My parents broke up the summer before I turned 10. My Dad was going to be our primary care giver and we all moved half way across the province. It wasn’t as hard an adjustment for my brothers and I as for other since we moved to a small town where we has always spent half the summer and all other school holidays there already. We had lots of friends in the neighbourhood upon moving. Our first Christmas in Smiths Falls my Dad brought us home an 8 week old male orange tabby kitten. We named him Oliver after the Disney movie ‘Oliver and Company’ due to his uncanny resembalance to the title character.
Oliver was the first cat our family had owned in 5 years when our previous kitty left us. He was a family pet, but he was really mine. Oliver slept with me under the covers and no matter what I did he always loved me best. I could even dress him in my doll clothing and he never fought or scratched, he put up with it and still followed me around. I could use him as a pillow occasionally and he enjoyed it and would purr all the while. He and my Dad were buddies and he loved sitting and hanging out with my brothers but if he wanted pampering or was feeling sick it was me he came to.
At the beginning of November he turned 16. He’d gotten old. His hips were creaky and he’d gone a little kooky. Sometimes he wouldn’t recognize me for the first little bit when I would arrive for a visit and even would act like he’d forgotten my Dad at times for a bit. Earlier this month he got sick. He was wheezing and having a hard time breathing so my Dad took him to the vets where Oliver was diagnosed with pneumonia and put on medication for it.
Friday morning my Dad called to say Oliver had died. He got to go at home and not in the vets office. Dad told me he’d been worried and was going to take him back tot he vets office Friday because Thursday Oliver had seemed to be having more trouble than before breathing although he was happy and purring when being pet. From what Dad and my step Mom figure he simply fell asleep and never woke up.
I can honestly say I cried when my Dad told me and even writing this makes me tear up a bit. Oliver was my first real pet and had been alive and with our family for over 3/5th of my life. We’d raised him from a kitten to an adult and taken care of him when he was ill, he truly was a part our family. Dad and my step mom buried him in the back yard under the honeysuckle where he liked to lay and she is making him a little stone marker. Part of me feels guilty that I wasn’t there for his passing, but none of us knew it was going to happen. Dad told me he was worried he might have to make a decision at the vets but knew I had always said if it ever came to that and there was time to let me know so I could be there and I would have been, but this happened with no real warning.
I loved that kitty. I love that kitty. Even though he’s gone doesn’t mean the love I had for Oliver is gone. I hope I’ll always remember him and the many many good memories I have of his time with my family and that soon thinking about him won’t hurt as much and I’ll be abe to smile without tears in my eyes.