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Friday, July 22, 2011

The Final Adventure of Butchie Blue

It's a sad day in our little corner of the world: my beloved kitty, Butchie Blue, died today.

She'd been my companion for more than 16 years, ever since I adopted her as a wee 6-week-old ball of fluff that could fit in my hand. She'd been part of my life for longer than I've been married (and aside from family and a very few friends, that's true of almost nobody these days). She was a sweet, dear kitty. I will miss her more than I can say.

She'd been in poor health for a while, and she really took poorly during my time away from home with what the vet thought was a "raging" UTI and/or kidney infection. Not eating, not drinking, lethargic and obviously not feeling well. Darling S did all he could to keep her with us until the kids and I returned -- multiple vet visits, fluids, blood tests, medications, etc. (For which I will always be grateful; he's an animal lover and very fond of Butchie but she is definitely My Cat.) But as soon as I saw her when we got back on Monday night, I knew it wasn't good: when I came to say hello to her, she didn't get up to greet me at all and hardly registered my presence until I sat down and started to pet her gently. That got some purring, but that's it.

I took her in for a follow up vet visit on Tuesday. No protest at all when going into the cat carrier. She was too weak and listless to care, it seemed. The vet said that the infection might be improving a bit, but she was pretty sure she was feeling tumors in the area of the kidneys. Especially given that we'd had a cancerous tumor removed before BJ was born, this really didn't bode well. After the surgery, she had a good long healthy stretch. This time, she wasn't going to get better.

It's so sad, but I'm very grateful that she hung around long enough for the kids and me to say our goodbyes.

When we got home earlier this week, the kids could tell that Butchie wasn't doing well.
BB was very sweet, wanting to visit her often and say how sorry she was.

Since Butchie didn't really want to move away from her heated mat in the bathroom, I spent a fair amount of time just sitting with her. She seemed to appreciate the company, though she didn't want to be touched much. It was especially sweet when I put my hand next to her paws and she reached out her paw to put it atop my hand. (Of course I called S and asked him to get a pic.) We sat like that for quite a while.

This morning when I woke up, the poor kitty wouldn't even raise her head off the floor. She barely twitched her ears when I called her name and sat down with her. Now, she isn't suffering anymore. There's comfort in that.

We've read Cat Heaven, cried, picked a bouquet for her, and said our goodbyes. Now, not surprisingly, the kids are asking when we can get a kitten. (Hey, at least BJ knows enough not to ask for a snake. Yet.)

Here's the sweetly ironic part to all this: while we were traveling, BJ decided to write a book about his space adventures. Not surprising, this. What was unexpected, though, was his choice of sidekick. Butchie.

BJ hadn't shown too much interest in the cat prior to this -- for his entire life, she's been old, she didn't play much, and especially for this past year she spent most of her time sleeping on her heat mat in her corner of the bathroom. But all of a sudden, while we were away, she was full of personality for him. And when he got home, he wanted to read his story to her.

BJ brushing and petting the cat after reading his "book" to her.

Here's his story, complete with the illustrations. It seems a fitting close to a dear cat's life. She was a traveler, after all, from Oklahoma, to Delaware, Arizona, and California, though admittedly she didn't do a whole lot of zooming while she was alive, aside from chasing after plastic milk tab tops. The slower, sleepy pace of life was much more her speed, especially while BJ was alive. But in her younger days (back when one dear friend nicknamed her Loki for all her mischief) I could have imagined her donning a space suit and joining a six year old for adventures.

BJ's Adventure Through Space

Last week or two, I said, "Hey!" to my cat Butchie. She can talk. I actually know that. "What about a little adventure into space?"
Then I said, "Come on, Butchie! Let's go to my lab." I went to my lab. Butchie ran along beside me. I ran into a fallen tree. I then went into a big square. I said to my little sister, "Hi! I'm going to make a rocket ship!"
I told my sister, "There, we've done it!" when we had finished the space ship. I then told Butchie, "Go get Mom and Dad to show them my new space ship." When they came, I asked them, "What should I name it?"
"I think Andromeda," said Mom. "Great name," I said. "Come on, let's blast off." We all went in and put on our space suits, even Butchie. Hers was cat-shaped.

(Note BJ's explanation that this picture is of Butchie floating up in the air with her cat-shaped space suit, tail hanging down.)

We blasted off! We went zooming at the speed of light. We went zooming out of the solar system. I pushed the button that zoomed in the camera. I said, "OK! Now I'll take a picture of the solar system."

We put the picture down in the cargo of the space ship. We went farther and farther into space, until we came to a nebula. I went zooming through the clouds of dust and gas, but a little too quick. We got pulled towards the center of the nebula!

We zoomed away from the nebula just in time. We saw it just turning into a new star. Then suddenly right in front of us we saw a medium sized star. It was cool looking. I said, "Butchie, take a picture of that new star and this middle-aged star."

We zoomed away from those two stars after the pictures were taken and put in the cargo. We zoomed faster and faster until we came to a red giant. It was an old star. And then I felt the space ship shake. I said, "Hey, the star is going to explode!"

The star exploded in a great super nova! It seemed like a gigantic fireworks show. To Butchie it seemed like the end of the universe. I told her, "Nothing to worry about, Butchie. It's only a super nova."

We zoomed away from the super nova. We zoomed out of the Milky Way! I said, "Wow Butchie, isn't that an incredible view? Let's go home." I said, "It was a great trip!"


Rest in peace, my furry little friend.
Thank you for all the fuzzy feline affection.
Thank you for your lively kitten presence during the most difficult years of my life.
Thank you for the past 16 years.
You will be missed.


Angela said...

I'm so sorry. I know how you loved her, and I'll be thinking about you.

giki said...

Soft gentle songs being sang for our Beloved Butchie Blue as she makes that jounrey to the Rainbow Bridge. We will miss the silly sweeet girl. The Head Butt-er extraordinaire-WE loved that girl.
I know the hole is felt in all the hearts in your house today.
Sending songs of healing of hearts and for candles to burn bright as they light Buthcie's path as she goes on her final journey to the Rainbow Bridge.

Katy said...

oh dear me...this made me tear up. But I also smiled a lot when I read about the space adventure with your son. What a wonderful memory. Thanks for sharing!

Jen (Mama's Magic Studio) said...

thank you, everybody, for your kind words and condolences. We miss the little fuzzball terribly and hold a very special place in our hearts for her.