the other cat) to have a friend, and this little orange ball of fur came up and loved me instantly. Jumped on my shoulder, and started nuzzling right away. And he would follow me around the house, so he quickly became my buddy…and then it became his name. It was supposed to be something regal and awesome — Shere Khan, Lionel — but Buddy stuck.
The two did NOT get along. Daisy hated Buddy, Buddy terrorized Daisy.
Now imagine that reign of terror in a small apartment. It was enough. They were fighting anywhere and everywhere. On the floor, in the hall, on my bed, on my face. I got scratched a few times from their scuffles in the middle of the night.
I had to make the decision that I did, and gave Daisy a new home. It just so happened that a friend was looking for a mature cat, and she adopted her. And I’ve seen all the pictures of Daisy. She’s so incredibly happy. Peaceful, loved, and completely at home in her new digs. It makes me happy to know she’s okay, that she didn’t go back to a shelter, possibly to be never adopted.
And now, with Buddy, he’s going to my ex-partner. So, I guess everything comes full circle. But yet, I can’t help but feel some melancholy around the situation.
He’s a good cat, and full of personality. But with me being gone all day long, and him having no one to play with, him left alone from morning until night, it’s just not fair to him. It feels like he’s in a large 800 square foot prison. He can’t go out and hunt (we’re city dwellers) and he has no one else to play with.
Before you eviscerate me, readers, please know that I gave this a lot of thought. I knew that I had to find a new home for Buddy, but it was for Buddy’s well-being. Not my own. I love having the cat around. I just didn’t think it was fair for him to be alone all the time. And work situations aren’t going to be changing anytime soon, as much as I would like them to.
I reached out to my former partner, as he loved these animals as much as I do, and I asked him if he was interested in taking Buddy. I didn’t want to have to re-home him, but was going to, and wanted to give him first crack at it. He said he would take him.
I felt relieved. At least Buddy would be going to someone who cared for him — not being left to a cage somewhere where he might or might not be adopted. That was the part that was the most difficult; I couldn’t fathom the idea of Buddy not being adopted and loved. And it hurt me so to think that I couldn’t give him the attention that he needed and deserved.
I remember when I moved across the country with Buddy. He was terrified and he hid under the bed at a friend’s. And nothing would coax him out. I leaned down next to the bed, and saw his huge eyes, looking at me, recognized, but terrified.
Buddy had been a great duet partner when I would sing around the house, or even a captive audience member. I would be singing to myself, and before I knew it, I had this cat sitting at my side who was watching intently. I’d finish my song, and he would come and rub up against me, giving his approval. I’d start singing again, and he’d lay down, that peaceful content look on his face.
Trying to coax him out, I thought that maybe he might respond to my voice, so I started to sing to him. It was a little made up song — something along the lines, “Buddy, Buddy, it’s okay, Buddy, Buddy, come out and play.” After a few minutes – his head popped out from under the bed, and he was nuzzling up against me again. He felt safe.
So, tonight will be Buddy’s last night in my apartment. Gosh, I’m a sentimental old fool. I write that sentence and tears come to my eyes.
Tonight, he’ll get the most treats he can stomach, he’ll get all the playing with he can get, and he’ll get his coat brushed – a new pastime of his that he absolutely loves. I’ll stroke his head. I’ll sing him a little song, and tell him what a handsome boy he is, and how lucky I was to have had him in my life. And how I’m going to miss him, but I know that he’ll be much happier being in a place where he can be played with all the time, loved all the time, and given the attention that such a wonderful cat deserves.
I don’t really expect people to give me sympathy over this. This is a choice that I’m making of my own volition, and with a heavy heart. But it’s because of that heart that I have to make this choice. I can’t see him suffer anymore at home — alone, by himself for almost 12 hours a day, with no interaction.
I think this blog is really more to work through these feelings, as I feel so on the fence about this. I KNOW in my heart that I’m making the right decision. And yet, i can’t help but feel sad about the whole thing. Like I’m abandoning a child. Like I’m a horrible person because I’m giving up on something, an animal, who has only known me for his entire life, and has only shown unconditional love. Being beside me through the worst breakup of my life, traveled, sat by my side when the nights were lonely, kept me company on weekends, and was just another presence in a life that seems to be so permeated by solitude. His beautiful eyes looking at me, whether for approval or just to say, “Hey, I’m here.”
Okay, I have to pull it together before I completely embarrass myself with these tears..
If there’s any silver lining in all of this, it’s that he’s going to someone Buddy knows, who Buddy also loves and who loves Buddy right back. He’s not going to a shelter, he’s going to a safe, warm environment.
So, thank you, Buddy, for everything. For the last seven years of being faithful, of being not only a good pet, but a good friend. I wish I could only have been half the friend that you have been. Please know how incredibly difficult this is for me, and I’m only doing it because I know you deserve better than I’m able to give you.
Take care, Buddy.