Friday, October 26, 2012

Ollie's gift

Some things are really important and some things are not and sometimes a little gray cat can remind you what  in life matters and what needs to flow on by.

Ollie the forest cat
Oliver was just such a little gray cat and we loved him every day he graced us with his quirky presence all the way through today when he just couldn't do it any more.

Ollie (named after Oliver Twist) was found by a friend of ours in a storm drain, badly beat up and very hungry. They took him to the vet, got him cleaned up, but he just didn't fit into their existing cat family so they began looking for a new home for him.

We lucked out, or rather Ollie decided he could tolerate us (well, Steve more than me) and last Thanksgiving he came home with us. He didn't appreciate the long car ride, but after a few weeks he decided that living in the redwood forest suited him just fine. 

"My stump, my dragon."
He dealt with our cats mostly by batting out with a long arm first and asking questions later. They learned not to mess with him fairly quickly, though Elmer did occasionally test the boundaries. We figured out Ollie was deaf and also didn't see up close very well, but he still enjoyed the backyard almost as much as sitting on the sofa curled up and purring next to Steve. 

Steve was his favorite, paws down. Ollie was drawn to the peace and quiet of Steve--a safe human who also happens to know all the places cats like to have scratched and rubbed. Very often, I would catch sight of him looking up at Steve, an absolutely adoring look shining from his eyes while his rumbly purr filled the whole room. 

Best sofa cat in the world
This cat could purr like crazy and he did so with the slightest provocation, right up until the end. By then, he could no longer get up on the sofa and he would rest in the middle of the floor so anyone walking by would have the opportunity to scratch his head on their way past. His sight was nearly completely gone as well, so it also insured he would know when someone was headed to the kitchen, allowing him to follow and be sure to get a treat. 

It is a bit raw around here right now, a little empty--even though we still have plenty of cats floating around. Ollie was always talking, and we would both talk back even though he couldn't actually hear us. 

"The kitchen is awfully quiet," Steve said to me just now. There is no one to save extra steak or chicken for any more, either.

We had him less than a year, and the hole he has left behind seems disproportionally large. We gave him a good life here and he was happy. After hearing his story two weeks ago, the vet looked at him--full of tumors and still purring on the floor of the exam room--and said, "This is probably the happiest he's been in his whole life.

We certainly would like that to be true because he gave as good as he got.

With that big purr and quirky personality, Ollie reminded us that life is short and sweet and loving another being has no guarantees, though it very often carries big rewards. Oliver was just such a reward and there are no regrets here, just a little more silence than we're used to. 


SweetPauly said...

What a lovely, lovely tribute. Cats are awesome because it seems like we barely know they're there some days, but when they're gone it's a palpable emptiness. Thanks for giving Ollie such a great home.

SweetPauly said...

Oops-this is Sarah from Miles on Miles, logging in from the husband's account:)

lmel said...

Oh, so sorry for your loss. Sounds like even though you had him such a short time you gave him a wonderful home.