My wife and I adopted Buddy a while back. This is his story as written by one of the State Park workers who found him. It's long but a good read. I know we have some cat lovers on the board, so I thought I would share! I'll add some pics later. The Ninth Life of Buddy the Cat I don’t know the whole story about what happened to Buddy, but I can guess at what might have been. After meeting Buddy and watching him behave, it’s pretty clear that at some point in his life, he was somebody’s darling. I can see him strolling through a cozy kitchen, rubbing against the legs of someone who really loved him. I can see him curling up in his own private little kitty bed, snuggling down for the night, completely secure in his surroundings and company. How he lost this, I do not know, but lose it, he did. I met Buddy on a hot day in June, 2008, just outside my office door. My co-worker, Karen came to my office and said “There’s a cat outside”. The look on her face indicated that it was not a cute furry kitten, but a not so desirable cat. She went on to say “I hope you like cats because this one needs somebody”. It’s an unfortunate truth that people tend to use my place of employment, Tyler State Park, as a dumping ground for unwanted pets and animals. We had seen lots of them over the years. Mostly dogs, but sometimes cats, and even once, a pot bellied pig. I am an animal lover, it’s true. And I especially love cats. Always felt a bond with them, and I’ve actually never met a cat who didn’t like me. We just immediately know that we like each other. I went outside to look for this cat, and didn’t see him right away. “He’s under the bushes” Karen said. I bent down and there was Buddy, crouched under the hedge. I was shocked at what I saw. I had never seen an animal in such bad shape and still be alive. Where I live, the first thing most people would have said was “shoot him – put him out of his misery – too far gone to help”. His head looked like it had been chewed up and spit out, no hair was visible, just scabs, bloody places and raw looking skin. This went from his head to past his front shoulders. I spoke softly “kitty, kitty”?? He looked at me and screamed a raspy “MEEOW!!” He moved out from under the bush and came toward me. For an instant, I was afraid he was going to attack me, but of course, I was wrong. He was coming for help, begging for help. His cries were not angry or vicious, they were his way of weeping from the pain and misery he was in. He was actually “crying” like a person would cry if they were in this much distress. Even the physical effort of meowing seemed to cause him pain. I was afraid to touch him, afraid I would hurt him, and afraid he had something catching. It was obvious that he had been “on his own” and out in the wild for a long time. All I could think of was what could I do at this very moment to make him feel better. I went back inside and got my turkey and cheese sandwich and a cup of water. When I offered it to him, he ate ravenously, bread, mustard and all. He didn’t waste a single scrap. Karen got in her car and went up to the store across the road from the park where we work, and bought some milk and canned tuna. The clerk in the store said “Are you buying that for that stray cat? He’s been up here. We tried to run him off”. I guess they ran him to our park. Watching the cat eat, I started calling him “Buddy”. He looked like he needed a friend and more. He looked like someone had poured gasoline on him and set him on fire. Or maybe thrown out of a moving car and run over. He just looked really bad. There was a hump on his back and yellow pus was draining from it. His hair was matted and awful, where he had hair. Like I said, his head and shoulders appeared to have none, just raw, bleeding scabby skin, with several large bloody crusty patches. About that time, one of our rangers, Marvin, drove up and walked over to where we were. He looked at Buddy and the draining places and the head and shoulders, put on his nitrile gloves and went to work, squeezing and draining the abscesses on Buddy’s back. It was not a pretty thing to watch, but I was amazed at Buddy. He must have been in terrible pain and I’m sure the squeezing and mashing did not feel good, but he did not complain, did not try to scratch or bite. He just lay there with his eyes closed, knowing that someone was trying to help him. And I was so grateful to Marvin, who instead of saying “just put him out of his misery” just went to work doing what he could to help. I couldn’t work for worrying about the cat, so I told Marvin to wait while I ran home. I jumped in my van and went off to get first aid supplies that we did not have at the park. I brought back a small pet taxi, a clean towel, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment, and aspirin. Buddy was still nibbling on the milk and tuna (we only gave him small amounts, fearing it would upset his stomach after starving so long). Marvin worked on him some more trying to drain the wounds, then he washed off all he could with the hydrogen peroxide. It foamed and foamed, even after several washings, indicating there was much bacteria there. After a while we figured we had done all we could.