Months back when Cosmo wasn’t doing so hot health-wise, Jackie & I swore we would not get another cat after he passed. We never wanted to go thru the pain of losing a beloved pet ever again. Two days before Cosmo passed away, two kittens just showed up in our backyard and reminded us that all the years of having a healthy Cosmo was worth having to go thru a few months of pain in the end. A month later when we needed a cat around, those same kittens reappeared out of the blue and a chain of events occurred that brought a new kitten into our lives… But not what you might expect… Read on to see why…
FYI: This is a followup to the blog titled Eulogy for a loved pet – Cosmo – RIP 7/2/2012 – If you haven’t read it yet, go check it out – this blog may make more sense knowing the history, but this blog can stand alone if you don’t have time.. This particular blog isn’t going to get advertised much since its pretty personal, so if you found it, then you’re just awesome.
Back around Thanksgiving 2011, our 15 year old cat Cosmo began having some ear infections and neurological issues that began a decline in health that ended with his passing on July 2nd, 2012. It was a rough time period for Jackie & myself, and we saw our beloved Cosmo slowly deteriorate. It was a painful time for us…So painful in fact that Jackie & I vowed to never get another pet afterwards… We never wanted to go thru that again…
And we maintained that attitude up until June 30th – Two days before Cosmo passed away on July 2nd…
What changed our mind? Read on…
On June 30th, Jackie & I were going about our business while Cosmo was sleeping – which he did a lot of around that time… We happened to look out the window into our back yard and there were two kittens out there just playing. We’ve had quite a few stray cats in our yard before, but these two were different. First off they were just kittens who couldn’t have been over a month old… And they were just “playing.” Jackie & I stood there watching them play with a leaf for about 10 minutes. I can’t begin to describe how therapeutic the simple joy of watching kittens play can be. We were reminded of all the good times we had watching Cosmo grow up…
After Cosmo passed, and I posted the blog with all the Facebook photos from Cosmo’s life, I remembered just how important Cosmo was to Jackie & myself and how much better our life had become with him. And that the almost 16 years of good times was worth the 6-months of torture watching him slip away…
So we made the decision that we would indeed get another cat after some time passed. We were thinking at least 3-4 months however.
Fast forward a month later to July 31st. And what did Jackie see in our house that morning? A MOUSE! Now if you know Jackie, you know she’s deathly afraid of these things… (see the Cosmo Slayer Video to see her very real reaction to a mouse in our house years earlier). But instead of fear, Jackie (and I) became angry… How dare this mouse disrespect Cosmo?!? He wasn’t even gone a month?! (Emotions are simply not logical, we do realize this LOL)
We got some traps and caught the mouse by the time we got home from work… And when we got home, what did we see? Those same two kittens that were around before. They were a little bigger after a month, but it was definitely them…
I know its a stretch, but we kinda took this as the universe sending us a message.. What drove the message home further was that the next day we caught a baby mouse (and you know there wouldn’t just be one)… And those kittens were out back again… We were so tempted to bring those kittens in to get the scent of cat in the house again (and maybe more)
So I spoke to the wise sage Anna Zelikman (who was Cosmo’s original human Mom), and she passed this bit of smart advice to me: (paraphrased slightly since I cant remember the exact words)
“The next time the kittens are around, approach them slowly and see what happens… If they come up to you, then they might make good pets… If they run, they are probably too “wild” to make good pets…”
Seemed logical – especially knowing they were living in the street for at least a month now. So the next day (Aug 2nd), I got home from work and saw the kittens lounging in my driveway… I called Jackie from the car, and told her to watch what happens as I approached…
The kittens were at the other end of the driveway – about 40 feet away. I took ONE step towards them. And the two of them just bolted away. So we had our answer on those two particular kittens.
But when I got inside, I could tell Jackie was bummed. Honestly, so was I… We talked about it for a bit, and I found out she was really hoping that things would have worked out with them. We realized that we both still missed having a fuzzball around the house. Sure, the mouse repellent aspect was the immediate and logical reason, but it was so many more reasons that we didn’t appreciate until Cosmo was gone.
