Hell of a Guy
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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Oliver the Cat


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Just about a year ago The Nancy and I took ownership of two kittens.  Our granddaughter, Jessica, snookered us in to taking them.  She played us like a fiddle.  Her dad had told her the kittens had to go.  She called her grandmother and pleaded for us to take them so daddy wouldn’t take them to the animal shelter.  We took the cats to please her.  What Jessica didn’t tell us was that daddy had promised her a puppy if she gave the kittens away.  We got the cats; she got her puppy. 

As you may know The Nancy and I live in the middle of an old 115 acre farm.  It is a great place for cats – lots of little critters for them to stalk and sometimes snare.  Farm living gave us the idea of naming the kittens Oliver and Lisa, remember “Green Acres?”  They had been called Friskie and Angel.  They never acknowledged the name change, nor did they come when called by either the new or the old names.  Cats are basically stupid, I think, but then again, perhaps not.  The Nancy once told me to dogs we are family: to cats we are merely staff.  She may have nailed it.  The kittens grew and had fun romping outside, chasing birds, moles and mice, especially Oliver.

The more affectionate of the two, at least to me, was Oliver.  He would walk up in front of The Nancy or me quite literally flop down and rollover on his back.  Maybe this was his way of acknowledging us?  I don’t have any idea about what the move was for, but often even if he was just walking across the room he would flop down and roll on his back.  He got a kick out of coming into our bedroom in the morning and jumping on the bed, whereupon he would proceed to walk up my side of the bed and take the shortcut from my side to The Nancy’s over my head, generally catching me with at least two paws – one on a cheek and the other on my forehead.  We called him “Wild Man” and the nickname fit him perfectly. 

Oliver, was also the more vociferous of the two, serenaded us with constant meows and other vocalizations, mostly at night when he wanted out.  He enjoyed being out at all night long doing cat stuff.  If we didn’t let him out, he would make us aware of his displeasure until we got totally disgusted and threw his little butt outside.  Lately he wanted to be out more than in, and we know it wasn’t hormonal because he was “fixed.”  I can easily say for not having any, this kitty had balls.

About on the 25th of September Oliver didn’t show up in the morning after being out all night.  The Nancy was going to Dallas on the 28th for a Millennium workshop and I was heading to Richmond, Virginia to spend some time with my daughters, my son-in-law and Vivienne Leigh, aka Miss Scarlet.  Oliver elected to not come home and we had to leave him to the elements.  We didn’t risk leaving food out due to the possibility of attracting other animals.  I arrived back at the farm on Saturday evening and, still, Oliver was nowhere to be seen.

I have never been a huge pet lover, although most of my adult life has found animals close by.  In the dog category there was Fred, Partner, Cuddles, Whiskers, Casey and, presently, Stella.  As for cats, there was Cat #1, because I don’t remember its name (I was about ten), Oedipus (Eddie for short), Shakespear (Shaker), and Morris.  Personally, I can take them or leave them.  I would be most comfortable without them; however, the damn hair spreaders do grow on you after a while.  Lisa and Oliver have become part of the family.

Stella, the mixed breed Black Lab, that lives with us and is a story in its own right, is the Alpha pet around this house, but the cats adore her.  They have slept by her side and followed her around whenever they were outside together.  The Nancy and I go for walks on some of the paths cut through the fields around the property.  Stella goes ahead and leads the pack, The Nancy and I would be in the middle and not far behind us would come both cats.  Occasionally the cats twould scamper by and trade places with us, and we would be bringing up the rear.  The point being here that the cats thought of Stella as family – definitely not staff – and she was as comfortable with them as she is us.

Last Sunday afternoon I found Oliver’s remains out in a field about a quarter mile from the house.  I was led there by a couple of buzzards circling in the air and two on the ground.  Oliver was the object of their fascination.

I decided not to attempt to bury what remained of Oliver having read not to very long ago about how cells (atom or molecules) from one thing can migrate into another and live on.  All of the protons and neutrons that existed since the beginning of all things are all present in today’s world.  They cannot be created, nor can they be destroyed…hence, eternal life.  Anyway, I thought about that as I looked at what remained of the cat I came to love.  Maybe part of Oliver already lives on in something else already?  As odd as this seems for me, the not-so-much-a-lover-of-animals, to say, I miss him. 

And that is all I have to say about that…

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