I didn’t want a cat. I told my daughters they could get cats of their own once they were out on their own. Taking care of the house and four kids was plenty enough for me, even without dusting regularly. I held firm when my third-oldest handed us a Christmas wish list in which every other item was cat. But I agreed to two hermit crabs (what was I thinking?). Not furry, no warm fuzzies, faces only a mother could love–poor substitutes for a cat. The girls took care of them without caring for them. They died eventually, and we moved on, still (happily for me) catless.
Then my mother-in-law’s lung cancer came back as bone cancer that necessitated surgery and the long-term use of a walker. One Wednesday, Gini said she feared tripping over Buddy, and I asked if she wanted us to take him (she had always joked that we could have him). That Thursday, she said goodbye to Buddy with grace, the same grace she showed later in letting go of her car, her apartment, her possessions, and finally life itself.
My husband grew up with a cat named Tippy, who was still around early in our relationship. Tippy was a phenomenal cat. If you lay down on your side on the sofa, he would curl up in the crook of your legs. He had his own Tippy, a small stuffed animal he “borrowed” from my husband’s sister and never returned. Buddy is at least his equal. He, too, is affectionate, not one of those cats who hunker down under the bed and rarely make a personal appearance.
In addition to blessing our lives, Buddy has provided me with poem possibilities, enough that I have a mini-collection of Buddy poems I’ll begin sharing. I’m calling the collection Nobody like Buddy, and it begins, as many books do, with a dedication.
To Buddy, the best of cats
Never an alley cat. Always a Malley cat.
Nobody like Buddy
There’s nobody like Buddy.
He’s a cat beyond compare.
To find another Buddy
In the cat realm would be rare.
But should somebody say
That Buddy’s just another cat,
They’re simply being catty,
And nobody cares for that.
© 2019 Stephanie Malley
Peace to your ♥!