BarneyI have been dreading writing about Barney because her story has already ended. I do want to tell her story though because she was a loving cat that I wish could have had more than 10 years with us.

Barney was our first drop off that showed up across the street at my father-in-law’s barn. My husband came up with the name Barney because she was living in the barn and I had told him that I had a crush on Barney Rubble (The Flintstones) as a child. She was very thin and could fit through the small hole in the barn door. She was friendly and would come running across the barn rafters when called. She was quick though and we couldn’t catch her.

She lived outside for a few months and would hang around in the yard until Spooky (who belonged to a neighbour at the time) would scare her out of the yard. Luckily, Spooky was quite plump from eating at several neighbours’ houses so he couldn’t fit through the hole in the barn door like she could.

We were not happy that Spooky chased Barney, but we couldn’t catch her to bring her inside so we hoped for the best.

Fall arrived and it was getting colder. Barney was getting friendlier and followed David around while he was outside. One day, he was getting something out of the garage and she got under the door as it was closing. She didn’t get stuck, but he was pretty sure she got bumped in the head. I decided to try to catch her while she was eating so we could check on her. Maybe the bump to the head slowed her down or maybe I was quicker that day, but I caught her.

We kept her segregated and crated for the night and the next day I brought her to the vet. She didn’t seem to have any damage from the head bump and she tested negative for FELV/FIV. I made an appointment to get her spayed and thinking back now, I wonder why the vet didn’t look for a tattoo on her tummy. She did end up getting spayed a week later, but I wonder if the vet just did it for the money. I find it odd that she was out all summer and was not expecting kittens. The vet guessed her age to be 2 or 3 which seems to be the guess they always make. I really don’t think it is possible to tell the age of a cat by the teeth.

Many factors affect teeth like early nutrition, reabsorption, genetics, etc. I am sure she was fairly young though because she was a lot of fun and loved to play. That cat would chase anything she could get her paws on.

We always wondered if she was part Ragdoll because she would go limp when you did pick her up. She loved to snuggle on laps and got along with all the other kitties - except Prancie. She was here before Prancie and had established her dominance (in a sweet way). Prancie is sweet too, but can be pushy when she wants something and that didn’t sit too well with Barney.

We used to call her Barney the Boomerang because she was the most stubborn kitty. When she wanted something there was no stopping her. I feel bad now, but I used to get annoyed with her for constantly getting on the counter to snoop at what I was doing. I would pick her up and put her on the floor and she would be right back - like a boomerang. I miss her so much now.

Barney also had the cutest little chirp sound when she meowed, I wish I had a video of her now, but I will never forget. She spent a lot of time in the kitchen with Millie in her later years because of her issues with Prancie. She would follow us to the door and reach up at the handle with the cutest little sound which was her way of saying, “please let me go in there.”

When my niece was in college, she adopted a cat she named Nixon and he stayed in her room most of the time. He had to be supervised at all times because he chewed everything - wires, clothes, etc. Sometimes when Barney was annoying me I would put her in with him to “baby-sit”. They seemed to get along and now he does really well with my niece’s husband’s cat so I credit Barney for that. When she was mad at Nixon, she would toss stuff off the bureau at him, she was sweet, but had a little temper.

Barney also got along great with our dog, Katie. They used to share her bed on the kitchen floor. I am not sure Katie was thrilled about this, but they did seem to like to cuddle together. I like to think they are cuddling at the rainbow bridge together now.

Barney and DavidIn March 2013, Barney was still acting normal and eating, but I noticed her belly was swollen. I was already having a horrible year, my husband had shoulder surgery the day my Mom came home from a major surgery. I brought Barney to the vet and said, “she can’t die on me, I can’t handle that too.” I know the vet wanted to do everything possible once I said that, but the sad truth is once you have fluid in your abdomen, it is never good.

Barney was in liver failure, I have no idea what caused this, but there was no way to save her. We kept doing tests to figure out the cause and she was on a pill to keep the fluid down, but she only survived a week. The vet never actually told me that Barney was not going to make it, my niece who was a receptionist at the time actually told us. 

My husband and I took turns sitting with her and she passed away with my husband by her side. I guess that is appropriate being that she seemed to like him best and spent more time on his lap than mine. It has been over 2 years and we still miss her and I think the other kitties do too.



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)