Buddy's Story As Told By Mom
We estimate that Buddy lived on the streets at least six years before we adopted him in 1992. One day in 1988, a strapping orange-striped tomcat showed up in my yard (where I lived prior to marrying my husband). He started hanging about, which prompted me to ask my neighbours about him. They informed me that he was a stray who was well known, that he made the rounds and pleaded his case to many of the neighbours. Some of them fed him, but most of the time he resorted to stealing food from their outdoor pets' dishes. He was fondly thought of as a bit of a pest!
Despite his reputation, the big tom cat and I seemed to make a connection. In subsequent days I gained enough of his trust that he eventually allowed me to pet him. I wasn't allowed pets at my rental, so he remained an outdoor kitty. I didn't feed him as he seemed to be maintaining his weight.
After we had been acquainted for a time, I figured I ought to think of something else to call him besides "Hey Kitty". He was becoming a dear little friend. Often, when I arrived home from work, he would greet me at the gate. Then, he would shadow me as I took my evening walk around the neighbourhood. So, it seemed natural that I start calling him "Little Buddy" or Buddy for short.
When my husband-to-be and I decided to get married a few years later, I moved away from the neighbourhood, sadly wishing Buddy good bye. At the time I had not considered taking him to our new abode and attempting to make an outdoor tom cat into an indoor pet, as I knew nothing about adapting a stray.
About a month later I had to make a trip back to my old neighbourhood, so I decided to stop by to visit my former housemates. They occupied the back part of the house which was divided into two rentals. I had rented the front part of the house. It had a small porch where Buddy and I would hang out together during many of his daily visits, especially in the spring and summertime.
Finding one of my former housemates at home, and after engaging in some small talk, I asked if he'd seen Buddy around. He informed me that not only had he seen him, but Buddy had been sleeping on the porch every night for the month since I'd left! The front part of the house that I had rented stood empty, waiting for a new tenant. There was no welcoming porch light left on in the evenings as there had been every night for the past few years.
Yet still, Buddy would return from his daily jaunts and sleep there each night, "waiting" for me to come back. I was humbled and touched beyond words. (The thought of it still brings tears to my eyes.) I stood there wondering if Buddy would come running, as he had in the past whenever I called out to him. I looked around the yard but I didn't see him. I called out his name. Immediately he bounded out from under the bushes! He greeted me with a plaintive meow and a look that seemed to say, "Where have you been?" I reached down to give him a pat and he seemed so happy to see me.
My decision was made. After bidding a quick farewell to my former housemate, I immediately packed Buddy into our car and brought him home. I decided to telephone my hubby at work and tell him the story after the fact! But I needn't have feared, once he heard about Buddy sleeping on the porch, he agreed that such devotion could not go unrewarded. With a seal of approval from our landlord (who luckily happened to be my soft-hearted grandmother), Buddy became a treasured member of our family. He adapted well to indoor life.
About a year after I brought home Buddy, we rescued his adopted brother and sister, Tigger and Taylor. We were unsure of his reaction to the babies, but we need not have feared, given his loving nature. That tom cat became a devoted "mama" to those kittens! Later, when we adopted Bob, it was the same thing. He and Bob were very close.
Buddy loved food, human attention, and our other cats, in varied order, depending on the time of day! He was a superior watch cat and warned us of impending danger (an example: one day the kitchen was flooding and he woke me up from a nap with insistent howling at the bedroom door). He was extremely vocal!
Buddy was FIV+ but never passed it onto our other cats. When we got Tigger and Taylor they tested positive for the virus, so we decided we would have a FIV+ household. We had them all retested when Bob joined the family seven years later. Come to find out, Tigger and Taylor were negative for FIV. We assume they had the mother's antibodies but did not develop the disease.
A cute fact about Buddy is that he had no idea what to do with cat "toys" when he came to live with us. Tigger and Taylor were the ones who taught him how fun it was to bat around a fur mouse! Buddy died from cancer in November of 2002. We miss him so...