Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Our Buddy Butterbean

Today we said goodbye to a dear member of our family. Our cat Gus, better known as Butterbean or Bean, left us today. I had to take him to the vet to get put to sleep. I put on my big girl britches and went with my aunt to the vet, and it's amazing how fast the process went. He had kidney disease which had progressed of late into kidney failure. We knew it was only a matter of time. I just didn't know how fast he'd go downhill - in two days he went from slow but okay to not eating or drinking, bony and pitiful. The vet told us we made the right call at the right time, not too soon and not too late to make him suffer. I am so grateful he told us that. I can hang onto that at least, knowing Gus isn't suffering and didn't suffer at the end. His daddy told him goodbye this morning, since he had to work a double shift and couldn't get out of it at short notice. It was wrenching watching Eric cry - he doesn't cry often and I know he loved Gus very, very much. They were special buddies.

Gus loved to be scratched on his head and the side of his face. He'd get up on the table and Eric would sit there and scratch and scratch, and Gus would give him a friendly headbutt, and then after a few minutes, he'd flop onto the table in happiness. All he wanted (besides cheese or lunch meat whenever we had either of those!) was to be loved on. Yet he was never what you'd call a "lap cat." He was fairly independent.

He came to me as a stray while I was house sitting for a few months at a place in Lindbergh Forest on South Knoxville. This was in 2000. I took him with me when I left and have loved him ever since. It's hard to believe he's gone. That we now have only one cat. I threw away his food bowl when I got home. The house seems strangely empty now, even with another cat and a five week old baby.

I'm going to plant a rosebush out there in the backyard where he's resting. I will tell James about the prince of a cat named Gus that shared his home with him for 5 weeks and 4 days. He was a very, very good cat. We love you, buddy.