Last Word: Good Boy

Recently I received a notification that my cell phone storage was full and if I hoped to avoid some kind of nuclear catastrophe where I couldn’t play Solitaire or check the forecast on The Weather Channel app, I needed to delete some pictures.

Dutifully obliging, I began sorting through 3,000 saved images, only to discover that aside from the photos I’d taken of my husband, kids, friends, vacations and wine menus, there were 2,992 pictures of my cat.

Like the Picasso of feline photography, I’d chronicled every one of his nine lives through the tiny lens of my iPhone 6.

Buddy reclining. Buddy sitting up. Buddy swatting his rollerball. Buddy looking out the window. Buddy in repose. Buddy sleeping, stretching, yawning, cleaning, eating, walking, playing, infinitude.

And that’s just this past year.

Safely stored on my computer’s back-up drive are thousands more, amassed over a decade for display in some future museum exhibit entitled, “Portrait of an Orange Cat: A Retrospective.”

In the unlikely event that I missed even a single Buddy moment, I rest easy knowing my daughters and husband have it logged somewhere on their phones, since they’re abnormally preoccupied with the cat, too.

It’s not uncommon for entire conversations to revolve around him, how cute he is, how much we love him, why petting his stomach makes him mad, as well as wondering where he is and what he might be up to.

Rhetorical questions considering other than being hunched over his food dish and using the litter box, the only things he’s capable of doing are sleeping and shedding all over my clothes, and on any given day, he’s somewhere doing both.

We also suffer from an excessive cat accessory problem.

Buddy has a dedicated “enrichment” drawer in our living room stuffed with crinkly balls, catnip squirrels, fake mice (though based on experience it appears he prefers the real ones) and a laser pointer reserved for special occasions.

He’s also the proud owner of an outdoor tent and a collection of feline fashion wear.

It’s funny, but he doesn’t seem to enjoy wearing the turtlenecks or Halloween costumes we’ve picked out for him.

Instead he stands immobilized and unblinking before rigidly falling over, as if wearing a jester’s hat or cat sweater is somehow unnatural.

In addition to his given name, we’ve bestowed a variety of nicknames on him in case he’s grown complacent over the years.

Along with “Buddy,” he answers to “The Bud Man,” “The Budster,” “Fluffy,” “Orangie,” “Cutie Cat,” “Fluffernutter” and “Fred Fredburger” (don’t ask).

But mostly we just call him, “Good Boy.”

A lot.

And for some inexplicable reason, we can’t resist asking him if he thinks he’s a good boy, too.

As if he’d know the difference.

But that doesn’t stop us.

“Where’s my good boy?”

“Who’s a good boy?

“Is Buddy a good boy?”

I’m not even sure why, since much of the time he isn’t.

Even with a prolific number of scratching posts at his disposal, Buddy prefers the Pottery Barn one. Or what we refer to as “the couch.”

And for no reason can anyone leave anything perishable on the kitchen counter.

Because while he recognizes that it’s strictly verboten when we’re around, he takes liberties when we aren’t.

Loaves of bread have mysteriously gone missing when left out to thaw, and despite being a large cat, it seems he’s able fit his entire head into a drinking glass without much trouble.

He’s also developed a taste for gum.

It took several months of chewing moist, sticky pieces of Trident, with no logical explanation of why they were soggy, until eventually walking in on Buddy, busily licking the pack that I like to leave on my desk.

It’s hardly surprising since licking seems to be his specialty.

Most days I’m happy that he’s got the whole hygiene thing covered without any additional effort on my part.

The rest of the time it’s exhausting to watch him wash himself in a contorted pose that a friend once dubbed the “Pretty, Pretty Ballerina.”

While I can’t vouch for the “pretty” part, I’m convinced that if he practices it for much longer, he’ll be invited to go on tour with “The Nutcracker.”

We wouldn’t let him go, of course, we’d miss him too much.

After all, he’s a good boy.

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