If you’ve picked up a copy and flipped through it, you’ll notice that I dedicated Drowned History to Rufus, and I’m sure some people are wondering who the heck he is.
Rufus Bartlett was my 15 year old cat who passed away in December. He was named that because after I fed him he resembled a Bartlett pear, something that my textbooks informed me was ideal. He was two days old when I snatched him out of the jaws of Animal Control, who would have put him to sleep because they don’t have the resources to bottle raise kittens and puppies. He was found in an abandoned rabbit nest with a baby bunny, his umbilical cord still attached. The bunny went to a wildlife rescue and Rufus came home with me.
He was my first bottle baby, so there were some rough times and a bumpy start, but we bonded instantly and when his eyes opened, I was right there. I was the first thing he saw and he did his best to never let me out of his sight. Right up until the end, he was beside me being crabby and cranky. He didn’t like other cats, dogs, or most people. Occasionally he would just run over and bite someone (including me) for no apparent reason. He was impossible to treat at the vet without a struggle. Rufus was a cranky old man, but he was my cranky old man.
I was sure he would live forever because he was so ornery, but after seeing him breathing harder I took him to the vet and we discovered he had very advanced lung cancer. Just like Walter White, no one ever smoked around him but he still ended up with lungs that no longer functioned. The irony would be funny if it wasn’t my Rufus.
We took him in on December 15th and he growled right up until the end. I promised him I would never leave him behind, so walking away from the hospital with an empty carrier broke my heart. Even worse, Lemondrop spent ten minutes trying to find him in the empty carrier when I got home. She loved him dearly and for some reason he tolerated her, something he’d never done with any other cat. She was very interested in his ashes and the pawprint my clinic made.
Rufus lives on my shelf now with my other beloved cats that have passed. Sometimes I still think I can hear him, yelling for more food or demanding that I pet him. His pawprints are all over Drowned History, so it only seemed fitting to dedicate it to him. He’s gone now, but he will never be forgotten.