I am currently writing this as a short tribute to a cat who has been our faithful companion for almost 20 years. The photo you see is Buddy curled up and nestled next to my wife in bed, as he is what we call her “velcro cat”.
For anyone with a pet of any kind, even the humble goldfish, you will fully comprehend what I am about to say. These animals are precious and they all live in the moment. They don’t know hunger or pain, but they do understand attachment. What I mean is that you will never hear them complain about hunger; if you don’t feed them they will starve to death and continue to stay by your side. If only people were as loyal and caring as our pets.
As I write this Buddy is still alive, but not for long as he is sick and cannot eat. He looks at me and asks nothing more than to go outside and explore his territory as he has always done. This morning I dug a grave for him as I have to go out of town and my wife will be left with the very sad and emotional chore of burying him before I return. I said my goodbyes to him this morning. I don’t believe he will survive more than a couple days. The vet says there is nothing we can do unless we put him to sleep. But he isn’t exhibiting any indication of pain, he just keeps doing the things he loves to do, wander the property and deliver mice to our doorstep to keep us well fed.
We have two cats which are brother and sister. They have been in the family since they were little kittens. They started as barn cats, truly. We kept them in the barn to keep the mice down and fed them in the barn. But we began to see the food dish empty so fast that we suspected other animals were eating their food. Indeed, after live-trapping about 50 racoons, we finally decided to feed them on the back porch just outside the sunroom. But even then, the racoons began to make their way to the porch, so the cats were invited to come into the three seasons sunroom ONLY TO EAT. And then, we would put them out.
However as the temperatures dropped, we took pity on them and decided to let them come into the sunroom AND NO FURTHER. And since it was cold out there, we decided to turn on an electric heater so they could be warm. But the slider into the sunroom, when open, gave them the opportunity to sit at the threshold and stare at us since they obviously wanted to WATCH TV WITH US. So the rule was that they could come into the living room only (and [why not]the kitchen to eat where the food could be kept fresh and away from those BAD racoons.
We began to notice that they looked longingly at the soft leather couch and chair that we sat upon, and we didn’t feel it mattered since they could see the TV better anyway. So now they had reached the inner sanctum of our living quarters and positioned themselves right next to us whenever we were in the house – BUT NEVER THE BEDROOMS, NEVER EVER THE BEDROOMS!
The photo in this blog is a picture of Buddy in, you guessed it, the bedroom. Not only is he in the bedroom, he has now insinuated himself (along with his sister) into our bed. You can’t get any closer than that. How did they do that? Why did we let ourselves become so connected with fur and flesh that we would consistently break our rules and give them (almost) anything they wanted?
If only world leaders could live in the moment free of all the constraints of worries about future threats that never would arise, except for the “precautionary” steps those leaders take to prevent them from happening. If everyone in the world would let go of the past and only focus on the present and what is good about it, we wouldn’t have mass murders. If only everyone were just like our cats or every “dumb” animal, there would be total harmony in the world. And, it would put most of the attorneys out of work.
If you don’t have, or never had pets, you probably won’t understand the pain I feel as I look at Buddy. Years ago, I had the very unpleasant task of putting down a horse that, much like Buddy, had connected with me. The night of that event, even though Buddy ALWAYS WITHOUT EXCEPTION sat next to my wife as we all watched TV, he sat right next to me that entire night. Draw your own conclusions. I have mine.