THE SIMPLE LIFE: Buddy
By Trish Morgan
For the News Tribune
Earlier this week, there was a little excitement at Baughman Street White House in Westernport. There was a scruffy, dirty, gray and white cat that appeared. Truth is, I had been seeing him off and on for several days, but when I would get to the door to check him out - he took off like lightning.
As some of you may know, I am a cat lady - although I refuse to take on the nickname my sons like to lay on me (crazy, crazy old cat lady). I have six cats in my household - three males and three females (all spayed and neutered). For several days, two of my cats were dying to get outside for some reason. I would hear my Tommy and Nacho Bidness hissing, spitting and yowling at something outside, and soon discovered what all of the commotion was about.
This dirty little vagabond cat kept coming up on to both porches - front and back - plus, he was peeking in my rec room windows. He just knew it might be nice to come inside, have a meal and curl up on the couch for a long winter's nap. However, Tommy and Nacho were NOT having it.
So, Ava and I decided to put out some food and water for him, and then I began a search on social media to find his owner.
Unfortunately, I discovered that this cat had NO home. I got messages from someone who used to take care of Buddy (yes, that is his name). In fact, this gentleman lived on Spring Street here in town, and with kindness and compassion in his heart, he made sure this street urchin was fed each day. On occasion, he would allow Buddy to come inside to get comfy and warm, take a nap or two, and then Buddy wanted back outside.
As it would turn out, this man decided to move to Florida about a year ago, and that meant that Buddy had to use his own resourcefulness to survive. Who knows where he found food and water since last year. Who knows where he found warmth and safety from the cruel elements of weather. Who knows if he ever even knew the love and kindness of strangers. Who knows if a human has even touched him since his only friend had to move away.
This is the kind of story that breaks my heart. To think of a cat, or any unloved and forgotten animal that has to live alone in this world - I can hardly breathe thinking of it. Poor Buddy. Now all I had to do was find him a forever home.
Believe me, I wanted to keep him myself. I just felt something tug at my heart to see the way he looked at me. His eyes so sad, so lonely. How awful to be unloved. How awful to never feel the soft hands of a human to love and stroke his beautiful fur coat. Sure, he might not have looked so beautiful when he sat on my porch, but I could see his magnificence. Just like I did with Old Fella. This meeting of a suffering cat and a cat lady was just meant to be. Destined.
Soon, with my social media mission enacted, one person stepped up and offered to get him to the vet, have his ear injuries addressed and get him neutered, de-flea'd and updated with vaccinations. Then, he would go live at her cat sanctuary. Then, there was an offer to get him vetted and then try to find a forever home for him. I didn't accept or decline these offers; I just wanted to weigh my options.
Then, an offer came in from Ellen Parker of Romney. She said she would pay to get Buddy seen and treated by a local veterinarian immediately, and then she would adopt him into her home. For some reason, I felt this was the best option for Buddy. So, the wheels began to turn, and it was time to catch him.
What makes this a little funny is that at my age and having a recent hip replacement, I had to be lightning quick to pick him up and get him into the cat carrier. No Facebook Live for this venture LOL. It was a little comical, I have to admit.
Arrangements were made - in the beginning of an icy, wintry storm - for Ellen's son (who lives in Westernport), to come get Buddy. AS SOON AS I COULD CATCH THE LITTLE RASCAL.
I retrieved the cat carrier, opened my front door wide open (still in my nightgown I must say. Shhhhhh, don't tell). At the very moment I opened my door as I was ready, there goes Buddy - just trotting down Baughman Street! Here kitty kitty, here kitty kitty boy! Rascal looked, but kept going.
Plan B. Meow. Time to meow like a cat. Yes. I. Did. Meow, meow, meow. No lie, here comes Buddy now! Right up my driveway, up my steps onto my sidewalk. Destined.
Buddy came up on my porch, and I stepped on to the porch - where Buddy and I bonded for 20 minutes or so in the chilly, icy rain and 12° temperature. Brrrrrrrrrrrr!
Awwwww, you should have seen the capture. Took me about 20 minutes from my front door - talking to him, telling him what was going to happen, telling him that the good life was coming his way, and soon he would be warm and loved forever. Soon his ears would feel so much better, and he will never have to worry about his next meal or a fresh drink of clean, cold water. I stepped on to the porch, touched him gently, petted his frosty fur - and then he rolled over to show me his belly. He trusted me that quickly! It was glorious. God smiled on this boy and his journey. God blessed me, and this gentle beast.
I picked him up with no fear, although I would not recommend this to anyone who rescues animals. I had no gloves on, and it could have ended badly. But, I just was not afraid. I somehow knew Buddy was docile, and I really believed he wanted to be rescued. When I picked him up, he meowed once, looked back at me, and into the carrier he went with no trouble. Now, he was locked in - ready for the next part of his journey to Romney. His "wayward, baby-making days" were over. On to a new beginning, Buddy Boy.
Ellen took Buddy to the vet that very same afternoon, regardless of the impending weather. His left ear had a hole in it, and the right was hurt as well, but no hole, thank goodness. I'm sure he has had to fight his way through thick and thin to survive. Ellen will keep his wounds cleaned until he gets back to the vet in two weeks. Buddy got an antibiotic shot, as well as an antibiotic (clindamycin) to take twice a day until gone. Ellen says Buddy is happy to be inside!
WEST VIRGINIA LIVIN'- Talked with Ellen a little bit the next morning. I'm excited to report that he's settling right in! Buddy slept in bed with Ellen last night, and then he decided to eat his breakfast that morning. Although he goes to the door and looks outside, he seems to be resigned to a warm and happy home. Buddy allowed some brushing that morning; it's shedding season for ol' Buddy boy! In two weeks, Buddy will be going to Mountainview Veterinary Services in Keyser for his "bit parts" to be removed and to get his vaccinations and flea treatment.
Whiskers will be scheduling his appointment, as Buddy was rescued from the "street life.” As soon as we get his date for surgery, we will let everyone know. If you'd like to donate toward Buddy's neuter, shots and flea treatment - here is the link to Whiskers, an IRS-registered 501c3 nonprofit organization in the Western Maryland region dedicated to cat rescue and adoptions -
Yes, I know this is just one cat. One forgotten, lonely and "street-wise" cat. So what, you might say. There are hundreds and thousands more with the same story. I know. But, their lives matter, each and every one. I try to make a little difference, but I can't save them all. If only I could.
What can you do? Plenty. Support your local nonprofit rescues such as Whiskers Inc, Friends of Felines and Feral, and Heart of the Earth. COVID restrictions have crippled their fundraising efforts - absolutely shattered them. Heart of the Earth is raising funds for a new furnace, and it's cold out there, folks (they need another $350 or so to make that happen). Friends is doing its best to adopt out the many rescued cats who need forever homes (you can see them on Armstrong Street in Keyser), and it's quite expensive to vet all of those rescues. Whiskers is VERY low on funds (I currently serve as president of the board of directors), and we have had to drastically reduce our rescue efforts due to lack of cash flow. Our hands have been tied, even with the generosity of our loyal supporters. See all three of these nonprofits on Facebook - donate, volunteer and share your gifts.
What else can you do? Adopt. Take in a kitty or two who would enhance your life immeasurably. Volunteer to raise funds. Volunteer to serve on organization committees. Enrich your life by adding a "Buddy" to your life. Ellen did it, and you could, too.
Stay safe, my friends. Spring will come, I promise. God bless all those who continue to follow the Buddy story, and to those who keep up with his progress and his WV life on my Facebook. Thank you for reading. And, be kind always.