Buster’s Last Gift

posted April 15th, 2010 by
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By Mary Taylor

“Buster has kidney disease.” I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. My lovely veterinarian, Dr. Laura, had just given my beloved 10-year old cat, Buster, a death sentence. She went on to explain he was only in the first stages, and should live another year or more, if he’d eat the special kidney food she would prescribe. He hated the food. He would only eat enough to keep from starving.

He was miserable, and so was I. What kind of life was this? Sure, he might live longer, but he would be a very unhappy kitty. After two weeks of watching him mope around the house and forcing down his liquid medicine, I gave up. I gave him his regular food. I choose quality of life over quantity.

Buster was a happy kitty once again. He didn’t seem sick. He was eating and playing. It didn’t seem possible this was his last year with us.

At first, his illness didn’t seem noticeable…but as the months went by, we could see him change. We strove to make his life special. We took him outside (a first for him) and stayed with him as he discovered a new world. We knew he couldn’t jump over the fence. He seemed very happy.

The end came sooner than expected. We watched him have good days and bad, and when he stopped eating, we knew it was time. He left us on April 7, 2009, 10 months after his diagnosis. Dr. Laura was with us as he quietly went to sleep. Although his loss was heartbreaking, knowing he was going to die had allowed us to make his last months and days as wonderful as possible. Throughout his life, Buster had given us the gift of love. We had no idea he still had one last gift for us.

I made arrangements to have him cremated; his ashes placed in a box; with his name and “King of the Kitties” engraved on it. We had lovingly always called him that. They promised to have the remains back in one week. We wanted another kitty as soon as possible. That might seem horrid so soon after his death, but we are older, retired, and have a lot of love to give. We wanted to find a kitty just like Buster. But I knew that this was impossible, as Buster was one of a kind.

I got busy mostly thinking about and looking for a new kitty, and realized some time later I’d never received Busters ashes. Shouldn’t they have been at the vets by now? I called, and was told they were sorry…the ashes had been there five days and they’d forgotten to call.
I drove immediately to get them. As the lady at the desk, someone I’d never seen before, handed me the velvet bag with the box of ashes inside, I happened to glance past the desk, into a hallway, and saw, for a few seconds, a cat that looked just like Buster walk across the room, and disappear around a corner.

“That cat looks just like my Buster” I said, and was told he was the office kitty. The lady, a new tech at the hospital, announced “I found a kitten who looks just like him…I brought him in just today to show another tech who might adopt him…but he’s in here.” She led me into a back room. I was still clutching Buster’s ashes as I looked into the cage she pointed to. My heart started thumping…it was a tiny kitten who looked just like Buster!!! We took Rudy home the next day. We are still in awe of all the events that fell into place for us to find Rudy…but we know, it was Buster who found him for us.

There were so many “ifs.” The five day delay in getting his ashes, which was the only day the rescued kitten was brought in by the new tech, who had only worked there for a few weeks. If I hadn’t looked up when I did, and saw the office cat. All these things came together to bring us to Rudy…as I held Buster’s ashes the entire time.

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