Downhome Magazine

A Tribute to Buddy - the C.F.A. Cat with a Newfie Heart

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In the fall of 2007, after the recent loss of her little dog, Sassy, my wife Judy brought home two young cats from the Moncton SPCA. I did not want any pets, yet she had brought home one "for" me, a black five-month-old male named Midnight, and a white, three-month-old female, for herself, named Bree.
The first hint of Midnight's personality came on the first night with us. I was sitting on the "throne" in the bathroom when he came in and jumped into my lowered pants! I then said to him, "You're a comedian! I'm going to change your name to Buddy," after Buddy Wasisname.

Shortly after he came to live with us, we had a bag of fish thawing in the sink in prep for supper and when we looked, he had taken the bag of fish and was heading out of the kitchen with it! Shortly after this he did the same thing with a bag of hard bread. I knew then that Buddy had a Newfie heart!

Another stereotypical Newfie trait was his frequent and ineffective attempts to force his amorous attentions on his companion, Bree. Her frequent squawks and hisses punctuated these encounters and brought down the "wrath of Judy" on Buddy!

One day, while we were still living in Moncton, I threw a broken vacuum cleaner belt on the floor near Buddy, and it scared him so much that he just popped straight up, about two feet off the floor. Afterwards he approached it cautiously. He gave us quite a laugh. There was seldom a dull moment when Buddy was around.

In May of 2010, Judy and I, and the two cats, moved to my hometown, King's Point, where I had a Cape Cod style house with three floors, including the basement. Buddy quickly took advantage of his free run of all three floors, and established lookout posts on all three. From these, he kept a sharp eye out for the squirrels, birds, neighbourhood cats, and other intruders, real and imagined. He was up and down the two flights of stairs many times daily, and he didn't walk, but ran up and down, with his loud footsteps sounding much like machine-gun fire!

He had many hiding and sleeping places, especially on the ground floor and upstairs. He also loved to spend time in our sunporch in the rocker, or on his bed on a table in one corner. He loved looking out the sunporch windows at anything that moved on the outside.

Buddy just could not resist running through any opened door to explore the room, sometimes refusing to leave when I left, especially the cold room where we store our veggies and preserves, and the sunporch in cold weather. In these instances, I would come out, shut the door and leave him a little while. When I reopened the door, he would run out of there at top speed to escape the cold.

Whenever we left the house for more than an hour he would greet us near the front door and demand his treats as compensation for our having left him alone.

On November 1, 2017, his companion, our beloved Bree, died at age ten, and suddenly, Buddy acquired new status as a much more pampered and "sooky' cat, and in the past year he just became more and more precious to us.

Buddy was also a bathroom cat. From early on in our relationship, Buddy would come into the bathroom practically every morning as I was sitting on the throne, throw himself up against the bathtub, and I would have to pet him with my foot - especially when he would turn belly-up so that I could stroke his belly. He'd stay there until I arose, and then depart. He did this up until his final illness.

Buddy also often slept on wet towels in the bathtub at night. He also had to accompany Judy when she would take a bath. Whenever he heard, or thought he heard, water running or gurgling down a drain in the bathroom, he would rush in to observe it - he was fascinated with it!

Buddy was very curious and had to be in the centre of things, or observing all that went on in the house from close range. Anything brought in from outside, from bags of groceries to vegetables from our garden, to home-grown catnip, had to be inspected thoroughly. Back one October, I had washed a bunch of potatoes and placed them in the sunporch to dry and Bud just had to inspect each new batch, sniffing them all over. When finished, he would resume his watch-patrol by the windows.

Buddy had his unique relationship with each of us. Several times each day, when Judy was reclining in her recliner watching TV (or dozing), Buddy would climb up and stretch out up and down her left arm and snooze right along with her. Needless to say, Judy loved this and now misses it terribly.

I was Buddy's petting slave. Often, as I sat on the loveseat watching Toni-Marie or Debbie on the evening news, I would have to share little pieces of fish or meat from my plate with him. He refused to eat what Judy offered, it had to be mine! During those times, he would also throw himself up against the arm and back of the loveseat, begging with his eyes and contortions for me to pet him. He often looked at me with what looked like love in his eyes.

When we would go upstairs to bed, Buddy would run up ahead and jump up onto the bed where he would strut back and forth while I was undressing, and then flop down for me to pet him until I finally pulled back the covers to get in. Sometimes he wouldn't even leave then.

My daughter, Jackie, who came in to feed and pet him daily while we were away in Moncton in October, as well as the staff at the vet clinic, where we took him in a vain attempt to get him well, all said 'He is a good little cat."

Buddy's last real petting came on a Thursday morning, three days before his passing. He was weak and tired from his illness and from not eating and drinking, and was lying prostrate on a towel on the floor. I lay down beside him, talking to him, loving on him, and petting him. He purred feebly, which he hadn't done for days and feebly tired to roll over so I could pet his belly. That was really his goodbye to me. This was his last time doing this, and it is now a bittersweet memory, for on Remembrance day, 2018, after eleven years with us, Buddy was gone.

Buddy may have been only a little black cat, but his passing has left a huge, aching void in our hearts and lives, and makes our house seem empty. I buried my Buddy alongside his former companion Bree, beside the path to my vegetable garden.

I don't know if cats go to Heaven or not, but Buddy certainly had a soul (ie. mind, will and emotions), and in the Bible, Jesus cast demons out of a man and they possessed a heard of pigs, so maybe animals also have a spirit. If so, I hope that, one day, we will be reunited. Until then Buddy, R.I.P. - I love you and miss you.

Jim Card
King's Point, NL

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