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Buster the Beloved Pussycat


"Dogs have owners; cats have staff," and I have worked for some wonderful cats in my time. The one I loved best was named Buster. Buster had an unusual mind. He didn't think like other cats; he didn't act like other cats. Maybe that's why I loved him so.

We got Buster from the county animal shelter. We usually get our cats from the county animal shelter. That way we save a life -- and we've gotten some great cats that way. One fall, after our cat had died and left a big hole in our lives, we went to the animal shelter for a kitten. There were no kittens.

I was about to give up, but my husband Bill kept saying, "That one over there looks good." And he did. He was about three-quarters grown, grey and white, and had a sweet, hopeful expression on his little face. Also, he was scheduled to be killed the next day. There was no time for us to go home and meditate on the matter.

We went to the people in charge and said, "We'll take that one."

As we and the cat rode home, Bill picked out his name. We take turns naming our cats, and it was Bill's turn. "We'll call him Buster," he said.

"Buster?"

"When you're mad at me, you say, 'See here, Buster,' and I'd like to have someone else around named Buster."

When we got Buster home, he of course had to inspect the house. After a brief look around, he went into my mother's bedroom, where the sun was shining warmly on her pink bedspread. He jumped onto the bed and promptly went to sleep in a patch of sunlight, sprawled out on his back, paws up, the way a cat sprawls when he's feeling completely safe and happy.

"Home at last," he was saying. "Home at last."

"Buster Is Welcomed To The Neighborhood"

At our house Buster had food available around the clock, but he must have been hungry as a kitten, because he didn't think of the other houses in our neighborhood as unfriendly. He thought of them as snack bars.

I later discovered that he got a slice of bologna from Pearl Cesare every morning around ten. He got milk from Bert Pigge shortly thereafter. Then he jumped onto a chair -- Bert had an especially desirable one -- and had a nap.

Buster was a successful entrepreneur from the start.

The other cats welcomed Buster to the neighborhood by hissing and snarling and letting him know he was in THEIR territory and he'd better get out. Well, Buster didn't get out. He didn't even get worried. I don't know why; he just didn't.

Then came the heavy artillery: the neighborhood's reigning tomcat.

I heard a noise like a furious air-raid siren coming from the back yard. I looked out the window to see the huge reigning black-and-white tom crouched a few feet from Buster, making one of the world's most menacing sounds. But Buster didn't seem worried. He listened politely. Then he noticed an autumn leaf spinning down toward him. The wind blew the leaf around the corner of the house, and Buster followed after it, leaping and pawing the leaf as it spun.

The bewildered tom sent a few more air-raid siren noises into empty air. Then he fell silent. At last he wandered off in another direction.

After that Buster was accepted as a neighborhood cat in good standing.

"Buster and I Rise and Shine"

Buster woke me in the morning by bouncing on my waterbed. I would dream I was in a small boat in a choppy sea. And gradually wake to find Buster leaping straight up in the air and briskly landing on all fours on the waterbed. KER-THUMP, KER-SLOSH. KER-THUMP, KER-SLOSH. The waterbed waves grew higher and higher as Buster briskly bounced . . . until, groggy and seasick, I rolled onto solid ground.

"Buster And The Essential Kindness of Automobiles"

Buster believed in the essential kindness of people and automobiles. When summer arrived, I began hearing cars honk in front of the house. And looked out to see Buster waking from a nap, which nap was taking place in the middle of the street: he found the sun-warmed black pavement ideal for that purpose. Fortunately ours was not a through street; drivers were honking at Buster and waiting for him to leisurely wake up and move out of their way. But how long could that last?

Whenever I saw Buster napping in the street, I yelled at him to get out. To which he paid no attention. I had to go into the street, pick up his warm, luxuriously limp body, and carry him indoors.

And the next day I'd hear a car honking again.

"Why didn't you keep him indoors, you idiot?" you are thinking.

Well, with 20/20 hindsight I know I should have. But I hoped that the honking cars would teach Buster not to sleep in the street. They would have taught any other cat.

And, while I dithered, came the heartbreaking day when Buster didn't return from his happy neighborhood rounds.

I of course made inquiries -- and learned about his tours of the home snack bars.

But he hadn't been to any of them that day.

I asked a group of kids if they had seen Buster.

"Is he the cat who chases cars?" they asked.

