saying goodbye to my little friend, my cat Button
My best friend passed away around 1:30 in the morning of November 7th, 2012. He was my cat, Button.
The end was a bit sudden. He'd had issues with crystals in his urine, and had been hospitalized twice for this ailment, once in August of this year. But this time, he was too far gone. He started howling around the 4th, and I knew what was happening. But I also knew this time there was no coming back. My little fella who was once a robust 16 pounds (a cat you needed two hands to hold) was down to about 8 or so. His spine was visible through the hairless skin on his body. I kept expecting him to get better. He had been running around like a young cat, leaping and skipping, until about a week prior. He pulled the heating vent in the living room out, and crawled inside to get warm. I thought it was funny at the time, but he was so sick. And I was blind to his pain until he started howling.
On the night of the 6th, he crawled into a space behind the bookcase and he was hurting. I stroked his head and talked to him. He purred a little. But I could tell this was the end. He tried to get up and wash himself, but fell over in pain. It was then that I talked to the Lord and told him to take Button now and end my friend's suffering. I left Button alone to do some internet stuff, and when I got back, I found him lying by the open heat vent. But he wasn't breathing. He was gone. My poor little fella had died. And the Lord answered my prayer.
I didn't want another cat. I really didn't. My beloved Butterscotch disappeared one summer night in 2003, and I was devastated. He just never came home one night. People saw him or claimed to see him afterwards, but he loved being outdoors, and didn't want to be an indoor cat. So I didn't want any more animals.
But one October night of that year, I got a phone call at work from my mother, whose home I shared. We had a new gray kitten. He was only five weeks old, and had been rescued by a co-worker of my brother-in-law. The little fella had been separated from his mother and siblings, spending two days under a truck mewing until he let people touch him. And while my sister was the unofficial cat rescuer around town (she had nine at the time), she thought enough of my mother and me to give us this little animal.
I got home and there's this little gray head wrapped in a blue comforter on the couch. And he wouldn't shut up. Mew, mew, mew. The kitten was safe and warm, and was introducing himself to me. I thought he was cute, but I was uncommittal. Never again, I thought. No more loving a cat.
So I went downstairs to play on the internet, when I heard this mewing from the top of the stairs, He kept mewing, so I picked him up(he fit in the palm of my hand) and brought him down with me. The next night, he did it again, so I ignored him. After a while, I heard, MEW, PLOP, MEW, PLOP, MEW, PLOP, until he made it down the stairs on his own. He peeked his head around a corner and walked right in. He loved me from day one, but I wasn't ready to love him back yet. I did admire his gumption, though.
We couldn't think what to call him, until Mom said, "He's cute as a Button." So he became Button, the Wonder Kitty. And he was a joy to have around the house, although he didn't like being around people the way Butterscotch did. Button was a bit of a psycho kitty. If he liked you, he loved you. If he didn't, you got hissed at.
He chose me as his favorite person, always following me around the house, and when I lay in the loveseat in the living room, he'd sit on the floor, look at me, and I'd say, "Oh, all right! Come on," and he'd leap onto my stomach, nuzzling himself under my arm. It was kind of disgusting, because he would sit there and drool. He'd be happy as a lark, purring, and all this drool would come out of his mouth. So I'd have a wet pit full of saliva. Lovely.
He would go outside and run his little legs off. Before our family holiday celebration of that year, he disappeared. We thought we'd lost him until we heard some mewing coming from the neighbor's yard. Button had climbed to the top of their 20-foot tree and couldn't get down. So my niece and I had to go knock on our neighbor's door and ask for permission to go out on their deck and retrieve the goofball. The tree was only about 8 feet high from their deck, so we had to go up on a step ladder and get him. He never climbed that tree again.
As he grew, he developed into a beautiful cat. When the winter months came, he would grow this beard, this little lion's mane, making him even more beautiful. He liked the snow. He'd wander in it, and you'd see these little paw prints all over the yard. But he didn't stay out too long.
In the spring and summer months, he would sit outside, and the birds in our tall tree would chirp at him. One time when they did that, he opened his lower jaw, and chirped back. It was one of the funniest things I ever saw him do. It was like, he was saying, "Screw you, I ain't going anywhere."
