buddy2.jpgSometimes you don’t realize how important an animal companion, pet, whathave you, is until they’re gone.

Such is the case with Buddy, my 16 year old Maine Coon who died just before Christmas very suddenly.  I always called him My Little Man – mainly because he had this manly, take charge, kind of personality.  He watched out for me and made sure the household ran as it should. buddy2yrs1.jpg

No matter who was adopted into our little family or was a temporary foster, Buddy’s dominance and authority was never questioned by the other cats – not even the dog.

He wasn’t a mean guy, he just didn’t take any guff off anyone – not even me sometimes.  Even in his later years when arthritis kept him from moving about as freely as he once did, Buddy had a way of positioning himself in the middle of the goings on and supervising.  If foster kittens got too rambunctious, Buddy would calmly walk over to them and bat them off balance, snort a little scholding at them and then go back and lay down.  It worked better than anything I could say or do, I can tell you.

If he thought one cat was just getting too big for his/her britches,  he would chase the cat into a corner and scold it and smack it a few times…never actually hurting ….just a little intimidation to let the cat know he was the boss and they were out of line.

Buddy always seemed to sense my stress and on those occasions, he would stay especially close; often jumping up on the sofa or bed, curling up next to me. He would lay his head on my shoulder and stretching his big, Maine Coon paw across my chest as if to say, “There, there now, Mom, it’s going to be ok, just relax.”

There really is no such thing as an alpha pack leader in the feline world, but sometimes, one cat will just naturally be more dominant as part of their overall personality. Buddy was like that.  Even as a kitten, he had to take charge of the other kittens.

Then one day in December, I came home from work to find him lying on the livingroom rug, gasping for air.  Congestive heart failure.  Despite medication, oxygen tents, and best efforts, Buddy died two weeks before Christmas.

Since then, there’s been no one to take charge and I think the cats feel that.  Even they are looking for someone of them to take control of situations that get out of hand – like the occasional cat spat, but no one’s there.  It’s odd.

Multi-cat households are not unlike having a house full of two-year olds. Sometimes, they’re running everywhere, chasing each other, playing and jumping, throwing things around, spitting up, and fighting when someone else has their favorite toy. 

Buddy had it handled.

He’s sorely missed.