Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?
Fran Baruch said, "When you bring home a puppy, you bring home a tragedy." The same applies to kitties, alas.
I met BJ as an adult, so I was never sure how old he was. He was originally a stray. A couple of dog people adopted him, won over by his dog-like personality. When they divorced, no one wanted the cat. He ended up with me, through a friend of a friend.
He was my constant companion for 15 years. He was at least 19 years old - very, very old for a cat. And he was definitely slowing down a bit with age.
So when I had to put him down this morning, it wasn't exactly a surprise. He'd been happy and active until Thursday evening, when he suddenly became lethargic and stopped eating. I called the vet Friday morning; they couldn't fit me in until today. I feared the worst - for good reason, it turned out. His kidneys, liver, and heart were failing. They thought it was cancer, probably starting in the kidneys and spreading to the other organs. His prognosis at any age would have been poor, but at nineteen...there was just no point in heroic measures.
The staff was very kind. They stayed past the noon closing time, even on this holiday weekend, to let me have as much time to say goodbye as I needed. I've lost pets before, but never had to euthanize one. It was harder than I imagined. He was so happy to see me, probably thinking I would be taking him home. He purred and clung to me, licking my hands like he always did. (He thought he was a dog, I swear.) At that moment, it didn't seem like he was in pain or suffering. But I knew he was. My cousin is a vet, and she told me liver failure is a miserable way to go. So I let them inject him with a syringe full of pink stuff. It was very quick.
I've been expecting this for a long time, and yet, it really hasn't sunken in. I know I did the right thing, and he certainly had a long, full, and happy life. But darn, I miss the varmint.
He always followed me around. Anywhere I was in the house, he would be there, too. Even when I was in the shower, he would risk being splashed to stay nearby. He liked to watch baseball with me. Other cats hid from guests or ran under the couch when we cheered a big hit, but BJ loved people and was so calm that shouting never bothered him. He was sitting in my lap when Bubba hit that walkoff homer in 2005. I was clutching him nervously when Aaron Boone hit his walkoff and prolonged the Curse another year.
Goodbye, old friend. You were the best cat ever.
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