Ben arrived at Tabby’s Place a little over 18 months ago with his sister Geri.
Both Ben and Geri had been living outside for most of their lives and they were feral to say the least. Geri was fiercely protective of Ben and would guard him with her own body, flying, teeth and claws bared, at anyone who tried to go near herself or Ben.
When Ben and Geri first went into one of our suites, Geri remained very protective and guarded her Ben at all times.
I fell in love with them both right away and decided they were going to be my friends, so I set about the long job of socializing them.
For the first few weeks, it seemed impossible to get near Ben with his bodyguard always nearby. But, eventually, Geri relaxed a little and would not always be right at Ben’s side.
Ben would hiss and cower away from me for months and months, but he was always a sucker for wet food. So eventually we reached an agreement that I could pet him while he was eating wet food. The friendship had begun!
When Ben joined us at Tabby’s Place, we knew he had kidney disease. When, a few months ago, Ben’s heart also started to fail, so started the tricky balance of medications. The medicine to support his heart damaged his kidneys more, and the fluids to support his kidneys damaged his heart more. We knew time would run out for Ben soon, so we made him as comfortable as possible.
My friendship with Ben continued to grow, and he finally started to return my love. Ben still only let a few select people be his friend, and would still growl and hiss at everyone else. I was very honored that he let me into his heart, because he had such a large part of my heart.
I loved this boy so deeply I thought I’d burst every time I looked at his face, which usually had his tongue sticking out of his mouth!
Some people were amazed how loving Ben would be with me, as they only knew him as the feral cat who liked no one. But when I was with Ben he was loving, sweet and always purring. I could kiss him all over, rub his belly and hold him in my arms like a baby. Ben was the only cat I’ve ever known who purred while I was giving him his fluid therapy!
A few weeks ago Ben became severely anemic and needed a blood transfusion. After the transfusion all we could do was wait to see if it would work…wait to see if Ben could start making his own red blood cells again, or if his body would just flush the new red blood cells out of his body. It didn’t work.
So then we started Ben on a medication to try to boost his blood cells, hoping this would work. It didn’t work either. He was becoming more anemic and having problems breathing. I was losing my friend.
By Sunday, my Ben was not himself anymore, and his breathing was labored. I knew it was time to say goodbye. I held Ben for the last time, kissed him all over his head and cried into his fur. He was still purring and nuzzling me but I knew he was tired and ready to leave.
I miss my Ben so much and always will, and I’ll always be so thankful that he let me into his heart.
I continue to try to convince Geri to be my friend. I told her that we have a bond because we both loved Ben and he loved us in return.
Ben, I miss you every day and I love you with all my heart. Thank you so much for being my friend.