Sunday, March 18, 2007

Buddy the Razor

So, one day a few years ago, my son Justin shows up at the house with a kitten. He was a little Siamese kitten that Justin kept calling "Diablo". I thought that was not a good name for a cat and it didn't fit his personality. He was of course, a feisty little guy. So anyway, Jus was living with a now ex-girlfriend at the time and they were in the process of getting a new apartment. He asked me if I could keep "Diablo" for a few days until they moved in their apartment. I said, well, ok. Now I am not much of an animal person. I mean, I have grown up around dogs and cats, Horses, Cows, raccoons, birds, snakes, mice, gerbils, what have you and I like them. I would never hurt them. But I don't go to the extreme that some people do who consider their animals above anything else. But, I always tended to gravitate toward cats. Now, I have had a few dogs in my life and I loved them, but I always found that dogs rely on you to do things for them. Cats, on the other hand pretty much do their own thing and when they want attention, they will find you. Cats don't bark at extraneous noises (well most don't anyway) and cats don't slobber all over you. As sure as I am sitting here, one time I was doing a vocal take in the studio and had left the door open, in walks "Diablo" and he just sat there watching me. I was afraid that he would meow, but he never did until I had finished the take. Then he walked over and flopped over wanting to play, and meowed. He knew what I was doing.

I wasn't real attached to "Diablo", at least at first. After all, my son Jus was going to come and get him when they got the new place. That didn't happen and I ended up with a Siamese kitty cat. I had to keep an eye on him as he was the typical kitten that wanted to sneak outside with the Dog. He would lay in wait under the end table in the den and when the door was opened, Wham! he would head for the door, and I would always catch him (well, most of the time anyway). So, I sat there one day and thought about what to call him. My way of naming an animal is (I think most people do it this way) I will try and think of a name or names according to their personality and then call them by it and see if they respond. After several attempts and no success (I wait for the cat to bark at me) I finally said, "Well, buddy, I going to have to think about this." He meowed. So I called him Buddy and he responded. That's how he got the name Buddy.

After getting to know him a little bit, I realized that he had the sharpest damned claws I have ever run across. So, being me, I nicknamed him "The Razor." I call him "Buddy the Razor". Buddy seemed to work, and he would meow when I called him, so that's how "Diablo" came to be "Buddy". He would announce himself when he came into the den to let me know, the King has arrived! He really took to the oldest Siamese, Dusty, and emulated him in many ways, but Buddy has his own personality. He's quiet, moody and sometimes he's very friendly and other times, you'd swear that he was afraid of being beaten! And I have never even thought of hurting him. He would also come into the same room as me and then flop down on his back, paws in the air and want to play "Big Bad Foot." That is a game that he has played since he was a kitten. He always wanted to attack and kill my feet when I just had socks on or was barefooted. If I had shoes or boots on, he became extremely disgusted and walked off, only to come back later to see if I had removed the offending "shields". There were many times when he was just sitting in the dining room or den and I would say, "Big Bad Foot" and "the Razor" would flop over on his back, paws in the air, razors fully extended waiting for his "victim". It was the darndest thing I have ever seen. But in spite of it all, with usual feline finesse, he would never hurt me, at least intentionally. It was and is his favorite game. He did and played all the usual cat games, but "Big Bad Foot" is the game he loves the most, even to this day. And if he did bite or claw me, he would stop and rub his head against my foot as if to say he was sorry, the claws going in, the whole body resonating with the "Big Purr" as I call it and the paw, draped around my foot so gently as if to say, "I'm sorry".

That was 8 years ago.

