In Memory of Busby

April 1991 – October 30, 2014

“It was September 1991 when I first met Busby. Kind and caring clients of Ballard Animal Hospital gathered up feral kittens and brought them in to be tested, vaccinated, and neutered – or spayed as the case may be. This good-hearted gesture inspired me, still grieving for my last cat, to say that some day I would give a home to one of their kittens. And that is when the hard sell, and Busby’s story began.

A four-month old kitten was on the day’s schedule. With a snowy white coat, large red ears, the longest striped tail, and crossed blue eyes he was at once beautiful, innocent, and goofy. Alone and timid, he did not think he could ever be deserving of safety and kindness. And in our home, timid and afraid to be seen, he hid, coming out of hiding only at night to sneak food.

It took many months before he began to trust. And then he purred so loud and incessantly he sounded like a buzzing bee. His true personality blossomed. A beautiful cat should be dignified and even proud. But not Busby. More comical than dignified, he loved to herd us room to room showing just how fast he could run with his long panther-like body and legs, and the long tail for balance. He would scramble down the hallway until his feet slid out from under him. He would jump onto the bed and slide off. And when really full of spunk his favorite trick was to run straight up then wall, do a 180 degree turn, pounce off the wall, then bound away.

Busby’s greatest joy and excitement came on Christmas. He loved his presents scented with catnip and wrapped in tissue paper. He made a funny game of ribbons – especially when we chased him to get them away. Exploring the tree was so exciting to him, and he instinctively knew it was a special day. He knew there were other special days too. And every birthday he had a party with tissue paper toys and closely guarded ribbons.

As months and years went by, he found his own comfortable place spread out on top of a giant stuffed bear where he lay patiently until it was time to herd us to bed. There he had his own favorite Blankie, all soft and white. He started our days and ended our days, and in between he was the inspiration of all of our traditions.

There could never be a cat who so-loved to be cuddled. He wrapped his toes around our fingers, reached out to touch us both at once, and kissed our noses. He greeted us eagerly on every return. He made every day special, and now that he has been gone for six months it seems there are no more special days. How do you ever say goodbye to that kind of love and tender devotion? This little homeless cat found his way into our hearts and lives forever.”

- The Mailheau Family of Seattle.

Julie Howe