So after some debate, we decided that we were ready for a new cat… I got on Facebook within an hour or two of this decision, and one of the first things I saw was this tiny kitten picture. I figured it was a LOLCat – but there was no cutesy comment on the picture… I saw that one of my FB friends had just found a tiny 4-5 week old kitten locked in her Bronx apartment building’s basement laundry room and she rescued it.
So I emailed. And thru a series of emails with Carmen Corrigan and her son Ken, we arranged to meet the little cat a week later.
During the interim week, Carmen sent pictures and video of the little cat that they named Buster. And Jackie & I were getting more and more excited by the day. It struck me during this week that Buster was found a few blocks away from the Williamsbridge Oval Park – which is known simply as “The Oval” to local residents. This fact is important for two reasons.
1) I used to live nearby and when we were kids, my friend and I would ride our bikes past this building on our way up to the Oval every day after school. We used to have acorn fights there (swinging on the swings and whipping acorns at each other as we swung by – we were dumb kids – but it was fun LOL)
2) This location falls in the area known as Ducky Boy Territory. For those of you who don’t know what the Ducky Boys are, its a gang from this area in the early 1960’s. They were fictionalized in Richard Price’s great book and later 1979 movie “The Wanderers”, and I wrote a book about them called Lost Boys of the Bronx – The Oral History of the Ducky Boys Gang (available on Amazon and personally signed copies are available at my Lantern-Media.com site)
Knowing Buster was from this area (and officially a “Ducky Cat”), and the timing of Carmen’s original post was everything we needed to know that Buster was the right cat for us.
On Aug 9th, we drove up to the Bronx to meet Buster. It was very apparent that Carmen and Ken had taken great care of Buster during the week. Buster was quite healthy and had grown a bit from the initial pictures a week earlier. They had even taken Buster to the vet for a checkup – He was fine outside the normal problems for a rescue cat – ear mites, fleas and parasites. The vet cleared the problems up by the time we got there.
The vet also confirmed that Buster was indeed a boy cat. None of us were sure before, and while we loved the name Buster, we didn’t think it would work if Buster was a girl… Happily it worked out. For the record, had Buster turned out to be a girl, we would have called her “Chloe D. Cat” – (as in one of my favorite characters from Smallville)
We pretty much knew Buster was coming home with us even before we walked in the apartment that day. But seeing that little face in person, Jackie & I melted. He was the cutest little guy and was so playful. Within the hour or so we spent there, he had gotten used to us to the point where he was falling asleep on my arm…
It was really great meeting Carmen and Ken, and we could see that they took really good care of Buster and gave him a lot of love… I could definitely see sadness in them as we left to bring Buster home. Jackie & I joked in the car that we needed to make plans for a vacation soon, so they could babysit Buster for a week. :)
So as I finish writing this blog, its been exactly a week since we got Buster home from the Bronx. And its been a week of changes. Most nights are spent continuing to kitty proof every room. We thought we did pretty well before Buster got here, but the little booger still finds ways to get into trouble… LOL
But seriously, its been great having Buster around. Watching this little fuzzball innocently explore, play and pounce are some of of the simple joys of life. While he still has a way to go to get into our heart as deep as Cosmo did, he is definitely on the right track. Buster does not have the same personality as Cosmo, and that’s perfectly fine with us. He’s got a great “different” personality and we plan to love and appreciate him forever. :)
As if you couldn’t figure that out, Buster will definitely be a loved and spoiled cat in our house. Thanks to Carmen and Ken Corrigan for rescuing him from a tragic fate and giving him a great introduction to kind humans. Thanks to Anna Zelikman for some wise advice. Thanks to those two Scotch Plains kittens that showed up on two days that Jackie and I really needed them. And thanks to Cosmo for showing us that having a cat around is one of the great joys of life.
Thanks for reading. Hope it wasn’t too sappy for you :)
Heres some videos from Buster’s first week with us:
Buster fighting the blinds & tail