Sunday, February 14, 2010

Goodbye Ollie

My cat died yesterday. And as much as I complained that he was a dumb pain in the ass, I loved him. And today, all I feel is sad -- sad when I think about it, sad when I see his half-eaten breakfast still in the bowl on the floor; sad when out of the corner of my eye, I think the blanket is him on the couch.

There's no doubt he was a pain in the ass and a grumpy, grumpy, grumpy old man. He was only 10, yet hit the grumpy old man stage by about age 2. A friend who cat sat several times in his earlier years told me that the first time she looked after him while we were away, she thought he was an old cat I had moved with me from my parents house-- not a close-to-kitten-age cat.

Yes, he was that grumpy.

He liked me. He didn't overly like anyone else. Not that he was mean or aggressive towards anyone else, he basically just didn't want to be around people. That is, unless someone was going to feed him -- then said person was his best friend until he got fed, then he went back to normal aloof self.

Since it started out just me and Ollie in Peterborough, he grew to accept Ryan after a few years and eventually he tolerated the kids. By tolerated I mean that he would get up and quietly leave the room any time a child walked in and yelled 'cat!'. He'd leave at a slightly quicker pace if same said kid was chasing him as he made his escape.

He had a little 'problem' as many of you know, a problem that we lived with. In hindsight, I don't know why we lived with it for so many years but we did. We did because we didn't want to put him down. But it came to that on Saturday. He had gotten aggressive over the last month or so -- beating the crap out of Chloe, our other cat. Without doing any tests, the vet said at the very least he had a chemical imbalance and she even suspected he had a brain tumour. In short, there was nothing more she could do for him.

I remember when I first got Ollie. He was about six months old and I picked him up from a farm family. He was supposed to be a barn cat but didn't like living outside so would sneak into the house and sleep on the couch. And, as the family didn't want cats in their house, they decided to give him away.

It was January, 2000 and it was cold. And when I brought him home, the tip of his tail was frostbitten. A few days later -- that tip fell off. And freaked me out. I called Ryan to ask him what to do (figuring he had cats all his life and I didn't) and his only response to me was 'cats tails aren't supposed to fall off'.

So I called one of those 24-hour emergency vet lines. And told the on-call vet what happened. He said to me: 'is it oozing?' I said no. 'Is it bleeding?' I said no. 'Is there bone exposed?' I said no. 'Is he bothered by it?' I said no, but I am!

There was nothing anyone could do for his tail and over time, his fur grew longer in that area to cover the exposed blunt end of his tail, making it so you'd never know by looking at him that a two-inch piece of tail had fallen off.

And one thing's for sure. I'll likely never have another cat whose tail falls off!
Goodbye Ollie. You drove us crazy, but you will be missed.


Suzanne Gardner said...

We'll miss you, Ollie. <3

Alison said...

sad when out of the corner of my eye, I think the blanket is him on the couch.

It took weeks - months, really - for me to stop looking down and shutting the door quickly after coming in the house, after Ada died - even if you come to terms with it intellectually, it's hard to accept it on an instinctive level, where things aren't supposed to change. In other words, I hear you, and will miss Ollie very much too. At the end of it all, he was a good cat.

Much love.

Cheryl said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I remember when we put Penny down it was hard and your right he see reminders everywhere. Over time it will get easier hand in there. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Carole said...

Ollie looks beautiful in these photos, Deb. They are wonderful mementoes for you to have. I had completely forgotten the tail-that-fell-off story. It made me smile in the middle of the sadness I feel. We will miss Ollie, grumpiness and all.