June 28, 2005 – July 8, 2015.
(Written in April 2012.)
Sugarbutt will turn 7 at the end of June.
Sugarbutt came to us in the same litter as Tommy, in September of 2005, in a litter of four kittens. His name was “Sad Eyes” at the time (I didn’t name this litter). The whole litter had giardia and coccidia, but in addition to that, poor Sugarbutt had what we thought was a slightly prolapsed rectum. He also had a horrific case of diarrhea, so bad that it “burned” the fur off the backs of his legs. Despite being so sick, he was sweet and playful and active. I had to bathe him at least twice a day and he hated it, but as soon as I let him loose in the foster room again, off he’d go to play.
At one point, his back end was so swollen and painful looking that I asked the shelter manager if there was anything I could do to make it less swollen. She said that she’d heard you could take a warm, damp cloth, dip it in sugar, hold it against the swollen part, and it would help the swelling go down. I tried that several times, and it seemed to help a little bit.
And that’s how he got the name “Sugarbutt.”
I eventually took him to the vet to see what, if anything, they could do about the diarrhea. The vet examined him and realized he had impacted anal glands, and they took him off into the other room to express them. Which made that poor kitten about as unhappy as a kitten can get, I could hear the poor baby screaming from two rooms away.
I took him home that night, and the next morning when I walked into the foster room, there were HUNDREDS of little droplets of poo all over that foster room. All the kittens had poo on them, Sugarbutt was coated in poo. It was like a poo bomb had gone off, and I stood there and stared for a long minute before I stepped back out of the room and shut the door.
I might have had a tiny bit of a conniption, but when I calmed down, I called the vet’s office. They decided that probably his poor little system had been backed up due to the impacted anal glands, and now that they’d been expressed, all that had been backed up was now vacating the premises. They thought it would resolve itself in a day or so, that I should try to keep him confined, and if it was still going on after a day – or he was acting like he didn’t feel well – to bring him back in.
So I gave every kitten in that litter a bath, put Sugarbutt in a carrier (and later moved him to a cage), and spent hours scrubbing the carpet in that room. Eventually he stopped dribbling poop everywhere. He’s never had an issue with diarrhea since then, but I will tell you what – if you walk into the laundry room after he’s used the litter box, the smell is like a living thing that attaches to your face and takes you DOWN. He’s a healthy boy, but it doesn’t matter what you feed him. Apparently his intestines are routed through the pits of Hell; fire and brimstone have nothing on the bowels of Sugarbutt.
When the rest of the litter (except Tommy, who was faking a leg injury) went off to Petsmart, Sugarbutt went with them. He was actually adopted pretty quickly, and then a few days later the guy who adopted him brought him back saying that he’d found blood on Sugarbutt’s back end. The shelter manager called me, and I went to pick him up at the vet (the vet said he had another round of Coccidia going on, o joy).
There was really no question that Sugarbutt was going anywhere; he and Tommy had a good time playing with each other, and I loved Sugarbutt so very very much that it was a given that he was staying with us.
I always say that if he were a human, Sugarbutt would be a pot-smoking surfer dude. (Not to pigeonhole surfers but, y’know, come on.) He is such a happy, happy boy. Sometimes he sits in the cat bed next to my computer and gives me the Love Eyes and reaches out with one paw to grab my hand and pull it to him so I’ll pet him. (Sometimes he does this using his claw, which is why he’s the one cat in the house with regularly trimmed claws.)
Sugarbutt has no use for any other cats except Tommy – every now and then I’ll see Sugarbutt snuggled up to Tommy, but most of the time he’s a loner. He likes to hang out on top of the fridge with his paws dangling over so that I have to pick them up and move them when I need to get into the freezer.
For the first year and a half of his life with us, Sugarbutt would come up on the bed with me in the middle of the night and knead on my arm while licking my neck. It wasn’t my favorite thing (cats have REALLY rough tongues, you know), but I didn’t mind it. Eventually he stopped on his own. It’s been years, but I still kind of miss being woken up like that. Weird, right?