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Paws & Reflect

Letting go of our furry friends is never easy. We love so deeply that is why it hurts so much. Instead of dwelling on the grief, I would rather reflect on the good times.

First, I apologize to my friends and members of this blog for being among the missing the last couple of months. My focus has been on the care and comfort of our beloved Buster in his final days. He was so special and I miss him so much. The wounds are too fresh to dwell on the end. Let us instead, remember his legend and legacy.

The Life and Times of Buster

"Oh, look at what we have here"

The beginning was many years ago and no one knows for certain when it all began exactly. It had to be at least 16 years ago but could very well be 20. A safe bet would be that Buster was born somewhere around 18 years ago. My grandmother passed away in 2008 (15 years ago) and Buster was here around a few years before that. It's neither here nor there, only to say he lived a long, full cat life.

We don't know much about Buster's biological mother either. All we know is that his mother dropped him off on our cousin's porch. He was so small he would fit in your hand. My aunt took him in and bottle-fed him. At some point when he was a few months old, my aunt brought him here, to live with her mother, my grandmother.

You've got a friend in me

His name should be Buster

"You can touch him two times, the third time he'll bust you"

Buster grew up outdoors and had a healthy fear of people. By that I mean, he knew who he could trust and who he couldn't. The list of those he trusted was very short. Pretty much the one(s) who fed him and that was it. He dealt with people he didn't trust in one of two ways, by either hiding or attacking. For the most part, he kept his distance. His best friend was my grandmother's dog, Dixie Velvet, who treated him as her own by licking him constantly all the days of her life.

I was keen to make friends with him early on by seeking out his attention when I dropped in for a visit. It's true, I have never met a cat I didn't like, but by far, Buster was the most beautiful cat I have ever laid eyes on. I loved his 'grumpy old man' temperament too. He was feisty and wise beyond his years. To be accepted into his small circle of trust was a great honor that I treasured close to my heart.

My big beautiful fur baby

Fast Forward

"Hey old friend, remember me?"

Seven years ago, Buster found himself alone here on the farm. Since the most recent caretakers of our farmhouse in Buster's lifetime, my family passed away. So, my aunt and I took turns ensuring Buster had food and water until I was able to return to the farmhouse to take over the reins.

It couldn't have come at a better time. A time when both of us needed a friend. Buster needed to care for him full-time and I was dealing with the loss of my father. He was such a comfort to me. It is hard to explain but we shared an emotional connection, one of trust and understanding.

Buster being up in years didn't need to be spending nights outside defending himself from other cats and potential predators. No more cold wintery nights either. While enjoying the lap of luxury but having lived his whole life outdoors he wasn't keen on being indoors ALL the time and I didn't have any desire to take that freedom from him either. So, we compromised and I imposed a curfew somewhere between 10 - 11 pm.

Life with Buster

"He's got cattitude"

My memories of Buster could fill many books. What stands out the most is his nature. He was large and in charge. I enjoyed watching his movements, slow and sure. Walking low to the ground, sticking to the perimeters, staying in the shadows, and carefully looking before crossing the driveway. It was very rare, if ever, that he would cross the yard in the open. He would stay close to the house and travel carefully from one thing to another. A tree, barn, bush, or a parked tractor, etc. His wariness is what kept him alive for so long.

These last few years strengthened the bonds of our friendship. Buster was always on guard and had little patience for foolishness like a wise old man. At the same time, he was very playful and young at heart. We filled our days easily coexisting. He had his routine that consisted mostly of checking the perimeter, grooming, and sleeping. He was very curious and always nearby while I was working on projects. Supervising, of course, and watching my back.

Time to say goodbye, for now

Buster was more than a pet; he was my friend and I miss him. His passing left a big hole in my old heart. To be with him, these past few years especially, have been some of the fondest years I have had for quite some time. Buster was a blessing I will be forever grateful for. I hope I was as much of a friend to him as he was to me.

Farewell old friend until we meet again

Buster circa 2005ish - November 08, 2023

I love you always

If you have furry friends, go hug them and offer some head scratches. Thank you for reading. Take care and have a blessed day.

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