Buddy is my boy. He’s a chill dude. He’s beloved by cats wherever he goes. Buddy is an orange tabby and everyone loves orange tabbies!
I told you the story of Daisy in a previous post. This is her littermate and brother, Buddy.
How It Began
Initially, I had decided to adopt one of the six teenage kittens that had been born in the barn where I had started working. I was immediately drawn to the cute orange kitten, of course. But a little girl kitten was the bravest of the bunch and approached me first. I kitten-nabbed her and the rest of that can be told on my Daisy’s page.
After having bonded with Daisy and realizing she was miserable being kept inside, despite her love for me, I started letting her accompany me to work out in the barn. She was reintroduced to her siblings. Daisy, being the feisty girl she is, wasn’t too impressed, but soon they all became reacquainted and friends again.
Daisy would spend all day at work with me in the barns and then follow me to the apartment room where I lived. She’d eat, take a nap, and be raring to go for the afternoon. She’d get to play outside and then come back in for the night.
One morning after work, Daisy and I were followed home by her brother, the orange tabby. He simply walked right inside and happily went to town on the kitten food Daisy had in her bowl. I fed them both some wet food. Happily purring, the orange tabby refused to leave.
I had been adopted and socialized a teenage kitten all at once!
(Keep in mind, these guys were around 16-20 weeks old and almost completely feral still. They had some socialization in that they had people feeding them, but very little handling at all, except when one got in the way. When I first pet them, they couldn’t figure out what I was doing and would twist around to try to see what was going on!)
Mischievous Duo (Plus Littermates)
Daisy and Buddy were inseparable at first. So freaking cute they were, play fighting and running around. Daisy was the snuggler, but yet more independent. Buddy wasn’t a snuggly kitten, but he absolutely had to be near me at all times.
As they grew a little older, their bond wasn’t as strong. Daisy went her own way and Buddy went his. They still have fun fighting each other occasionally, though.
Both Buddy and Daisy got vaccinated, fixed, and microchipped. They each got a breakaway collar, too. Daisy kept breaking hers off in her adventures, of course.
Despite what people who dislike cats claim, Buddy is like most barn cats in hunting rodents, not birds. Buddy prefers stalking a mouse hole or the hay bales for mice and rats and bugs. He checks drainage ditches, under the small walking bridges, and other various places.
In fact, I know of only 2 birds ‘caught’ by any of my 7 outdoor cats all last year, and I couldn’t tell you if the bird was hurt or not before they got the poor thing.
The rest of Daisy and Buddy’s siblings figured out where the crazy barn cat lady’s apartment was and attempted to move in too! They realized I would feed them and pet them and they loved it. Unfortunately, two cats were my limit. I had only wanted one to begin with! I couldn’t take on six. But I fed them, loved on them, and a coworker even adopted the gray dilute tortoiseshell female and named her Maui.
Soon, the last three kittens had names: Boots, Princess, and Crackhead.
Upper Respiratory Infections are No Joke
After a couple of months, Daisy came down with an upper respiratory infection that was super mild. Most upper respiratory infections are viral in nature, a lot like our colds, and require no real treatment except time to get over and supportive care for the symptoms if extreme. Daisy sneezed and was a little sniffly for a couple of days, then she got well.
She only had one day she acted oddly. She was just super clingy one night. The next morning, she was back to normal.
Buddy didn’t sneeze or seem congested at all. In fact, I didn’t think he had it at first. But my boy got really, really sick. The poor boy was lethargic, uninterested in food, and started losing weight. I brought him into the vet immediately.
He had a fever of over 105 degrees!!
He stayed overnight, got some fluids into him, antibiotics and a fever reducer. I picked him up the next morning. He still wasn’t feeling chipper, but he looked better. And boy was he happy to see me! (I’m sorry, Buddy! I’ll try not to do that to you again!)
Because he was sick, I had to postpone his neuter surgery. Luckily, being male this wasn’t a huge deal.
A few days later, he still wasn’t eating. Buddy worried me so much. I’m sure he felt like hell because of the lack of food, too.
A friend brought me some fried chicken and sides for lunch one day. I didn’t even make it back inside before Buddy perked right up and started yelling at me. “Feed me that yummy stuff now!” he seemed to say. I was so happy he wanted to eat, I gave him nearly all of the chicken! He ate nearly an entire chicken breast that I hand fed him. (No bones of course!)
I credit the smell of cooked chicken with saving his life. He recovered completely and was just fine the next morning. It took a little bit to get his weight back to normal, but literally, he looked 200% better in one day.
Today, He’s Almost Two!
Today, he’s nearly three years old!
He’s my companion in all outdoor activities. He loves hanging out with me every time I’m outside or in the barns somewhere. Even when it’s cold as crap!
He’s also my kitten pal as he tolerates other cat’s nonsense quite well. In fact, other cats adore Buddy!
Cats love Buddy. Cats maul Buddy often in a loveable way, of course. I honestly do not understand it because the feeling is not mutual. He isn’t a hissy kitty, but he really just ignores other cats.
Buddy doesn’t want to cuddle. He doesn’t even want to play with them. Buddy just wants to chill next to me.
Yet they love him. I credit it with his smell because they usually smell him first and then rub up against him. Immediately. It’s weird. The first meeting, they smell him. Then rub. Buddy usually avoids the rub calmly and walks away.
Two teenage feral cats I was socializing took an instant shine to my boy. They were always trying to sleep with him, meow at him for attention and I figure Buddy was annoyed by the whole thing. Yet, he still tolerated it. Simply moved his head away from the overeager young adult cat or moved away. Buddy would be sleeping and one of the ex-feral teenagers would have to curl up with him as if he were their mother. There are times two cats are sleeping with him. It’s crazy weird.
To be honest, Buddy is so good-natured, he’s actually pretty boring! He is completely trained to follow me around like his sister, Daisy, does. But he does it better because he also doesn’t mind being indoors as much as she does. He comes home in the evening and will meow at the door to be let in every single night. (Daisy insists on running away when she sees me at bedtime, even now!)
He’s such a good boy!
Status of the Buddy/Daisy Siblings
I had both Daisy and Buddy fixed, obviously.
I got Boots, Princess and Crackhead fixed in preparation for the Training Center closure and Barn Cat Relocation project mentioned in my About Me post.
Maui had a single kitten this summer because she is not fixed yet. This is one lesson I learned about people taking on a ‘free’ kitten.
As these kittens were already born before I came to work in that barn and hadn’t belonged to anyone specifically, I had no say in who could take one or not. I also couldn’t insist on getting her fixed first. Full disclosure, though: I probably would have let them take her as he was a fellow barn worker in the same barn AND he does like animals and knew he wouldn’t abuse her.
This was also shortly after I arrived in Louisiana and I hadn’t yet known about the local resources to help me get barn cats fixed (there were 20 in that barn alone needing to be desexed!!) at the time my coworker adopted her. Nor had I heard of TNR at the time.
After I got Princess, Boots, and Crackhead fixed, a super nice lady heard about the abandoned barn cats needing outdoor homes. She came and picked Princess to adopt as an outdoor pet. She ended up calling me shortly afterward, they were getting her vaccinated and everything and bringing her inside! Hopefully, that worked out for them and Princess is a happy, spoiled indoor kitty. If not, I know she’s a happy, spoiled outdoor kitty!
Sadly, in the midst of trying to locate outdoor homes for the cats, both Boots and Crackhead disappeared in the same week. That’s suspicious and I hope that someone saw their photos online (and recognized them) and took them home, even if they didn’t come to me first. Boots wouldn’t come to many people except me, but Crackhead loved everyone. I just hope nothing bad happened to them.