Buttercup is my oldest cat.
He spends a lot of time sleeping. Not that this isn’t normal cat behavior, but he seems to spend more time sleeping than normal even for a cat. Maybe because he’s getting old.
He’s 14 years old and has been with me longer than any other animal I’ve ever had. He’s been through multiple moves. He started out in the suburbs of Texas then moved to North Carolina and subsequently on to West Virginia–from the Slanted Little House to Stringtown Rising to Sassafras Farm. He probably wouldn’t be surprised if I moved him to a space station on Neptune next.
He didn’t make it this far in his cat life without being suspicious. He’s a mean cuss–to most people and all other animals, especially dogs. He was a kitten when I found him hanging from a tree limb in my yard in Texas. At the time, I was cat-less as my first two cats had passed away. My then-husband was happy that we had no cats, but what could I do, this one came to me in a tree? I promptly acquired two more kittens and told him that I had also found them in the tree, though I’m not sure he bought that story after the first time.

We had a dog named Blossom then. Morgan named one of the other new kittens Bubbles, and Buttercup got his name. If you don’t know, Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup are the names of the Powerpuff Girls from the popular cartoon. Blossom (the dog) and Bubbles (the cat) were girls, but Buttercup (the cat) was a boy, and being named after a Powerpuff Girl might at least partially explain his foul temper. And he is the most foul-tempered cat I’ve ever had. He routinely hisses at dogs if they come near his air space. He won’t speak to other cats. He rejects (with claws and crazy hissing) the touch of any human other than me. It’s not uncommon at the vet’s office for them to call in extra assistants and put a cone on his head just to give him a checkup and shots. He does, however, love me! He has been my constant companion for all these years and loves most of all to sit on my slippers.

One time in North Carolina, I came home on a winter day to find the two dogs we had at the time had chased him into an icy creek. It was winter and he was hanging from a fallen tree limb over the creek, partially submerged, holding on for dear life to that branch. I barely managed to disengage his desperate claws, wrapped him in a towel, and took him to the vet. He was suffering from hypothermia and had to stay in the animal hospital for a few days. It cost a crazy amount of money to save his life. He’s survived dogs, young children (Morgan was THREE when we got him and loved to “play” with him), donkeys, goats, sheep, cows, chickens, and all the rest. As long as he can find my slippers, he’s okay.

He’s been through it all, and when I see him sleeping so much, I worry that he’s getting older and realize he won’t be with me forever.

Buttercup: “Woman, shut up. Just take me inside and–”
“….hand over the slippers.”

I love that mean old cat.


  1. Pat says:

    Your animal stories are THE BEST! Buttercup is an impressive old fellow.
    Pat in Eastern NC

  2. Granma2girls says:

    I guess looks are deceiving…he looks so soft and cuddly. We have a 14 yr.old mean cat as well. She sleeps a lot too and doesn’t like to be handled too much. She hisses at you if you look at her the wrong way. Hides out when the kiddies come around. Totally throws up if she has had any interaction with our son inlaw . We’ve decided she’s an introvert.

  3. lamsmom says:

    i feel this to my very core…

  4. lattelady says:

    I have had indoor cats which have lived to 21-23 respectively. I let them live their lives out as long as they are not in pain. They, over the years have given me so much that I try my best to repay.
    Blossom is part of your family, and walking history. Keep on loving him, he has well earned his extra long snoozes in the sun. Keep the slippers handy.

  5. AnnieB says:

    Buttercup looks so sweet – don’t they all though? We have a 16 year old kitty that found us in my father-in-law’s barn. We cleaned him up and took him home and he’s been with us all this time. He reminds me of Buttercup, because he can be pretty mean, too. When he goes to the vet they have to sedate him, or he’s all teeth and claws. Needless to say we can’t take him often – he’s to old to get regular anesthesia.

    He sleeps nearly all the time now too. We call him our “earthbound kitty” because he can’t jump up onto anything any more, not even a window sill. But he eats like a horse and gives us the gentlest little head butts.

    We will miss him hugely when he is gone. Hopefully not for years yet!

  6. Sue, a Florida Farm Girl says:

    That mean old cat has been a rock for you all these years, never mind his crankiness. And I’m so glad you love him so much. Give him a hug for me, okay?

  7. CarrieJ says:

    I had a cat like that. She was mean as sin, pitch black and her name was Sunshine. She loved me and only me. She would bite, growl at and tear apart anything and everyone else. She lived to be 20….

