My cat Buster A. Lunch was born on July 4, 2005. This date is fitting since he’d later make a journey to America. He spent his first eight years with my friend Lydia Lunch. She’s a passionate, confrontational and bold artist whose career spans five decades. Lydia has led many projects, including Teenage Jesus & The Jerks, 8-Eyed Spy, 13.13, Shotgun Wedding, Big Sexy Noise, Medusa’s Bed, Retrovirus and Brutal Measures. You can learn more about her here.
Like me, Lydia Lunch used to be based in Barcelona before she moved to the United States. Upon her relocation, she asked me if I could keep Buster temporarily. At first, I was very reluctant to accept. As described in this article, the little guy was not too friendly. Whenever I visited, he’d either ignore me (or hiss) if I approached him. He’d even tried to claw my legs when I passed by.
Previously, I had another cat when I was in college. I was sharing my apartment with another student in 2007-08. The cat’s name was Isis. My roommate found her on the street. She was barely 3 weeks old. Although I had been the one taking care and paying for the cat’s expenses, my roommate took Isis with her when I asked her to leave after our cohabitation went south.
While I liked the idea of adopting a new cat, I wasn’t 100% sure about it. Buster was known to be a bully. I guess that’s why I eventually took him in after turning him down repeatedly in 2013. I felt that no one would have ever adopted such a demon. His social awkwardness aside, Buster actually seemed to be a very clean and well-behaved cat. Not only was the decision the right one, but I’d also ended up turning him into a more loving being.
Buster spent his first two days at home under the bed. It took him five more days to have a positive interaction with me. He showed me his tummy and allowed me to pet him. When cats show you their bellies, it means that they trust you because that’s a vulnerable place. However, that’s not an invitation to petting them there, even though Buster loved it every time I did.
My now husband, Edgar, came to live with us in the fall of 2013. They too developed a bond after a short time. We all seemed to be a great influence on each other as we continued to bond, love and evolve. Buster was such a part of our lives that we took him to the hotel with us when we celebrated our first wedding anniversary.
In 2016, we relocated to Chicago, which is where Edgar was raised. Although we didn’t travel in the same plane, Buster stayed at a pet hotel in Amsterdam and arrived a day after us. I’ll never forget how he started meowing the moment he heard me calling his name after entering the cargo facility at the airport. Buster had never looked happier, especially when we arrived home and saw his belongings were already there.
Some months later, Buster began developing a cold. His nose was watery, and he made a lot of guttural noises. We took him to the vet and were given some medication that eventually healed him. The following months, the symptoms would come and go. It looked like the medicines were only acting as a patch. Still, he was doing good for the most part.
But in early 2018, Buster’s behavior started to change. He became more lethargic, started missing the litter box and began hiding from us. He had also lost a lot of weight. He could barely breathe through the nose, which we would have to clean several times a day. His mucus became yellow at first, then bloody.
A lung CT scan revealed no abnormalities. That meant that the issue was to be located in the upper respiratory tract. An MRI was recommended at a cost between $2,000 and $3,000. This cycle could have led to more expenses and no guarantee of success. Buster’s condition continued to rapidly decline. Yet, he was still beautiful through it all and showed affection. If all these symptoms were showing outward, we could only imagine how much more pain lied beneath the surface. Cats have a survival instinct to hide any sign of weakness that could make them vulnerable.
We made the painful decision of putting Buster to sleep peacefully. On March 12, 2018, Buster passed away. It was beautiful in many ways as we got to share final words of love and affection for the cat we adored so much. We knew each other so well. In the previous vet visit, we were able to provide all the detail of his lifestyle, habits, and routine. In our last moments together, we told him how unique and beautiful he was. We thanked him for existing. He meant so much to us. He is fondly remembered with several nicknames we gave him, such as Cutie Beauty, Gati, Queen of Siam, Teenage Jesus, Lunchito, Baby Boy, Papito, and Lunchissimo.
Edgar Amaya contributed to this article.