Once, my mother came in the house crying. She said that Button had captured a little sparrow, breaking one of his wings. There were teeth marks in the bird's back, and it was afraid to move. Button was just sitting there quietly. My mom took the bird to the vet, and they fixed him up and put him up a local bird sanctuary. She didn't punish Button. Why? Because she said that was in a cat's nature, and it was wrong to punish him for that. But he didn't do it any more.
That story was told at my mother's funeral in 2007, and it got a big chuckle from everybody. But I couldn't afford the house on my own, so I bought a mobile home, and Button and I moved in. I was warned that our manager of the park, who lived right across from me, hated cats. Plus, animals weren't allowed to roam around without a leash. The problem with that was that Button spent a lot of his day outside. What to do, what to do,...
I started letting Button out at night, and keeping my front door ajar, no matter what the weather. Button, being a dark gray cat, was not easily seen. And I kept hoping my manager never saw him wandering around outside. But Button didn't make it easy. He used to sit on my car. If Mr. Norris had picked that time to wander outside, I was toast. But Button kept doing it. Little jerk liked to make himself conspicious. When he sat on a neighbor's car, I yanked him off of there and brought him in the house.
A few months after living there, I was feeling despondent. The house Mom and I owned hadn't sold, and I feared I would run out of money before it did. I missed Mom and didn't particularly like trailer park living. I was counting every penny, and was miserable. The last straw was when the room air conditioner I had to buy because the heat pump didn't work started spraying out water. So I had to shut it off. I fell apart. I wanted to end it all. I didn't want to go on living.
But just then, in my moment of despair, Button jumped on my chest. I looked at him, purring, and I broke down, crying. I apologized to him for this living situation and how he had to be a prisoner of this trailer. He nuzzled close, and kept purring. He saved my life that night. I was ready to swallow every pill in the house, but he stopped me from doing so. That's what a best friend does for ya.
There were plenty of misadventures to follow. He would jump on me in bed occasionally, sitting on my shoulder purring, with his paws on my neck. And then he would move around, driving me nuts, and eventually, he'd get up and either meow for about 10 minutes or go somewhere else in the house.
He started having some problems in January of 2008. He'd been peeing in some boxes rather than his ltter box, hising occasionally. I chalked it up to Button being Button. But one Saturday night, he sat in the hallway and let out a blood curdling yell. I promised to take him to the vet on Monday, but when I came home that Sunday night, I found Button lying underneath the coffee table, his eyes glazed over, unable to move. I took him to the emergency room, where it was found that he had crystals in his urine. Three days later, he came home with one of those cones around his head. He was saved, and still being a young cat, recovered fairly nicely. A week later, he was the same old Button.
But he hated doctors. One of the funniest things about this was at one of his return visits to the vet. They needed to get a urine sample out of him. I had a bad cold, so I watched the doctor take him to another room to get a sample. I heard this hiss and saw Button with his legs open, peeing on the doctor. He comes back in the room and said, "Well, we put a stick in the urine he left on the table." And my naughty cat was carried by a nurse back into his carrier.
Button would continue to delight me by doing weird stuff, like sitting on the edge of the rolltop desk and trying to the doorknob open so he could get outside. He would sit on the toilet for a week, in the tub for another week, on top of the dryer for another, and just pick places to sit down and take it easy. He was also my best buddy, sharing a tuna fish supper with me, or just jumping on me and purring. He was a wonderful companion, and a very loving cat.
In the summer of this year he got sick again and he went through treatment. He seemed to get better, but his weight dropped. He kept eating well, and sitting on me a lot, so I didn't think anything of it until it was too late.
I buried my little friend on Sunday. He was wrapped in a throw that I had never used before, and placed in a shallow grave, underneath a pine tree. I guess by now he has gone onto Rainbow Bridge with the other animals in Heaven, soaking up the sunshine, running and playing, drinking fresh water, all stretched out under the shade of a tall tree. And then, he saw my Mom, and ran up to her, where she would pet him and love him, and introduce him to my great Aunt Dell, who loved kitties. So now, he's okay.
Anyone who has never had the love an animal can't understand what all of us go through when we lose a pet. Pets are better than people, because their love is unconditional, and endless. Bye-bye, my Button. I hope to see you again.