As he grew older, he never once wanted to venture outside unless it was with me. All the trips to the vet I had to make, especially when Tessie the Chow accidentally tore a ligament in his left rear leg while they were playing, he would meow really loud the whole way and I would have to sing to him driving the 27 miles to have Dr Johnson look at him. He had a splint on for almost 3 months. I would just
laugh my butt off watching him try and play with the other cats or Tessie. He would try and run with that splint and I would tease him about being a "pirate kitty". I would call out, "Arrrrghhh matey, it's Buddy the Pirate Kitty, avast ye landlubbers!". And sometimes he would respond with a great big "MEOW". It was the funniest thing I had seen. Often times, he would play "big bad foot" and literally beat me with that splint as if to get back at me for teasing him. I often call him different names, "Buddy the Razor", "Razor" "Buddy the Pirate kitty" (he hated that, he would glare at me, like he knew what I meant) "Buddy the white kitty" and I would make up silly little dittys and sing them to him. Most of the time though, I call him "Razor", "Meowsir", "Son" and "Buddy". I have a habit of when he makes an appearance in the room of saying, "hey son, how's it going?" and then I will get him to "play" by saying (see, he has this habit of crooking his tail into a question mark) "I see the tail, buddy, I see the tail", to which he whips it around and then makes a question mark. I swear, when he wants to know what is going on when I am doing something, he will crook his tail into a question mark as if to ask me "what are you doing?" He has his idiosyncrasies too. He hardly has ever slept with me. Once in a great while, he would crawl up on the couch and fall asleep next to me as I dozed off. But once when I was in Colorado for a couple of weeks visiting, my mom told me they couldn't find him. I got worried. Come to find out, he had managed to slip into my bedroom (I always keep the door closed as Dusty used to go in and pee in the dirty clothes hamper, he passed away 3 years ago) and had planted himself in my bed. Never messed in my room, just stayed on the bed in my room until he needed to eat or use the bathroom. My sister ended up finding him when she came over to check on him and the other animals and couldn't figure out how he got in there. She left the door cracked when he planted himself in front of it so he could go in and out when she left. For the entire 2 weeks until I got back, Buddy stayed on my bed in the room. He still doesn't go in there even when I am in there, figure that one out.

And always, just me saying, "big bad foot" and over he will go, purring as loud as he can, so much so, I called him "Big Purr Buddy" and he will play that damned game. And yeah, sometimes my foot is just shredded from him getting too rough, but I don't mind. That is my Buddy the Razor. I will find myself singing silly cat songs to him, and he will sometimes meow back at me as if to say, "and you call yourself a songwriter?" All the pictures of him here were taken as he always waited outside the War Room for me to finish recording, so he could play big bad foot. As he got older, he knew better to come in the war room until after he heard all the noise stop. I don't think he was ever really a fan of my music, but he still respected me.

Buddy is sick. I don't why or what from, but it's really bothering me. And the vet doesn't know either.

He isn't eating and has lost a lot of weight. As I sit here and think about all the times that we have been together, my eyes are watering and I am on the verge of crying. The last time that I felt so strongly about something was Melissa's wedding and watching my daughters sing at the wedding. I don't cry very easy, never have. But something about that cat just touches a part of me that I have not let anyone else touch in a long time. I don't know what is wrong with him, he doesn't seem to be really sick, but he hasn't been eating lately and has lost a lot of weight. When I get home late at night, I find him and take him into the den, where it's quiet and dark, and I hold him, telling him he needs to eat and telling him that I love him. I have taken to also calling him "Meowsir" and sometimes when I talk to him, he meows at me in this hoarse sounding voice. He isn't lethargic, he does go to the litterbox and when I get out the laser pen light, he chases it, although, being Buddy, he tires of that easily and then flops over on his back and the paws go into the air wanting to play his favorite game. Buddy has never liked to be held, he's like me, he's very independent and when something tries to constrain him, he tries his damnedest to get away, even from me.

I have tried feeding him different things, and keep telling him, "Razor, you have to eat". He just licks the food and then trots off to hide in the closet. And now at night, when I get home, I find him and take him out to the den and hold him, talking to him softly and caressing his body, which feels like a shopping bag with sticks in it. He just buries his head in the nook of my arm and purrs, softly. He doesn't struggle like he usually does, he makes an attempt, but he knows that being in my arms is the safest place in the world for him and he appreciates it. I have to take him to a different vet. His doctor doesn't know what it is, and I had all the tests done which indicate that he is for the most part ok. But, he's gone from 12 lbs to just over 6 and I am afraid when he wants to play his favorite game, which he stills flops over and waits when I say "big bad foot." I really love that cat. He has taught me a lot about myself and people. I dread the day that Buddy passes away, as the thought is so scary. I don't know if I can bury him, and I have buried a lot of animals in my day. I am trying to keep a positive attitude and pray that whatever it is, it's something I can do to help him with medicine. But for now, in spite of all the things that I have to worry about, I can't let go of the fact that a little Siamese kitten stole my heart and grew up to become one of the best friends I ever knew. I just pray that I can find out what to do and hold on to him for as long as I can. I just hope that there is an answer so I can keep playing "big bad foot" with "Buddy the Razor".

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