And then I recalled a half-forgotten memory: that of a little grey and white figure bounding joyously in the wake of an automobile.

"That's him," I said.

But they had not seen him lately either.

I will never know for certain what happened to Buster, but clearly he trusted in the essential kindness of people and automobiles one time too many.

About The Author

Find Janette Blackwell's hilarious cookbook, "Steamin' Down the Tracks with Viola Hockenberry," at foodandfiction.com

Janette@foodandfiction.com


TODAYS NEWS BY OFFICEJAX FREE ADVERTISING AND AD EXCHANGE SOLUTIONSMORE PETS INFORMATION RESOURCES updated Sun. September / 27 / 2020

In Isolating Times, Can Robo-Pets Provide Comfort? - The New York Times
In Isolating Times, Can Robo-Pets Provide Comfort?  The New York Times

Pets linked to maintaining better mental health and reducing loneliness during lockdown, new research shows - Science Daily
Pets linked to maintaining better mental health and reducing loneliness during lockdown, new research shows  Science Daily

Pets of the week: Trip and Louie - Billings Gazette
Pets of the week: Trip and Louie  Billings Gazette

PETS OF THE WEEK | Lifestyle | djournal.com - Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
PETS OF THE WEEK | Lifestyle | djournal.com  Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

Pets of the week: Dozer and Haley are two happy, energetic dogs in need of new homes - MLive.com
Pets of the week: Dozer and Haley are two happy, energetic dogs in need of new homes  MLive.com

Dr. Maro: Know the signs of pain in pets - The Times
Dr. Maro: Know the signs of pain in pets  The Times

Speaking of Pets: The fire is over, now what? Part 2 of 2 - Vail Daily News
Speaking of Pets: The fire is over, now what? Part 2 of 2  Vail Daily News

Wally: Pet of the Week 9-27.20 - Tyler Morning Telegraph
Wally: Pet of the Week 9-27.20  Tyler Morning Telegraph

Poisonous toads roaming in Florida could be deadly for your pets - FOX 35 Orlando
Poisonous toads roaming in Florida could be deadly for your pets  FOX 35 Orlando

Firefighter suffers minor injuries, pets die in fire - The Suffolk News-Herald - Suffolk News-Herald
Firefighter suffers minor injuries, pets die in fire - The Suffolk News-Herald  Suffolk News-Herald

Erie County offers free rabies vaccinations for pets - WGRZ.com
Erie County offers free rabies vaccinations for pets  WGRZ.com

SPCA continues no lost pets campaign by microchipping animals - WABI
SPCA continues no lost pets campaign by microchipping animals  WABI

Clean carpets possess a deeper meaning than just an inviting home - The Daily Nonpareil
Clean carpets possess a deeper meaning than just an inviting home  The Daily Nonpareil

Buy these stocks to ride the pandemic 'pet boom,' according to Bank of America - CNBC
Buy these stocks to ride the pandemic 'pet boom,' according to Bank of America  CNBC

FOTAS: County shelter pets find fantastic forever homes - Charleston Post Courier
FOTAS: County shelter pets find fantastic forever homes  Charleston Post Courier

Adoptable pets in Tucson - Arizona Daily Star
Adoptable pets in Tucson  Arizona Daily Star

Gallery: Pets of the week: Meet Jordan - nwitimes.com
Gallery: Pets of the week: Meet Jordan  nwitimes.com

30 adoptable pets get ‘courtside’ seats at NBA playoff game - Today.com
30 adoptable pets get ‘courtside’ seats at NBA playoff game  Today.com

Annual pet blessing held as a drive-thru event due to ongoing pandemic - WLOS
Annual pet blessing held as a drive-thru event due to ongoing pandemic  WLOS

Cabot animal shelter using facial recognition to help find lost pets - WATN - Local 24
Cabot animal shelter using facial recognition to help find lost pets  WATN - Local 24

Points for Pets: Dental disease is most common disease among older cats, dogs - WV News
Points for Pets: Dental disease is most common disease among older cats, dogs  WV News

OPINION: Best way to care for pets from smoke after recent fires - Montrose Daily Press
OPINION: Best way to care for pets from smoke after recent fires  Montrose Daily Press

PUPS Act introduced to keep pets, owners together after travel - The Franklin Sun
PUPS Act introduced to keep pets, owners together after travel  The Franklin Sun

