I'm 47 years old and about 8 years ago,I wanted a cat like my first pet at age 4: a seal point siamese. So, I went to a few pet stores with hopes that they could hook me up with some breeders. At Petco, of all places, there was Zoomie the blue point, male, about a year old, shelter cat. He wasn't the breed I wanted but there was something that immediately drew me to him. By the end of the day, I made a $150 donation to pet savers because I figured I'd at least be out that for a kitten with no papers.
I renamed him Ned, when I opened the carrier in the spare bedroom and he curled up on my lap, after exploring ever square foot of his new room. A day later we explored the first floor and a week after I let him go solo in the basement.
He was everything I remembered of my first cat, Gretchen, to be: loyal, curious, clingy, affectionate, and extremely smart. He was always discussing his day with me, communicating his need for a faucet to be turned on for a drink until he figured out how to do it himself, or showing me which window he wanted opened for some fresh air. He retrieved a potion of an old sock like a Labrador, and his favorite game was chasing practice golf balls one after the other across our kitchen floor.
I renamed him Bubba after a year because it fit his personality. He became a true friend. I work out of the house and one of his off limit places was my desks. And, not all the time but most, my lap when I'm working in my office. His constant harassment led us to compromise. I put up small table with a small bed where he could see everything I was doing and be "involved" with my process. It was comical to glance over at him following the rules by resisting the temptation to hop on the desk and follow his blue eyes on my hands working a pen, computer mouse, or shuffling papers.
The thing about this bread is their need to please their human. I never had to clap my hands, make loud noises or spray him with water to train him to stay off the kitchen counter or my desks. I simply kept telling him "No" very firmly and place him back on the floor.
My buddy followed me everywhere and then he began to take the lead. In the morning, he knew the first stop, then to the coffee maker followed by his breakfast. He led the way. He seemed to know my habits better than I and if I broke away from where he was leading, he'd either act surprised or pissed off when he was wrong.
On Sunday, he acted a little strange in the early afternoon. He cried out for a minute straight as I was typing away on a report while watching TV in my bedroom. That was odd because I normally had to be in the same room as he attempted his conversation. I called him and he came with a hop up to the foot of the bed. He climbed on my chest, ignoring my lap top which was very unusual and began to kneed away as I petted and stroked his back. I thought he was going to head butt me, as usual, but he stared into my face and eyes. This is when I noticed how dialated his eyes were as he turned and lay at the foot of the bed. I had never seen his eyes like that before. I quickly went on line and found a site that stated the obvious: when a cat is focused, excited, in a hunt. And, the next line took my breath: in pain.
I finished the sentence and Googled Vet Emergency just as Bubba went rigid in a violent seizure that locked all of his muscles rigid. I knew not to touch him in this state and waited for it to end. The thing is, most seizures in animals are like those in humans: there's movement and twitching. He stayed rigid so I gently called his name. He let out a slow, long "meow" as I watched his tail puff up a bit as he loosened from the seizure: fear. He was gone a few seconds latter. I watched his pupil expand further into death. As I petted him and softly called his name noticing how overheated he was from what I imagined were all of his muscles convulsing at once.
He had become my best friend over the six years he owned me. My vet ruled out diabetes, gave epilepsy a slight chance and believes it a genetic defect of his heart or brain because the seizure was so violent yet short. There was nothing wrong with eating or bathroom function of this cat. Up until Sunday, he was healthy.
A couple of things stood out to me about him and his breed: how he attempted to communicate something was wrong prior to this event since most cats tend to hide when sick, how he wanted to be with me rather than hide, and how honored I am that he had that much trust and confidence that he'd be okay as long as he was with me. I only wish I could of come through for him. 6-7 years of life is not enough for such an amazing little dude.
I dug a deep grave late that evening and today I bought some blue flowered perennials with grey foliage and planted them around the marker. I will miss him so much and there was no way I couldn't pay tribute to him. I know that sounds crazy, but he became a constant in my life that spun out of control before he was there. I looked forward to going home from a business trip or a trip to the market. We truly enjoyed our company.
I'm still grieving and don't think I'll get over this experience any time soon. If I get another cat, he'll see the vet two or three times a year. I don't think my heart can take loosing another Bubba so suddenly.