Thursday, January 08, 2015

Rosemary, that's for Remembrance - Remembering Buddy

This picture of Buddy out in the snow on the balcony is from March 18, 2011. Pandora was out there too.
(Buddy died Oct 30, 2014 written Jan 6, 2015, first posted Jan 8, 2015 )

Buddy and Valentine were the 2 kittens whose feral mother was killed either by a raccoon or a boy and a dog. They were in a cage in the shed. Something pulled the bolt on the cage. Something killed the mama cat, who had just been spayed.

I had tried to bring them in for the night. The idea was that they would go back into the carrier inside the big cage, and then I could pick them up and take them in. The big cage did not have a secure floor that i could have picked up. (My good big cage had Cheesecake in it, who had been badly beaten up by something, and was supposed to stay confined for a month. The vet was surprised he survived.)

But when I went out to bring them in, they were all wild-eyed, and didn't go into the carrier. I didn't make the connection. And, fatal move, I fed them out there.

So, probably the giant killer raccoon who also probably beat up Cheesecake, and whose 3 inches across footprints I had seen on my windshield, pulled the bolt, opened the cage, and killed the mama cat.

But she fought long enough for the kittens to escape. And because they were used to coming to my car, when I went to feed the feral cats behind where I used to work, the kittens found their way to the house.

So I fed them canned cat food for a few times, sitting out on the porch. Then I got the bright idea of tying a cord to the screen door, putting the can of cat food just inside it, and letting them go in, and pulling the cord to close the door.

It worked. Then I had wild kittens loose in the house. I do not recommend this idea.

Eventually I got them up into the bathroom, where I had started taming other cats, and then out onto the balcony with the others, when it was warm. Buddy was named for his liking to be friendly with other cats, and do his greeting ritual with them. He became very good friends with Dovey, although not with her brother Lovey. (They rolled off the roof in a fight once.)

Originally he was not pettable, except over the backs of his friends at feeding time.

But in recent years, after he was upstairs with (Cheesecake and?) Pandora and Bob and me, he did become pettable, and even liked sitting on my lap when he had the chance. And his tabby fur was very soft.

He was one of the only 2 of my old cats who were still alive when I brought Mom's cats here. I put Musketeer upstairs with Buddy and Pandora, since he had lived with us for a while, until Mom took him away.

Musketeer lasted an amazing year and a half, considering how skeletally thin he was. When he finally went, after he stopped moving, he woke up from time to time, and took a little water in his mouth from a syringe. I spent several days in the nearby chair to be with him.

When Pandora went, she only lasted a few days after she stopped moving around.

I was keeping the older cats separated from my kittens, as much as possible, because of the various disease possibilities. So Buddy got to be with them out on the balcony on warm days, without food or water there, but did not get to just live with us. Or he was outside while we were inside. Or he was in the room with the wood-stove and we were in the bedroom area.

I always meant to get a picture of his large Buddy-face outside the window, and little Rex's small tabby-face inside the window, since they were similar soft-furred tabbies, only Rex and his sisters are so much smaller.

But this summer he stopped going out the window onto the roof and balcony. He was getting thinner, very thin. His fur got harsh. I was trying to feed him more, but he stopped eating the canned food, just ate the liquid off of it. I should have brought him some grass. I should have taken him down outside into the grass. There was a fenced area, until a tenant tore it open.

I wasn't paying enough attention to him. I wasn't sitting with him. It wasn't wood-stove season. I spent time with my "kittens", but not with him. He called and I didn't always come. I didn't really notice when he stopped eating any dried food at all. I didn't try to give him canned food at every meal. He was still trying to move around, to the cat-box and the water dishes, the day he died. He died on my lap.

When I buried him, as I put his little light curled-up body into the grave, I suddenly thought "rosemary". I went to pull some rosemary off the old bush which Grandpa or Grandma probably planted. (Mom's sister's name was Rosemary.) I had never done that while burying a cat before.

But when I pulled at the trailing branches, some of them broke off with roots. So I planted them around the edge of the grave, and tossed the others into it. The rosemary was beginning to flower. It was just before a rain, and it rained a little bit every week or two this fall. The rosemary should survive. Maybe I'll try to find some rue too.

So I will always know where Buddy's grave is.

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