SMVHS Pet of the Week: Duke - Lompoc Record
SMVHS Pet of the Week: Duke  Lompoc Record

Pet owners felt less lonely and stressed during COVID-19 lockdown - Earth.com
Pet owners felt less lonely and stressed during COVID-19 lockdown  Earth.com

Ammon reptile owners talk about surrendered pets - Local News 8 - LocalNews8.com
Ammon reptile owners talk about surrendered pets - Local News 8  LocalNews8.com

Annual pet costume contest goes virtual to raise money for animal groups - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Annual pet costume contest goes virtual to raise money for animal groups  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

PET TALK: Chickens can be pets, but they also have other benefits - Chron.com
PET TALK: Chickens can be pets, but they also have other benefits  Chron.com

Big Flats house fire takes the life of one man and family pets - WETM - MyTwinTiers.com
Big Flats house fire takes the life of one man and family pets  WETM - MyTwinTiers.com

Pets with Potential: Meet Duchess - WCAX
Pets with Potential: Meet Duchess  WCAX

Pets and People: Putting two feet first - Frederick News Post
Pets and People: Putting two feet first  Frederick News Post

Galveston County Animal Resource Center pets of the week - Galveston County Daily News
Galveston County Animal Resource Center pets of the week  Galveston County Daily News

CAPA Pet of the Week: Canelo - Santa Maria Times
CAPA Pet of the Week: Canelo  Santa Maria Times

Stanton Foundation grant to help pets, families - University of Georgia
Stanton Foundation grant to help pets, families  University of Georgia

Majority of Pet Owners Admit to Canceling Plans to Hang with Dog Instead, Survey Finds - PEOPLE
Majority of Pet Owners Admit to Canceling Plans to Hang with Dog Instead, Survey Finds  PEOPLE

Pet owners cancel plans to spend time with dogs, cats instead, Pet Census finds - Fox News
Pet owners cancel plans to spend time with dogs, cats instead, Pet Census finds  Fox News

Galveston Island Humane Society pets of the week - Galveston County Daily News
Galveston Island Humane Society pets of the week  Galveston County Daily News

You All Need To Pet The Dog In Hades More - Kotaku
You All Need To Pet The Dog In Hades More  Kotaku

Local sisters make ‘furrtastic’ accessories for pets - myfox8.com
Local sisters make ‘furrtastic’ accessories for pets  myfox8.com

Sponsor spotlight: Pet safety during a home remodel - My Edmonds News
Sponsor spotlight: Pet safety during a home remodel  My Edmonds News

COVID-19 roundup: Strong immune response from J&J vaccine as antibodies found in pets | Daily Sabah - Daily Sabah
COVID-19 roundup: Strong immune response from J&J vaccine as antibodies found in pets | Daily Sabah  Daily Sabah

How to get a pet in Among Us: Step by step guide - Sportskeeda
How to get a pet in Among Us: Step by step guide  Sportskeeda

NYC woman sues pet shop for not letting her take pricey poodle home - New York Post
NYC woman sues pet shop for not letting her take pricey poodle home  New York Post

Is your pet's food making you sick? Study finds many don't know the risk - Agri News
Is your pet's food making you sick? Study finds many don't know the risk  Agri News

Pet Talk | Features | mtexpress.com - Idaho Mountain Express and Guide
Pet Talk | Features | mtexpress.com  Idaho Mountain Express and Guide

Real Pet Food Company of Phoenix, AZ Voluntarily Recalls One Lot of Billy+Margot Wild Kangaroo and Superfoods Recipe Dog Food in 4 lb Bags Because of a Possible Salmonella Health Risk (USA) - FDA.gov
Real Pet Food Company of Phoenix, AZ Voluntarily Recalls One Lot of Billy+Margot Wild Kangaroo and Superfoods Recipe Dog Food in 4 lb Bags Because of a Possible Salmonella Health Risk (USA)  FDA.gov

Blue green algae poses danger to swimmers and pets - 1430wcmy.com
Blue green algae poses danger to swimmers and pets  1430wcmy.com

Our Pets Teach Us the Darndest Things - Hemophilia News Today
Our Pets Teach Us the Darndest Things  Hemophilia News Today

