Assignment: Assignment #1 (5-7 pages) Develop and Expand a shorter essay: Write a personal essay about remembering inspired by the form/style of one of this week’s essays. I used the form of Remembering by Brainard.
Buddy my Love
People are always astonished when I say I had a cat that lived to be twenty years old. In cat years, that’s one hundred forty years old! I remember Buddy always being by my side until the day he died. I remember terrorizing him when I was a kid. I remember his big blue eyes looking up at me waiting for me to give him attention. I remember him purring next to me as I fell asleep every night. I also remember having trouble falling asleep without him by my side. I remember crying for days knowing nothing can replace him. I know he’s just a cat, but to me, he was part of the family.
Buddy was born in 1989 along with five other kittens. My mom had the momma cat, Babie, and my aunt had daddy cat, Tobie. We kept three of the kittens: Buddy, Boubou and Tigger. Buddy was my mom’s cat when I was mean to him and terrorized him. She trained him to sleep by her side every night. When I started being nice to him, he began hanging out with me instead of my mom. Every cat has a different personality and he had the best one. He wanted love and affection from people so he actually stayed and slept next to us. The cats I have now aren’t the same. They only sleep at my feet or on the floor.
Buddy was the only cat that tolerated my craziness as a child. I remember when I would chase him around the house just for the heck of it. I remember scaring him so much his tail would be fluffed up with fur making it look really thick. I remember his eyes would change from bright blue to a reflective red color in terror. My mom would scream at me and say I’m going to make him into a scaredy-cat. He was a little scared of people and it may have been my fault but I still loved him.
I remember locking him in my bedroom so he would be forced to play and spend time with me. I remember dressing him up in build-a-bear clothes so make him look like a princess. I remember putting him in a stroller like a baby and rolling him around the house. I remember trying to take him outside but my mother caught me and made me go back inside since he was an indoor cat. He was able to get through all this torture and still love me unconditionally.
As I grew up, I stopped terrorizing him. I remember patting him once and he would instantly start purring. I remember kissing his little head a thousand times telling him I loved him. I remember him being by my side when I was having a bad day. I could always count on him being home when I got home from school with my brother. I have a nightly routine that I do every night that includes washing my face, clearing my pores and plucking my eyebrows. I would do this at my desk in my room and Buddy would watch me sitting on my bed waiting for me to go to bed. When I was taking a long time, he would meow at me as if he was telling me to hurry up. He was the cutest thing in the world.
I remember when I was a freshman in high school, Buddy got really sick. I woke up to him dry heaving near my rug. I patted him and tried to make him feel better. I quickly got my mom to assess his condition. I remember thinking he didn’t have much more time to live since he was eighteen years old. I had to go to band the next day for a parade. I remember being miserable and trying to fake a smile the whole time. I was supposed to look happy and enthusiastic since I’m in color guard but all I could think about was my Buddy. I remember crying to my best friend, Molly, about how sick he was and how he probably wasn’t going to live throughout the night. I was preparing myself for the worst. We brought him to the vets and they did all these tests but to no avail. They gave him fluids because he was dehydrated from vomiting so much and these fluids saved his life. I remember thinking it was a miracle. He perked right up after we brought him home. To this day, we still don’t know what exactly happened to him. I remember being so happy I still had my baby.
Two years went by with no problems. I was a junior now and had a boyfriend named Justin. We were on the swim team together and had only been dating three months. January 30, 2010 was probably the worst night of my life where I lost my cat and boyfriend. It was the night of semi-formal. I was wearing a pink ombre cheetah dress with a black sequin tie around it. My best friend, Shelby, and I had just gotten manicures and pedicures to match our dresses for semi. She was dating Justin’s friend, Phil. We thought we were so cute with our boyfriends going to semi together and taking a bunch of nice pictures. I remember while taking pictures in my family room, I noticed Buddy acting strange. He was just laying on his side stretched out so that his head was on the rug. I remember picking him up and placing him on my lap as I sat on the couch. I remember having a feeling that this was probably the last time I would see him act like this. I remember saying bye to Buddy kissing him on the head and saying I love you.
