Our Butch was with us for nearly 22 years. Three months into our marriage we said, "Let's get a kitten." It was a few weeks later when my brother-in-law told us he knew of someone who had a 6-month-old kitten that they just couldn't keep because their children were too young and they were not treating the poor little thing very well. We said we would meet the little critter and then decide. On January 2, 1989 my husband drove to his mother's house and met up with my brother-in-law who had brought the kitten with him. I stayed home and waited. My husband got home and walked in the door with what looked to me like a full-grown cat! "That's not a kitten!", I said. But I tried to put my expectations aside and watched as this "kitten" made his way around the house and investigated everything in sight. He then jumped on the couch and lay down. He had already made himself at home, and I was immediately in love. We talked that evening about what to name him. I can't remember what names we threw out there, but out of the blue my husband turned to the cat, who was now on the back of the couch looking like he was ready to get into mischief, and called out "Butch!" The cat looked right at us. We decided that would be his name. For the next 22 years Butch brought us joy and laughter every single day. He brought home "presents" like moles and mice, but we never minded because we knew it came from the heart. He stopped hunting in his later years and was content to just sit on the deck and watch the wildlife from his comfy little spot in the sun.
When Butch was 16 he started showing signs of chronic renal failure. The vet confirmed that he had the disease, and he sent us home with instructions. The vet did not tell us how many years Butch had left, but I didn't want to know. We managed the disease the best we could with food, medication and fluids (we didn't do subcutaneous fluids; we tried it once and it was too traumatic for all of us). He stayed with us another 6 years after that diagnosis. What an incredible cat. His spirit remained strong, even as he developed arthritis in his hips and legs. He didn't want to leave us, and even in his discomfort he insisted on following us wherever we went. He slept with us every night for all those years, and when he was no longer able to jump on the bed by himself, my husband and I would take turns during the night putting him on the floor when he wanted to get down, and getting up to pick him up when he wanted to come back. We were sleepless for a lot of nights, but we didn't care. Anything for Butch. Even on the day when we had to say goodbye, we knew we were doing what was best for him. He wanted us to let him go, and I know he loves us for it. He gave us the greatest gift by staying with us for 22 years, so we gave him the ultimate gift and ended his suffering. I found a vet that would come to the house because I couldn't bear the thought of bringing Butch to the vet. He passed away as my husband stroked his fur and I cradled his head in my lap. He went to sleep for the last time at home, in the place where he was most calm and comfortable. He will be back with us soon, and we will keep him in a special spot where he can continue to watch over us.
10/28/10-My dear, beloved Butch. I think of you constantly, and I miss you so much. Today is one week since you left us, and although the initial shock of losing you has subsided a little, the emptiness is still very much there. I look for you when I get up in the morning and when I get home at night. The house is too quiet without your meows. Daddy looked for you last night when he was cooking chicken for dinner. You always loved it when we made chicken. I do feel your presence though. I can see you napping on the bathroom rug or sitting on Daddy's lap in the recliner. I imagine you in bed with us, and I can almost hear you purring. Maybe you're right next to my head purring in my ear like you used to do. I'd like to think that. We will have you back with us soon, sweet kitty. And there will come the day when you see us at Rainbow Bridge and we can hold you and stroke your fur again. I love you, Butch. 10/31/10-My dearest Butch, I'm visiting your residency today and I'm missing you so much. Daddy and I know you're here with us and watching over us, but I want so bad to hold you and feel your soft fur. Please know I'm holding you in my heart. We love you, Butch. Love, Mommy and Daddy. 11/1/10-Dearest Butch, I am especially sad today over the loss of you. I looked for you this morning. I thought I heard you meow. It was very cold, and it reminded me how on cold mornings I would pick you up and cuddle you because you were so soft and warm. We had the wood stove going last night and we thought of you, how you would have been lying on the hearth right in front of it. Emily spoke of you last night. She misses you too. I miss you so much it hurts. I know you're with us and watching over us. We just think of the day when we'll meet again. Love, Mommy and Daddy. 11/10/10-You came back to us today. Your ashes have a special place in the livingroom with your picture on top of the box. I look at you often and wish I could hold you and feel your soft fur. But at least you're back home and I feel comforted by your presence. We love you and miss you every day. Love, Mommy and Daddy. 11/15/10-You came to visit me in my dreams last night. I felt you step on my pillow like you always used to do, and I turned and saw your little face, with those big trusting eyes, looking down at me. I said your name and reached out to touch you, and then you were gone. You were only there for a brief few seconds, but you let me know you're here with us. Please visit Daddy too. He wants to see you. We miss you so much, Butch. Love, Mommy and Daddy. 1/5/11-Christmas has come and gone, and I thought of you so much as we were putting up the Christmas tree and cooking the shrimp and crab for Christmas Eve. You loved sampling the shrimp-your favorite. And you loved circling the tree looking for an ornament to knock off of it. There was a definite hole where you used to be, but you are always in our hearts. I wish I could hold you, but I know someday I will. We love you and miss you so much. Love, Mommy and Daddy. 5/16/11-I know it's been a long time since I've visited but I think about you every single day. Spring is here and I know this was your favorite time of year. Daddy was working in the yard this weekend and he remembers how you always followed him around when he was working in the garden. It's hard for him this year because it's the first spring without you. We miss you so much. Your tree is looking beautiful and the grass is so green and lush, just the way you liked it when you used to lie down in it and take a nap. Your favorite hiding place is filling in beautifully with all the plants and flowers. I hope you're watching and enjoying it from Rainbow Bridge. Summer won't be the same without you. We love you, baby. Love, Mommy and Daddy. 10/20/11-My sweet kitty, tomorrow will be one year since you left us. Daddy and I miss you terribly. Last night we were thinking back on all the smiles and laughs you gave us and how much we loved having you live with us. Now, one year later, we can laugh when we talk about you instead of cry. I know you wouldn't want us to be sad because you're happy and having fun where you are. You will always be our special kitty, our first one, the one we had for the first 22 years of our marriage. You were our child. Someday we'll see you again. In the meantime we'll think about you and miss you every day. We love you, baby. Love, Mommy and Daddy