  8. bembee says:

    I can emphathize with you. We have a 13 year old cat that looks almost identical to Buttercup, even the exposed tooth that makes him look like he is snarling. Colonel, AKA ‘Big Guy’, hides from company until they have been there about 24 hours. He has hypothyroidism and I have to give him medicine twice a day for that. My husband says that I have him spoiled because I feed him his medicine from a spoon. He is also very allergic to fleas. He is our oldest surviving fur child and it will break our hearts when he dies. Hopefully we both will have several more years with our beloved geriatric cats.

  9. Claudia W says:

    I don’t know what it is about orange cats, but I just love them. I have an older guy “Purrcy” who my daughter found in a grain shed at the ranch she managed. He was about three days old. I bottled fed him until he was able to eat regular food. He’s the most loving cat and purrs constantly. Hence his name.
    I bet you still have a few good years with Buttercup. He looks so healthy.

  10. Faith says:

    Came to you in a tree huh? Good one, I love it! Maybe I could try that with the doggy I want…mmm? Magic, the white cat I had could never decide, did she like to be loved on or no? purrrrrpurrrr sweet head butt then NIP, scratch…

  11. WildTrails says:

    Lucky old guy. I feel for him and am glad you have each other. Glad also that we have our 12 year old Callie cat. Like a lot of animals, their times of “meanness” are often really times of fear. They take on and hold on to that fear far easier and longer lasting then we can imagine – many ages ago cats’ (and other animals’) lives depended on it as their wild cousins still do. We are blessed to have them, they make us and our lives better. Thanks for the introduction to and beautiful photos of Buttercup.

  12. holstein woman says:

    My M.I.L. inherited an old cat that lived for 24 years (so we were told). Tom traveled from Old Mexico to Desert Hot Springs, Calif. every fall and when in Mexico ate shrimp and when in Calif. got what there was. He just walked off one day and mother never saw him again. I love cats, and Blossom looks in great shape.

  13. JustJane says:

    I got Oscar from a shelter in FL he was going to be put down. When I told the girl I wanted him she said no he has been brought back 3 times he’s a mean cat we are putting him down. I said he’s a Maine Coon of course he’s mean, no your not putting him down I’m taking him. His name is Oscar but my neighbors thought it was ‘You little Son of B….’ for the first year. He even attacked my Mother in the shower! He is now about 11 yrs old and I would be lost without him. Company never sees him, he will come out for Mom (they made up after the shower attack) and once in a while in will get into a playful spell but it some turns into bites and scratches…You just cannot change a Maine Coon

  14. knititblack says:

    Awww, Buttercup. He looks so sweet, but I know what you mean about mean ol’ cats! I have one too, but she’s not old – she’s only 3! She loves me and my husband but pretty much nobody else.

  15. FarmGrammy says:

    Don’t give up!My oldest cat passed away at the age of 21. She was fairly bouncy up until that last year. Yes, she was a mean Siamese, but she loved me dearly.
    My current oldest boy is a big fluffy orange tom who is close to 20. He hangs out in the persimmon tree with both hind legs hanging down like a panther. But he has a harem of four girls who just adore him. When he comes in the house, he knocks everything off the coffee table and then gets his face washed while he purrs like crazy. Three are total housecats, and one runs in and out whenever I can’t stop her. Oh, there is sleek black kitty with green eyes who eats on the porch and is friendly with all. Vet says he is about 3.

    You might check your kitty for kidney disease. I lost a young cat to that many years ago and the constant sleeping was one of the symptoms. They do cat kidney transplants, but, $5000 is out of reach for most people. I guess all that adds up to too many cats again!! :snoopy:

  16. TracyT says:

    I love just about everything with fur or feathers, but what is it about the old ones? They just slay me. Have had so many old pets over the years and I’ve spoiled every one and plan to continue. Orthopedic foam lined dog beds in every room for a 16 year old German Shorthair Pointer, home made dog food for a too thin Jack Russell Terrier, an electric blanket for another arthritic dog on cold winter nights, hand fed baby food six times a day for 10 years for an old rescue cat with severe irritable bowel disease, even doses of whiskey for a Gouldian finch with respiratory problems…nothing’s too much. Especially…for the old ones. Somewhere, inside, I know it will be me someday.

    Buttercup looks pretty happy dozing safe and sound on the porch. Good for both of you.

  17. Michele-lee says:

    You have to love how unique each animal is! Just wanted to add to those that said cats can live to be in the 20 year range. My last one lived to be 19 and she was indoor/outdoor.

