Hello fellow cat lovers, this is the story of a very special lady called Button.  She was with us only fleetingly but she left a hole in our hearts which still exists to this day.

Button's story as we know it begins one lovely Spring day.  I had a few days off work and was busy doing bits and pieces at home, being ably assisted as always by small furry people.  Suddenly the phone rang. I picked up the receiver to hear the voice of my friend Jane.  Jane then worked in a cattery, which although was a private boarding cattery, also took in the overflow from the local RSPCA Centre.  (Some of you who have read my previous articles will no doubt have guessed by now where this was leading). 

Jane was in a state and was gabbling about a cat – ‘you have to save it.  She is too old.  Inspector Brown is on his way over to put her down.  You have to come over Sue,’ she said. 

Putting the phone down and feeling rather stunned, had I really heard right, was I needed straight away.  No time to lose then.  I grabbed a cat basket and rushed to the car.  As I drove to the cattery I wondered if I would be in time.  I had met Inspector Brown on a few occasions before.  He was a very nice man, but I knew that he was going to the cattery that afternoon for the sole purpose of ending this cat's life, and that although Jane was telling him that I was coming over, I was aware of how pressured Inspectors are and that he would have lots of other calls to make that afternoon. 

With a very fast beating heart I pulled up at the cattery.  As I got out of the car, Inspector Brown pulled up behind me.  To my surprise he remembered me and said he was very glad I was taking this cat as she was very sweet and having to put her to sleep was not something he wanted to do.  Together we went round and found the very agitated Jane.  She relaxed as she saw both me and Inspector Brown.  We all went to meet my new cat.

I then got to hear Button's story.  She had been knocked down by a car on a road not too far from my home.  Luckily the person responsible had stopped and taken her to the local vets.  They had checked her over and found that she appeared to be o.k. so they called the RSPCA.  Inspector Brown explained that she was so old there had been no hope of putting her up for adoption and so it had been decided that she was to be put to sleep.  Inspector Brown thanked me for taking her and said she was around 21 and perhaps would only live for a few weeks.

I returned home with Button.  She was friendly and appeared to be quite well fed.  I wondered if she was perhaps the pet of some old lady.  However, no one replied to my adverts.  I was somewhat surprised by her colour, she was brown and white.  How unusual I thought to myself.  She did not appear to have any fleas, but I of course did the usual flea and worm treatments.  She did not mind the other cats and they did not seem to mind her.  I gave her time to settle and then started to brush her.  Well, she must never have been brushed in her life for the hair just started to come out in handfuls.  As I got rid of the layers, of course she was not brown and white, but black and white!!  Soon we had her looking quite a sleek little girl. 

Button loved my daughter, Carey, and would spend as much time with her as she could.  She always slept on Carey's bed. Button greeted every day as if it was something special and she always seemed to be saying "thank you for giving me a chance.” 

She was a very happy cat, but after about a year she started to have epileptic fits.  I took her to the vets, but he said as they were not serious (she came straight out of them, and appeared none the worse), no treatment was really needed until they got really bad, and then in view of her age it might not be appropriate.  She continued to have the occasional fit, but they still only lasted a few moments.  As time passed she became a bit senile and would stare at the wall for hours.  Still she remained happy and knew where she was.  She ate well and although she slept a lot (who wouldn't at her age - nearly 23 by then), we were happy with the way she was going.

During the early hours of the 30th September 1997 I was awakened by Carey shouting me. Button had gone into a fit and was not coming out of it.  I rushed into Carey's room and tried soothing Button, but she had gone into a real big fit and was fitting badly.  We both knew this was not going to be a happy outcome.  I said the poor girl's heart would give out.  It didn't so I rang the vet.  He was obviously asleep and greeted my call with "can't it wait until morning?"  I am not usually a pushy person, but I knew this could not wait until morning.  The vet agreed to meet us at the surgery.  Button had quietened down by this time, but was still out of it.  We arrived and waited for the vet.  He opened up the surgery and apologised for his earlier brusque manner, explaining that he was asleep.  He examined Button and said we had made the right decision, and yes we were absolutely right to get him out of bed.  With heavy hearts we gave him permission to send her on her last journey.  Carey wept for hours and refused to be parted from her friend.  We later laid her to rest in a sunny spot in the garden.  She had been with us for two years.  I hope she had been happy in that time.  She certainly seemed to be.

We still talk today of the little cat who came from who knows where.

Please dear cat lovers if you are thinking of going to a rescue centre to get a new friend, don't make a bee line for the pretty playful kittens.  Spare the time to look at those "not so young".  They have so much to offer.  They so desperately need loving homes.  Everyone wants kittens.  The oldies get left behind.  In these hard times when the centres are so full, they are being forced into having to put to sleep the older cats they cannot home as they are full to breaking point with cats that are the victim of broken homes or the recession.  These older cats will not run up your lovely new curtains or scratch your furniture.  They can still play and be great fun and will offer you great love and affection in return.

RIP Button.  We hope you are chasing butterflies and that we meet again at Rainbow Bridge, along with all those others we still miss and love.


You can read about Sue's other cats here:

Dogs Come when Called

"Dogs come when called. Cats take a message and get back to you."

"Of course, every cat is really the most beautiful woman in the room."

Edward Verrall Luca (essayist)

Sponsored Advert