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The best cat of 22 years, and something remarkable.


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I had to say goodbye to my loyal cat and best friend, Buster yesterday. A friendship and bond that lasted 22 years.  I got him at 9 weeks old from a litter in which we were meant to take a different kitten, but he came running up to us and would not leave. We had brought a cat carrier to take the other kitten but he ran straight in as if to say, "here I am, now let's go". Although he had been promised to another family it was agreed we should have him. And from that day in April 2001 he has been with me, helping me through the difficult times, four house moves,  and three other cat friends joining our family. He was the most caring cat, always by the children's sides whenever they were upset, he'd be there trying to comfort them and always there on the bottom step of the stairs to greet you when you came home.

I got him not long after moving out of my parents house and stepping into the world on my own. He was the constant I could rely on from that day until this, and now I am broken, getting past this moment is insurmountable. I have lost grandparents, friends, nothing was like this. For his age he was in good health and showing no signs of decline apart from some hearing loss and stiff joints. However, one morning we noticed he had an infection of one eye, a visit to the vets diagnosed cat flu and prescribed an antibiotic injection for his eye. I work from home and cared for him continuously for three weeks, but he declined, stopped eating and was unable to get to his litter. It was then I made the hardest decision of my life, to end the life of my friend.

I wrapped him in a blanket, put him in his carrier and upon removing him at the vets I realised he had wet, I didn't care, I held him in his blanket like a baby, he used to love that from being a kitten, he just stared up at me while we waited, I knew he'd had enough and was asking for help, I'm certain he knew why he was there. That final hour holding him, the dampness of his blanket and the smell along with it, and then stroking his little head, looking into his eyes as the injection went in, that time is burned in my memory across all senses.

I'm not the least bit religious, I can't rationalise any way for there to be an afterlife, but in the moment I asked him to come visit me. For the rest of that day we kept occupied, went out, had dinner at a restaurant, anything to avoid missing those little routines with him. We have a three row abacus used to mark off when each cat has been fed throughout the day, seeing his marker remain unused and the space where his bed was that evening were heart breaking. 

That night we were completely exhausted and emotionally drained, we fell asleep early with our other cat in his usual space in the middle between our pillows. I never remember any of my dreams unless I am woken during them, that night I had a dream related to work, in the board room a revenue crisis, investors demanding, and as its a dream, nothing made a great deal of sense except the work crisis is real and thats why it was playing on my mind. Something pulled me from that dream, it just stopped, I was suddenly awake with the strong smell of cat urine right in front of my nose. I immediately thought it was because I held buster after he wet is blanket, and it must have soaked through to my skin and the smell was coming from me, but it didn't get to my clothes, I'd been in a restaurant after, there was no smell then or after, and I had showered later. I then thought it must the other cat sleeping on his pillow next to me, he usually asks to go out around 11pm but this night he had not, he'd slept through and maybe he had wet the pillow. I turned to check him, and realising he was fast asleep on a very dry pillow, that pungent smell, so recognisable to any cat owner, vanished instantly.

Was it my Buster, reaching out, trying his best to visit as I asked him to do.


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I am so sorry for your loss of your beloved Buster.  I lost 25 1/2 year old Kitty 1/6/20,  I hadn't planned on adopting another one but a feral cat called to me 1 1/2 years ago.

You can rest assured your kitty is at peace now...

The what ifs blame game happens to most of us going through early grief, it did me when my husband died nearly 18 years ago...it's not that we are guilty of anything but loving them, and the truth is feelings are not facts, but it's that we can't wrap our heads around what happened, and our mind is trying to find some different possible outcome so it searches all the what ifs...

Comfort for Grieving Animal Lovers

A Dangerous Villain: Guilt
Breaking the Power of Guilt
A Dangerous Villain: Guilt

I hope this short video brings you some comfort and peace.  Even if you don't believe, just consider the thought that MAYBE, just maybe...


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On 9/17/2023 at 8:45 AM, Steve-H said:

I got him at 9 weeks old from a litter in which we were meant to take a different kitten, but he came running up to us and would not leave. We had brought a cat carrier to take the other kitten but he ran straight in as if to say, "here I am, now let's go".

Oh gosh, that sounds a little like how we ended up with my husband's soulmate-in-a-cat, Penny.  She was the only purebred we ever bought, but my husband really wanted a petite-faced (not squished-face) Persian.  We've done our fair share of adopting rescues, so we went for it.  We found a reputable breeder through our vet and went to meet the litter.  Penny and one brother were identical twins in every way except gender.  We liked her brother and had decided to bring him home.  Penny was having none of it!  She had attached herself to my husband right away and made her choice.  So, when our backs were turned for a minute to sign the papers and agree to "no breeding," she pushed her brother out of the way and into his spot (that's what we assume, at least).  The breeder swooped "him" up and into the kennel box.  The next morning at the health check, our vet said, "You do realize you have a female, right?  You've listed male on the new patient forms."  About the same time, the breeder called our home (way before cell phones).  She was very apologetic and offered to bring Penny's brother to us to make the switch.  John told her in no uncertain terms that he was not letting Penny go.  And for 18 years she was a daddy's girl and a light in his life.  All our lives, but his especially.

I'm so sorry you have lost your special boy.  It helps very little, if at all, right now to know that you gave him a long and wonderful life.  No amount of time can ever be enough when you have such a special bond.  It matters so much that you were with him until his last breath.  You gave him that last great gift of love and took the pain on for yourself.  That's everything; it really is.

I don't claim to know what happens after we die, but believe we had signs from our Penny (and my soulmate-in-a-dog, Charlie).  I am positive that there have been signs from my husband here and there.  It's unexplainable and so I don't try to understand signs.  Instead, I accept them.  It sounds very much as if your handsome Buster gave you a sign.  That's a gift to treasure as you go through these painful first weeks and months of grieving.

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It helps to hear there are some people who understand. My extended family and friends have the attitude "its just a cat, get another one". To me, he was unique, can't be replaced, it was 22 years of our lives.

I'm struggling most with his last day and the event of that evening. To be awoken from a stressful dream by a strong odour in the room, on the bed, close to me, the recognisable smell of cat urine, the same smell that he had in his last hour at the vets because he had wet his blanket. To then rule out it was coming from me, or our other cat and at the moment of realisation nothing physical in the room was producing it and my thoughts went to him, it was gone. My wife keeps telling me maybe I was still dreaming. No, this scent woke me up from my dream and from sleep, I even picked up my phone from the charger to check the time as I knew what had just happened was significant, it was 01:45.

I'll be pouring over the logic of this for years.

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I am so sorry to hear about your loss of sweet Buster. I am sure it's been a very very tough week. :( The only saving grace was that you were there with him in his final moments and he went peacefully. So many pets are not so lucky. 

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