Among her many nicknames, "Tuna Head" was one of the most appropriate. Other nicknames used frequently when addressing her:
"Tuna Head" was acted out in a much more dramatic way than any of these other names. She became a bit of a miniature grizzly bear whenever there was human food being prepared, but she would literally scream if she smelled tuna.
She was diagnosed with kidney disease* in 2008, the same disease that claimed her brother in 2001, and was given six months to live. She ended up living for over three years, becoming healthy and strong again by eating the right food and supplements.
Eventually her kidneys failed, and she spent three days in the ICU, then three days at home with us until we decided it was time to let her go. Even though she's no longer with me, I had her for fourteen years and she was loved extravagantly for every minute of those fourteen years.
I started making Elise's recipe for Pasta with Tuna and Capers in White Wine Sauce about a year ago and it has become a new comfort food for me. Each time I open a can of tuna I expect Buttercup to appear behind me, standing on her back legs, yowling, and waiting for her own little bowl. So this bowl is for her.
*Please carefully consider giving your cats booster vaccinations each year. The vet who attended to Buttercup in the ICU explained to me that a cat owner should never need to give vaccines after the initial ones. Because the vaccines are grown on kidney tissue, cats can develop antibodies against their own kidneys, which explains why kidney disease is so prominent with cats. The vaccines last a lifetime, but the pharmaceutical companies only test them for a year so that's all they will recommend them for. The vet said that she herself would only give her new kittens their first vaccines and never give them again.