El Paso Animal Services helps feed needy pets with a food bank - KVIA El Paso
El Paso Animal Services helps feed needy pets with a food bank  KVIA El Paso

Global Pets Population Market Witness Highest Growth In Near Future With Market Overview and Top Key Players - Crypto Daily
Global Pets Population Market Witness Highest Growth In Near Future With Market Overview and Top Key Players  Crypto Daily

Sick 9/11 Hero's Dog Among Pets Up For Adoption on Long Island - Long Island Press
Sick 9/11 Hero's Dog Among Pets Up For Adoption on Long Island  Long Island Press

United Pet Fund in Blue Ash collecting donations Sunday - WKRC TV Cincinnati
United Pet Fund in Blue Ash collecting donations Sunday  WKRC TV Cincinnati

Pets of the week: Darling London has a friendly personality, loves to play fetch - Victoria Advocate
Pets of the week: Darling London has a friendly personality, loves to play fetch  Victoria Advocate

CBS3 Pet Project: Is Commanding Or Cueing Better For Pet Training? - CBS Philly
CBS3 Pet Project: Is Commanding Or Cueing Better For Pet Training?  CBS Philly

NJ: Send us your cutest pet picture — Win $500 in prizes - New Jersey 101.5 FM Radio
NJ: Send us your cutest pet picture — Win $500 in prizes  New Jersey 101.5 FM Radio

Tampa Bay area pets looking for forever homes - Tampa Bay Times
Tampa Bay area pets looking for forever homes  Tampa Bay Times

Pet Toys Market : development, key opportunity, and forecast to 2026 | Kong, chuck it, Jolly pets, Nylabone, Petmate - The Daily Chronicle
Pet Toys Market : development, key opportunity, and forecast to 2026 | Kong, chuck it, Jolly pets, Nylabone, Petmate  The Daily Chronicle

Three rabies cases confirmed in Roanoke City and County; experts remind pet owners to vaccinate their pets - WFXRtv.com
Three rabies cases confirmed in Roanoke City and County; experts remind pet owners to vaccinate their pets  WFXRtv.com

Pets of the week: Barney is the perfect family dog. Zelda is just plain adorable - MLive.com
Pets of the week: Barney is the perfect family dog. Zelda is just plain adorable  MLive.com

Cuddle with a new friend this fall — adopt a pet: Sept. 26-27 - SILive.com
Cuddle with a new friend this fall — adopt a pet: Sept. 26-27  SILive.com

Peter Fischetti: Losing a pet: Her heart failed, and ours broke - The News Herald
Peter Fischetti: Losing a pet: Her heart failed, and ours broke  The News Herald

Here are some of the companies that could benefit from COVID's ‘pet boom’ - MarketWatch
Here are some of the companies that could benefit from COVID's ‘pet boom’  MarketWatch

Jobs, jobs, jobs at Pet Supplies Plus in West Bend - washingtoncountyinsider.com
Jobs, jobs, jobs at Pet Supplies Plus in West Bend  washingtoncountyinsider.com

All About Pets: Emergency preparations for your pets - Prescott Daily Courier
All About Pets: Emergency preparations for your pets  Prescott Daily Courier

Dead, Malnourished Pets Found In Camden County; Charges Pending - Lake Expo
Dead, Malnourished Pets Found In Camden County; Charges Pending  Lake Expo

These household items can be poisonous to your pets - KSAT San Antonio
These household items can be poisonous to your pets  KSAT San Antonio

Pet Health: Smoky air especially harmful to pets - KOIN.com
Pet Health: Smoky air especially harmful to pets  KOIN.com

How Pets May Improve Our Immunity - Psychology Today
How Pets May Improve Our Immunity  Psychology Today

Real Pet Food Company recalls dog food due to possible salmonella contamination - WDIV ClickOnDetroit
Real Pet Food Company recalls dog food due to possible salmonella contamination  WDIV ClickOnDetroit

Grab Rover and drive over to church for a pet blessing - Sun Sentinel
Grab Rover and drive over to church for a pet blessing  Sun Sentinel

Keeping pets at a healthy weight - WDIV ClickOnDetroit
Keeping pets at a healthy weight  WDIV ClickOnDetroit

6 Things to Know About Insuring Your Pets - MSN Money
6 Things to Know About Insuring Your Pets  MSN Money

Hit the Paws Button: Vote for your favorite pet! - Waterbury Republican American
Hit the Paws Button: Vote for your favorite pet!  Waterbury Republican American

