Saying goodbye to a part of yourself is one of the toughest parts of life..
Baxter Baxter Baxter. While every animal I have lived with knew their name, Baxter was madly in love with his. It was his favorite sound, melodious, and filled with love, to him. He was my first cat as an adult, and he was the most beautiful kitten I’d ever seen.
He always smelled amazing, and I never bathed him.
On his first day home at 9 weeks of age, I simply plopped him down in front of my huge Great Dane, Grace. No small talk, no sniffing, just “Meet your little brother, Baxter”. That began a love story of 2 inseparable sweet souls. It never wavered,
or diminished as Baxter grew up, until Grace passed away at almost 14 yo, when Baxter was 5.
Everyone thinks they have the greatest cat. Baxter was the ‘Putz’ of my existence. Since he loved his name so much, he’d do anything to get you to say it.
He would open drawers, and toss silverware onto the tile floor, one by one SMASH…. “Baxter!” He would sit on the table, tail swishing, and move only his back feet,
while never losing your gaze, and push things onto the floor behind him, believing you had no clue it was him. ‘”Baxter!”
He’d climb on my bureau and threaten to topple an entire lamp…… “Baxter!!!!”
I could never have real or artificial flowers, he’d find them wherever they were, break anything in his way to get to them, and chew them.
In the middle of the night, he’d come into my room, and pull on the widow shade with his teeth, until it flew up, shocking me awake…’Baxter!!!”
Once I went back to sleep, he’d return, to knead the pillow right next to my head, purring with his lifelong, odd gravely purr, then abruptly run out.
His other lifelong quest, despite being, always, an indoor cat, was to GET OUT. The few times he was successful, which were rare, I’d go into insane Scotland Yard mode, and 5 minutes later I’d have hunted him down and placed him safely inside, then explain to him that one more moment on the lam, and he would have been shot, run over, or eaten by the biggest wolf on the planet. The amazing thing is he would walk through heavy woods, and dirt, yet not one bunny like hair would be out of place, and nary a piece of dust stuck to him…..It was weird….. Even if it had rained!
I photographed him all the time. Several of his pictures won kitty photo contests. He was a star model, but cared not for the fuss. I always promised
him I’d make a deposit into his ‘fan club account if he was patient. He was.
Despite his aloof persona, He’d be the first to stick his head in a visitor’s purse without asking, or sit on the clipboard of a workman, and
Eventually when they stopped paying attention, steal their pen. ‘Baxter!!”
Baxter had a gorgeous coat, but hated to be combed or brushed. So, multiple times a day, every day, I groomed him in sections….while he was asleep.
Not easy to do. But no cat of mine was going to get mats!! He hated being fussed over. I would pick him up and tell him I loved him more than life, and
force kisses on his face…He was mortified. He never hissed, or scratched me, despite his obvious “Mom, cut it out!!!”
He almost died twice during his younger life, ending up in an ICU for days.When he was 2, he had bands of tissue that grew from his abdominal wall and strangled his intestines, major surgery for that.. Saved in the nick of time. A one in a million occurrence. The second time, he jumped up on the counter where he always ate, but missed, and was paralyzed for several days…..Saved again by the big 24/7 specialty hospital. Many thousands of dollars, and grey hairs from worry, he’d come home.
Always from something a vet “Rarely saw”, one in a million, but, he’d make it back home. He always came home……
Baxter was just 10 in February.. He passed away in my arms on September 14th, last month, before what would have been a journey I didn’t wish him to take. He had
a rare cancer, more common in dogs, Neoplastic Tracheal and lung Carcinoma. He’d only had 2 episodes of labored breathing that were short but frightening.
The vet did not suspect something this serious. I said ‘give him the works’, meaning diagnostics. And, there it was on a scan.
My heart would have broken into pieces if he’d suffered for even a moment, or struggled to breathe.
I had to take my own advice with regard to letting him pass peacefully with no crisis. “Better weeks too early than one second too late”.
As his vet said to me ‘They aren’t waiting around for a graduation, a wedding or a Grandchild, they are just living their day to day routine in the present moment, this disease will be pretty aggressive’.
We are given a terrible choice, but also a great loving service we don’t get to choose with our human family.
My home has lost something I so cherished, his constant antics and unique, relentless tom foolery. I have just one cat now, another Ragdoll, Violet, she’s 9, and I didn’t think she even liked him.
She would bop him on the head when he’d walk by her, they never slept together or groomed each other. But for the last month she has slept in new spots, cries loudly at night, and it took her 4 weeks to just do her first normal poop. She is still not herself. I had no idea she even cared. He always wanted to be closer to her, she just wasn’t interested.
Baxter, Baxter, We miss the crap out of you, my sweet, nudgy, annoying Prince. You better be waiting for me. ♥ “I promise, I won’t bring a comb”…..☺
You can read Baxter’s previously submitted/run Ragdoll of the Week here.