I said I didn't want to have my picture taken

Buster is a huge (over 1 stone in weight) very timid cat. By now, Lady is in her 4th home, Lester his 3rd and Runcie (having moved in with me) her 2nd. It is June 1994 and a stranger is seen in the garden.

This monster of a cat is identical in colouring to Lester but half his size again. However, although he seemed desperate to be friendly something stopped him from being touched. I built him a waterproof box which I put in a sheltered spot and where I found him asleep most mornings. By about September he was allowing me to stroke him but would not come into the house whilst I was about. He had breakfast and supper every day and was quite nonplussed about the other cats. As he was a regular visitor I had to assume he had no actual home so, on November 2nd I arranged for him to be neutered. By this time he was sleeping in the kitchen providing I left the catflap unlocked for him to make a quick getaway if he felt the need. After a battle of strength and wits I finally managed to get him to the Vet (I was not unscarred).I am camera shy you know! We haven't looked back, he is still wary of men and flinches if a hand is moved towards him too quickly but, he has settled with the other cats and is obviously here to stay.

Since the arrival of Thomas I think Buster has felt a little pushed out. As a friend said to me, "he has waited 6 years for Lester to roll over so that he could be top male cat and now he finds he has to share that role once again". I can see his point and Buster and Thomas have not got along very well to date. I hope this changes, but, I won't allow Buster to be affected by the new arrival.

Buster has what you might call an unfortunate habit! When he is very happy he tends to dribble, quite extensively! He has been checked at the Vet for any mouth or teeth problem but the upshot of it is, he is just a dribbley cat. He also has a tendency to take a nip out of you to show his affection, being a large male he has teeth that are in proportion to his body, it can hurt but he is always sorry afterwards.

We are now fast approaching Christmas 2000 and Thomas was castrated 5 weeks ago and already I am beginning to see positive signs that he and Buster are going to get along. There is less swearing and spitting and they have touched noses (albeit with elongated necks) on more than one occasion.

Buster moved to his 3rd (at least) home, 2nd with me and is now in Norfolk. He and Thomas tolerate each other.

We lost Thomas in 2007. all very sudden. The first night Buster found himself on his own in the kitchen (Georgie having gone out) was his last, he howled and howled until I let him upstairs, he stayed in my room every night for 2 weeks and then slept in the spare room, he quite obviously missed the company.

The start of 2008 sees Buster unwell, Bronchial Asthma controlled with 2 tablets a day, wrapped in Pate or something similar, he is doing well for an old gentleman.

June 2008 and his kidneys are failing, he is still determined to have fun and whilst he has a quality he will continue to have 2 weekly injections to boost the function of his failing organs.

It is 14 July 2008 and Buster has lost his fight, aged around 20 years. He died in my arms. This picture was taken on 16 June 2008 in the garden, he loved the sun.

R.I.P Buster.

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