  18. Peculiar Cat Mama says:

    That is so special. I, too, have “mean old cats” that love only me, and I consider it an honor that I get their love. I live on a farm, too, and have around 50 cats since my original Gypsy was introduced to the barn-cat neighborhood. Some are my personal pets inside, some are my favorites outside, but I love all my critters – I know all of their names and personalities and always know who is missing when I call them for food twice daily. I even have a cat cemetery. And I have a documented cat geneaology. Yes, I’m that weird. But I understand your feeling for this creature that has been bonded to you for so long. It’s a special feeling and I’m so happy I’m not the only one who gets to have that. ;>) I also have many polydactyls, called “6-toed” or “Hemingway” cats – they have thumbs – their paws look like mittens. Two of special note are my lion-boys – they are huge orange tabbys (tabbies?) and actually run like lions instead of cats. I’d like to believe that Mama’s boys (Tally and Cassie) would protect Mama if I needed them.

  19. EMarie says:

    Of course you love him. We have a couple of old cats; both black and totally unrelated. Silky, the male is so laid back, usually accepting of any animal you present to him as one more resident. Sassy, female, lived with me for many years, and before that my daughter and granddaughter, doesn’t like other cats–at all, hates our rambunctious kitten and only tolerates some dogs. Still we love them and will hate when their time comes to cross over. I so enjoy the way you describe for us, your life and times. Please keep it up.

  20. Lois says:

    My daughter and I adopted 2 cats last month. One is a beautiful tabby with longish hair that is less than a year old. I got a short haired solid black cat, about 4. My Smoky was asleep on the couch with his head upside down (like Buttercup’s in the bottom picture) and his tongue hanging out the other day. Grand-daughter told Mom he looked dead. Mom told me “your cat’s dead, why didn’t you take him outside?” I had to shake him twice before he opened his eyes. LOL!

  21. regularjo64 says:

    I have a beautiful gal named Stella who has been with me for 11 years, through two relationships, and several moves. She is the Queen and all others are merely peasants. She is very affectionate to her human subjects and expects nothing less than adoration from all who enter her kingdom, even if they don’t particularly care for a 13 lb cat in their lap. It’s other cats that she simply detests. Since I’m a crazy cat lady and a sucker for a stray (Stella calls them “Mothers charity cases”) she has grudgingly learned to tolerate them as long as they stay a minimum of 3 feet from her at all times. And woe to the “stupid dog” who tries to invade her space! She’s spectacular and I love her to bits.

  22. Urbanite says:

    Buttercup is a truly gorgeous cat and looks very healthy. I agree with others that you might have him for a long time yet. Five years ago I adopted a 14 year old cat because her original owner was tired of her and thought she’d reached the end of her life anyway. She recently died at age 19. At 14 she hadn’t been anywhere near the end of her life – she had 5 more good years! I hope Buttercup has many more healthy years with you.

  23. LadyMau says:

    He’s looking pretty good there actually. I lost my last kitty just this past Christmas to a brain tumor and seizures. she was a black Siamese and hated other animals. She wasn’t mean to me but she knew what she wanted. Her last few months it was filet mignon…I have a hard time eating it now without her. She had kidney issues for years, heartworm, allergies, mild IBD and anemia but still made it to 19 1/2. Buttercup will be around for a while I think. And that’s a good thing!

  24. grannylin says:

    Nice story thanks. :purpleflower:

  25. emmachisett says:

    TracyT, I hear you. Has anyone thought to investigate the components of dog and cat food these days? Modern wheat isn’t healthy for any of us…probably not for our pets either! Nearly every pet food I have read labels for contains a significant amount of wheat flour.

  26. saitisntso says:

    Lovely lil’ buttercup. Enjoying everyone’s stories, and I get very emotional these days. I didn’t get through the Clover story with dry eyes and my nose was stuffed up. My heart broke for you because I know that helpless feeling. 😥
    Tooth decay is a big factor in older cats. Sylvester and Miss Tubbles are only a year and some months old. I splurged and bought a cat tree because Sylvester kept getting on the house roof via the tree outside. They don’t mind being indoors thus far, and Sylvester loves the inside tree and the ironing board. Glad someone’s getting use out of it. 🙂 Love that Baby Buttercup. :moo:

  27. PaulaA says:

    So cool to know I’m not the only crazy cat lady here! I have noticed that 14 or 15 is when they seem to go into “energy saver mode”., even if they live much longer. We’ve had 3 that were pushing 20 when they died.
    We accidentally got some kittens last year and the year before, and Husband loves to recite how old he’ll be when they’re 20. 78!

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