Pets on the Plaza: Meet Roxy - 47abc - WMDT
Pets on the Plaza: Meet Roxy - 47abc  WMDT

Pet of the Week: Billie Jean - South Bend Tribune
Pet of the Week: Billie Jean  South Bend Tribune

Friendswood Animal Control pet of the week | Lifestyle | The Daily News - Galveston County Daily News
Friendswood Animal Control pet of the week | Lifestyle | The Daily News  Galveston County Daily News

28 top-rated Amazon products your pets will love - CNN
28 top-rated Amazon products your pets will love  CNN

MRI and PET Reveal Parkinson's Is Two Diseases - Diagnostic Imaging
MRI and PET Reveal Parkinson's Is Two Diseases  Diagnostic Imaging

Nominate Your Pet For Clark-Garwoods Pet Of The Week - Clark, NJ Patch
Nominate Your Pet For Clark-Garwoods Pet Of The Week  Clark, NJ Patch

Get cozy with one of these 20 adoptable pets: Sept. 19-20 - SILive.com
Get cozy with one of these 20 adoptable pets: Sept. 19-20  SILive.com

Salem animal hospital offers free treatment for pets hurt in area wildfires - KPTV.com
Salem animal hospital offers free treatment for pets hurt in area wildfires  KPTV.com

Pet of the Week: Daffy - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Pet of the Week: Daffy  NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

The global pandemic's newest luxury traveler? Your pet - CNBC
The global pandemic's newest luxury traveler? Your pet  CNBC

Pet of the week: A senior Lab looking for a good rope toy, and a petite, quiet tabby - Duluth News Tribune
Pet of the week: A senior Lab looking for a good rope toy, and a petite, quiet tabby  Duluth News Tribune

Best Pet Pampering: The Woof Dog Daycare and Boarding - Journal Times
Best Pet Pampering: The Woof Dog Daycare and Boarding  Journal Times

Pet tortoises are being eaten ALIVE by hungry rats deprived of kitchen scraps during lockdown - Daily Mail
Pet tortoises are being eaten ALIVE by hungry rats deprived of kitchen scraps during lockdown  Daily Mail

Young-Williams Animal Center Pet of the Week: Dr. Yap - WATE 6 On Your Side
Young-Williams Animal Center Pet of the Week: Dr. Yap  WATE 6 On Your Side

Pets of Detroit: The Official Power Rankings - prideofdetroit.com
Pets of Detroit: The Official Power Rankings  prideofdetroit.com

Woman starts community pet food pantry to help owners during the pandemic - Yahoo News
Woman starts community pet food pantry to help owners during the pandemic  Yahoo News

Siouxland Humane Society hosts 18th annual 'Pets on Parade' - KTIV
Siouxland Humane Society hosts 18th annual 'Pets on Parade'  KTIV

Help Pets in Need Find a Forever Family During PetSmart Charities® National Adoption Days - PRNewswire
Help Pets in Need Find a Forever Family During PetSmart Charities® National Adoption Days  PRNewswire

PET OF THE WEEK - Sky Hi News
PET OF THE WEEK  Sky Hi News

Top Tips For Traveling With Pets - Blog - The Island Now
Top Tips For Traveling With Pets - Blog  The Island Now

Pets with Potential: Sky - WCAX
Pets with Potential: Sky  WCAX

Pet of the Week: Oliver - County 17
Pet of the Week: Oliver  County 17

Free pet adoptions this weekend at animal shelters - KLAS - 8 News Now
Free pet adoptions this weekend at animal shelters  KLAS - 8 News Now

Austin Humane Society distributes thousands of pounds of pet food - FOX 7 Austin
Austin Humane Society distributes thousands of pounds of pet food  FOX 7 Austin

Is Your Pet Spoiled? Just A Little Bit! - newstalkkit.com
Is Your Pet Spoiled? Just A Little Bit!  newstalkkit.com

Advice on raising pets makes most owners have a cow, survey finds - Israel Hayom
Advice on raising pets makes most owners have a cow, survey finds  Israel Hayom

Pet of the Week Penelope | Local News - Independent Tribune
Pet of the Week Penelope | Local News  Independent Tribune

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