Wednesday, August 26, 2009
It Was An Honor, You Crazy Girl
Olivia, the Tiny. then, Olivia, the Shy Cat. then Olivia, the Sassy. then, Olivia, the Queen. Olivia, the Old Lady. Olivia, the Slow But Still A Badass.
and now - Olivia, in cat heaven. we were with her for 15 and a half years. i brought her home, one of a litter of kittens cared for by a friend from our then-church. when our kids were six and three. now they're 21 and 18. olivia wasn't named yet; my wife named her. she said she didn't know why "olivia" fit her - but it felt right.
from the beginning, olivia was shy. which is tough when you're a kitten among big expressive people like the Diamonds and the folks who'd come by. olivia would act like she was just sniffing you, then pause, then hiss and swat at you. and the she'd run off.
we're not sure what the kid in the famiy who gave olivia to us had done with the kittens born in his house, but the story we heard was that he, also a very young child, had tossed the kittens against the walls. so, there's that. but, she was just shy. kept to herself.
didn't come and get in your lap if you called her. didn't do ANYTHING if we asked her to. no tricks, no obedience. but she wasn't wild, or mean. she was just her own girl. so, we often called her the queen.
but it was funny because she was little and skinny.
she loved bling; she wore a collar. when her collar would get worn out, and we'd get her a new one, she'd stretch out her neck and let us put it on her. like a rock star being dressed for a show.
but when she wanted to be close to us, or when she was cold, she'd walk over casually, and jump up into our laps, and allow us to pet her. and, depending on whom she'd decided to sleep next to that month, when it was bedtime, she'd jump up into that person's bed and snuggle tight up against them.
she hissed, we figured, because she was scared. if you'd been tossed against walls in your deeply formative years, wouldn't you be? so, she didn't like strangers. but she liked us.
she didn't make messes or tear things up; that'd be beneath her. but she would jump up on the kitchen counter if there was chicken or whipped cream.
last week there was whipped cream.
she'd felt bad for a few years; turns out that, like many older cats, her kidneys weren't good. the vet suggested a canned food that helped cats' kidneys work easier. he said she wouldn't live that long. but she didn't die. just a tough old girl.
then she leaped up to sneak some whipped cream, and fell off the counter, and broke her leg. turns out she had bone cancer. we didn't know. she must've been in pain, maybe a long time.
so we took her to the vet and decided to euthanize her - the other option was to cut off her leg. but the vet said she wouldn't heal.
we told our college-age children to come say goodbye if they wanted to, and they did, and then we took her and held the queen. and said goodbye. she went quickly and quietly. she was ready.
so, we miss her. we kept her latest collar. and lately when i look up at clouds, i think they are whipped cream, and queen olivia doesn't have to sneak bites of it anymore. although she probably does because it's more fun.
but olivia mellowed out, too.