Semi is a blur to me now. I remember taking pictures with a king crown and princess tiara since the theme was Once Upon a Time. The dance was held at my school. The cafeteria was transformed into a fancy seating area with a lot of round tables to sit at. There were refreshments at a long table in front. They had cheese and crackers, grapes, and cookies to eat and punch to drink. It’s ironic because despite the romantic atmosphere, Justin and I weren’t having a good time. I wanted to dance the whole night and all he wanted to do was sit at the tables. So I left him there and danced with my friends. He was acting strange and I didn’t have the patience for it. I wasn’t going to have him ruin my semi formal. After the dance ended, we decided to go out to eat at Applebee’s. I remember seeing a ton of people from the dance there. It was the hot after party spot. We all got different dessert shooters. While we were eating dessert, my mom frantically called me saying it was late and that I should come home. I remember wondering why she wanted me home because I didn’t have a curfew. I told Phil, who drove us there, that I needed to go home as soon as possible. I had a gut feeling that my mom’s call had something to do with buddy since he was acting strange earlier. Of course, my mind went wild with all the different possibilities that might have happened while I was having fun at semi. I started crying in the car ride to my house expecting the worst.
I remember opening the door to my mom’s worried face. My heart suddenly dropped and I knew instantly that my intuitions must be true. I started trembling as I ran toward his body on the kitchen floor. I remember her saying she didn’t want to tell me the real reason why she wanted me home. I remember feeling helpless, remorseful and ashamed at myself for trying to have a good time while my cat was clearly dying at home. I started crying even more as I saw Buddy gasping for air and panting. He was clearly in pain and the only humane thing to do was take him to the emergency vets. My mom felt the same way. I remember running up to my room to change out of my clothes. For some strange reason I remember the exact outfit I changed into. I wore a yellow, red, white, and navy blue plaid flannel button down shirt from American Eagle and black leggings. To this day, I associate that shirt with Buddy’s death and every time I wore it, I thought of him. I ended up donating it because of its bad association. I remember thinking that I looked like a hillbilly because of that shirt and the fact that I put my hair in a side braid. Getting out the cat carrier and putting him in there was a process. He did not want to go in it at first. We ended up picking him up and forced him to go in. On the fifteen minute car ride over, I sat in the backseat next to the carrier with the front grate opened just far enough for my hand to go inside and pat him. He meowed a couple times complaining because he didn’t like car rides. I carried him into the building and remember him really heavy inside the carrier.
My brother and dad didn’t want to go with us because it was too late. I remember thinking how could they not care? I felt like I needed to be there in his last couple moments of life. The vet was an older woman. I remember she was sympathetic toward us. We talked about our options but considering his age, the outcome was inevitable. It was a task to get him out of the carrier onto the metal table. He was not willing to come out on his own. We held the carrier up on an angle so that he slipped out. She took Buddy away from the room to put the IV in his paw. When she brought him back, my mom held him for the last time and that’s when he purred for us. I remember being so happy that he purred one last time before he died. My mom held him as the vet overdosed him with drugs. I remember thinking I can’t believe we’re killing him right now. We got a box to put his lifeless body in. A strange detail I remember is the vet saying that he might defecate and if he smells; that’s why. This statement made his death feel more real. I remember thinking wow, he’s really gone forever. We took the box home and the next day we buried him in my backyard along with our other cats. I became depressed after his death. I broke up with my boyfriend because he wasn’t sympathetic. He didn’t try to comfort me and I was still upset with how he acted at semi. I did not need this added stress to my life when I had bigger things to deal with. I still get upset when I think about Buddy. At least I have pictures with him that can remind me of all the good times.
Boubou died shortly after Buddy. My dad wanted a break from cats after they all died. This didn’t help me in my mourning. I know nothing can replace Buddy, but it would’ve been nice to have company in his absence. After a lonely senior year of high school with no pets or siblings, my dad agreed to get a cat for my mom because I was leaving for college soon. We ended up getting two cats and they had six babies! We kept three and now have a total of five cats. However, none of them are like Buddy. All of them are playful and friendly but they aren’t as affectionate.
One thing that I learned about myself from this experience is that I could never be a veterinarian. To this day, I refuse to say euthanize. People often ask me why I don’t want to be a vet since I love animals and am a vegetarian. I tell them it’s because I can’t kill animals for a living. I would be crying right with the people that are putting their pet to sleep. I would instantly think of Buddy.