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Buddy’s Tale: One Fortunate Feline

How a 7-year-old tomcat with bladder stones and bad teeth was saved by angels

My name is Buddy. I’m a handsome tabby cat with a fluffy tail, irresistible big eyes, and a couple of nasty health problems. I was rescued as a feral kitten about seven or eight people-years ago by Island Cat Resources and Adoption (ICRA). I moved in with a nice foster lady who had a bunch of other cats.

Alameda Post - Buddy the cat and the logo for Island Cat Resources & Adoption Center
It’s a good thing I’m so photogenic! ICRA took this photo of me and put it on their website. It’s no wonder the writer lady fell in love. Photo ICRA.

I was a shy little guy, and more than a tad afraid of people-strangers. So when the nice foster lady took me to Petco to meet—and maybe get adopted by—a forever family, I freaked out. I cowered in the corner of the big metal cage and hissed at people, especially kids who tried to touch me. I was relieved when none of them wanted to take me home with them.

Then one day, when I was a little over a year old, a writer lady saw my kitty picture on the ICRA website and asked to meet me. The nice foster lady took me over to her house, and we got along fine. I even sat next to her in her big easy chair, where she wrote her stories. The writer lady said she wanted to adopt me, and we were all set for the big drop-off a few days later.



Alameda Post - Buddy the cat on a carpet or rug rolled over on his back
I suppose I could get used to this. Photo Liz Barrett.

Unfortunately, when that day came, some of the other cats had to go to the vet and I got stuck in a nasty cat carrier almost all day long. I really, really hate cages. By the time we got to the writer lady’s house, I was scared and hungry and my bladder felt like it was about to burst. I was cowering in the corner of the carrier and the foster lady was trying to pull me out. It was awful. Finally, I jumped out, ran to the writer lady’s bedroom, and hid under her bed.

Needless to say, it wasn’t a good start.

I hid a lot for the next few weeks and wouldn’t let the writer lady pick me up or pet me. She put little dishes of food and water for me all over the house—in my favorite hiding places, under the big chairs in the living room, under her bed, in the hallway next to her bathroom, and even on the windowsill.

She always talked to me in a soft voice. When she was in the bathroom, she would leave the door open and I would roll over on my back in the hallway so she would see I wanted her to rub my tummy, but I couldn’t let her near me. I was still afraid.

Alameda Post - Buddy the cat next to Liz Barrett on a chair, and a photo of a hand holding a paw
Once I realized I was safe, the cuddles began. Photos Liz Barrett.

One day she brought home a special treat for me—catnip treats. She put a really little one in one of my dishes, not far from her big easy chair, and I ate it. It was so good. It must’ve made me feel good, because before I knew it, I walked over to her chair, jumped up, and lay down next to her, nuzzling her leg and looking at her with my big please-pet-me eyes. That was it. From that moment on, we were inseparable cuddle buddies, and she always took great care of me. I slept at the end of her bed every night—after my fly-through-the house zoomies—and cuddled with her every chance I got. Everything was perfect.

Read FAAS Promotes Healthy Pets, Healthy People.

Then one long night in August 2020, I suddenly felt very sick. I couldn’t empty my bladder or eat or drink and I howled in pain. The writer lady took me to OakVet Animal Specialty Hospital and learned that I had a urinary blockage and bladder stones. I needed surgery right away or I was going to die. I was in the hospital for almost a week, and the writer lady couldn’t even come in to see me because of COVID restrictions. The doctors were wonderful and called the writer lady several times a day to let her know how I was doing. But there was one scary problem: The cost of all my care was almost $7,000. It was more than the writer lady had. Her wonderful friends stepped up and each donated whatever they could, raising enough money to cover it within a few days. They were our guardian angels.

Alameda Post - Buddy the cat on a couch and then with a cone
Before and after my surgery. Thank you to my angels! Photos Liz Barrett.

I came home, gained back the weight I had lost in the hospital, and have been well ever since. Plus I made a ton of Facebook friends who love seeing my pictures and reading about me. The writer lady is super grateful—she’s goofy like that—and I am one lucky housecat.

That would’ve been my happily ever after, but then at one of my annual checkups, the vet said my teeth were a horrible mess. She said I definitely needed a cleaning and probably needed a number of teeth to be extracted in order to avoid infection, which can be very dangerous. That meant dental surgery—and several thousand dollars more in charges.

Alameda Post - a portrait of a cat in the style of a painting, and a photo of a cat
There have been lots of obstacles, but I’ve got some pretty good humans around. Photos Liz Barrett.

The writer lady immediately went into full internet research mode and sent letters and applications to every imaginable place that might help with the cost…but no one responded. Then she contacted the East Bay SPCA and met another angel, Melissa Robinson, the agency’s Humane Advocacy Manager. Melissa referred us to an exceptional and affordable vet—Hayward Veterinary Hospital—and walked us through the necessary paperwork to get started. Then she introduced us to yet another amazing angel, Rita Ortiz, Community Services Manager at Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS).

Rita was able to help us right away. She invited us to apply for assistance through their Skyla Fund, which provides financial help for vet bills to low-income Alameda residents. It’s part of the FAAS Healthy Pets Healthy People program. The writer lady filled out an application and sent a photo of me along with it.

Within less than a half-hour, Rita emailed back and said, “Thank you for reaching out to FAAS for help funding Buddy’s dental. I am pleased to let you know that we are able to pay for Buddy’s surgery at Hayward Vet.”

Alameda Post - buddy lays on top of a book shelf next to a cat statue
It sure is good to be home. Thank you, writer lady. Photo Liz Barrett.

The writer lady got all dramatic and cried real tears because she was so grateful and relieved and happy. I don’t know anything about finances—I’m a cat, not a banker—but I do know that Dr. Harper took great care of me. After a long day at Hayward Vet, I felt so much better. Now I have clean white teeth in my mouth and a little glass tube that holds the nasty old brown teeth Dr. Harper had to remove.

So all is well. I am again one happy, healthy housecat—and we have our angels to thank for it.

Liz Barrett is the Copy Editor of the Alameda Post and writes about our community. Contact her via [email protected]. Her writing is collected at AlamedaPost.com/Liz-Barrett.

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