A Cat Named Bugger

Those of you who checked back on the comments of last week’s post will know that the Bugger-cat succumbed to cancer last Friday. The rest of you know now.

He earned his name at the age of 6 months when he joined us, a hyper kitten we adopted from the Reading shelter. His previous adopter had to surrender him when her boyfriend turned out to be abusive and she couldn’t keep him in her new accommodation. We suspected from his skittishness around any and all adult males that the abusive boyfriend was also abusive to the kitten, which may or may not have contributed to Bugger earning his name.

The Husband had the day off, so he planned to take the kitten to the vet for his first checkup. He’d checked on the kitten a few times during the day, and found nothing worse than sleeping and some exploration, but when it came to be time to introduce kitten to cat carrier, there was no sign of him. By the time the Husband had searched the house only to find the kitten inside a cupboard he’d already checked once, he was named Little Bugger.

He lived down to that name many times. The times he’d wrap himself around our ankles while we tried to go upstairs or downstairs, nearly getting squished along with nearly tripping one of us. The operatic performances when the tinned food didn’t arrive in his bowl quickly enough. The even more operatic performances that accompanied his trips to the vet (he really did not like traveling in cars). His love of sneaking outside so he could roll around on the cement, a love that was so pronounced that entering the house often came with a strategically placed foot or other object and a loud pronouncement that “You are not an outside Buggers!” (which he ignored, of course).

There was the time he got out and we couldn’t find him that night or the next morning. That evening he was crying at the door and thoroughly miserable.

And of course to counter that, there was the way he’d come and drape himself over my chest and knead my arm, and the way he would lean into being petted, and – if given the chance – give little nips as if he was grooming and removing unwanted stuff stuck in my “fur”. Never mind that human skin doesn’t work that way, Mommy’s arm wasn’t perfectly smooth so there must be something there that he could nip off to fix it.

The way he played with the toy that had a ping pong ball in a circular track, and worked out how to bat the ball and accelerate the bloody thing to ridiculous speeds by hitting it just right each time it circled its track. The way he’d get absolutely stoned on catnip and flop on his back so he could get tummy rubs.

We will miss him. I don’t know if I truly believe the Rainbow Bridge story, sweet as it is, but I do believe that none of the cats I’ve given my heart to have truly left. It might be my imagination or it might be something else entirely, but I remember how each of them jumps onto the bed, and how they choose their favorite spots on the bed.

Late at night when I’m half asleep, I’ll feel a cat land on the bed. I’ll feel their feet walking around. All of them have different patterns, and I recognize them. I’ll feel Her Royal Fluffiness Miss Shani (gone for 5 years now after 21 years of ownership – and yes, she owned me) snuggling into place between me and the Husband. Or I’ll catch a hint of old Rani’s (the first Siamese to own me) distinctive scent. Or feel Bugger’s light footsteps. And reach out automatically to pet them, and have my hand meet nothing.

And I know they might not be real, but they’re still there and they’re still part of us, and that will never change.

(Image: Shani in the kitty bed with Bugger watching me as he sits between my keyboard and monitor. Taken June of 2012)


  1. There are king beds, California king beds, emperor beds – but we don’t get the ultimate bed until we join our companions in Heaven. Room for all…

    RIP, Bugger – I’m sure there is plenty of catnip and a plenitude of belly rubbers while you wait.

  2. Oh Kate. I am so sorry to hear this. Even if we know their time is finite, it hurts none the less. ((hugs)) and may you be haunted by loving ghosts always.

  3. I am so so sorry. It is easy to tell that he, and all the cats, was/are well loved.

    Somewhere, be it at the rainbow bridge, a place in heaven, or sitting in the shadows watching you, he is happy and at peace.

  4. I don’t know if the Rainbow Bridge is the next thing or not, but it sure provides me with a way of talking about our loss, while giving me something to hold on to. I don’t know why THAT works, and not “as long as you remember, they aren’t really gone” doesn’t work for me.
    My gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vannessa, the elegant, foxy, praying black grandmother of Woodstock, GA, had NO experience with fur babies before she married me. She even told me black people didn’t have pets, to which I replied that this was because taking a lion cub into a grass hut had no possible good outcome. Then, she hit me. But she did fall in love with my fat black Manx cat Sugar Belly, and wept last year when Shug crossed the Bridge. She was sure she would never own a pet again.
    So, I brought home two rescues: Daniel-San to be her cat, and Pitty-Sing to be my cat. They were both six months old, and quickly, found the way into her heart.
    And, in the time remaining to us to breathe, I hope we can always have at least one fur baby around.

  5. I know the feeling. There are no cat ghosts in my bed (they would not stoop to bed with a dog that is there now) but there are many on the stairs and in the dark corners on the upstairs.

    My all your ghosts be friendly ones. RIP, Bugger.

  6. My vet told me once that it takes very special people to love a creature you’re destined to outlive. You are one of those special people. My best to you and your family.

  7. Thank you, all of you. He leaves a hole in our hearts way bigger than he ever was and an exceedingly needy Princess Buttercup, who is missing her big brother more than she would want to admit. (She is Cat. She is queen of all she surveys. And her minion has left her with only the two big humans to cater to her wishes. The horror of it all!)

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