I started 2016 by cleaning up my blog. As I work back through my posts, reformatting the photos and fixing or removing bad links, I realize how much I wrote about our cat Buddy over the years. And that I could never bring myself to write a post saying that he died in February 2015 – almost a year ago.
We got Buddy in December 2005, when he was six years old. Our previous cats, Butch and Spike, had both died earlier that year. We had no intention of getting another cat, but a friend needed a home for a cat and we took him without even meeting him first. We loved him immediately.
One of my first photos of Buddy, sitting in the January sun in our Santa Fe garden in 2006. What a beauty! We think he was part Maine Coon.
Buddy lived with us in Santa Fe from December 2005 until we all moved to Boulder in November 2009. Then we moved him to England! In early May 2010 he flew from Denver to Heathrow and we moved to a cottage in the Cotswolds. He seemed to adapt instantly to England. He liked the dense gardens and the mild weather.
Buddy was with us in three different houses in the Cotswolds – a cottage in Nailsworth, a house in a mill by the river in Painswick and a bungalow in Painswick. Each house was chosen with him in mind, on a not-busy street, with a garden he could explore, and with a landlord who was happy for us to have our cat.
The last place he lived with us, the bungalow in Painswick, was perfect for him. We were at the end of a private driveway with only two other houses. There was hardly any passing traffic. Our neighbors were cat lovers and liked Buddy. Our closest neighbor had a wild area at the bottom of her garden where Buddy, and other neighborhood cats, spent a lot of time. We had a large garden and we liked to get him to run fast from one end to the other. The photo below shows him running.
Six months after this photo, Buddy got sick. We spent two months trying to get him through it but in the end our vet put him to sleep with us holding him. He was 15 years old.
While this was happening, I posted on Facebook and my friends helped me through everything. The last two months were exhausting as we, and the vet, tried to figure out what was happening. In the end, it was his heart.
Buddy was an exceptional cat. He was a real “Buddy” – he liked to be with us. He was smart. He was beautiful. He loved having people come to the house. He always raced to the front door when the doorbell rang. He didn’t bring dead or not-yet-dead animals into the house often. He was very concerned about his coat and groomed daily. He enjoyed his food (well, except for fish flavors). He loved being outside.
We were very attached to Buddy. I don’t think it is because we never had children. In my opinion, having a pet is nothing like having a child. Friends of ours with children get just as attached to their cats and dogs and we did to our cats. I think it is because we spent so much time with him. We both worked at home, so he was always around. We did travel a lot, but we had a friend who moved in and lived with him while we were away, so he got to be at home with someone he knew and liked.
It has taken me almost a year to write this. I have gone through all the stages of grief and am now mostly at acceptance – but still get angry that we didn’t have him for longer. We lost our previous cats when they were 14 and thought Buddy might live quite a bit longer than that.
We both feel very lucky to have had Buddy in our lives. We don’t have plans to get a new cat. We’ve had 23 years of exceptional cats. Butch and Spike from kittens to 14 years, then Buddy from six to 15 years.
Goodbye Buddy! I miss you!