Wednesday, February 6, 2008

R.I.P. Oliver, 2007

Today's post is a tribute to my little cat, Oliver, who went missing back on the first weekend of December. I wasn't sure what happened to him, but I knew that if he were able to return home, he would not have just disappeared. I had meager hopes that he had wandered off and been taken in by a neighbor family, but living out in the country as I do, those hopes were slim and overly-optimistic at best. I'm not 11 years old anymore, and I know that when my cat doesn't come in when I call him, then something is wrong. I had all but accepted the fact he was gone: killed by a fox or coyote or something out in the woods or carried off by a stray dog. I was devastated to lose him and missed him incredibly, but was starting to let it go. Last Sunday, I cleared all the hay out of the bottom level of my barn (where I'd had hay stored for the past 3 or 4 months) and when I got to the back corner, I was heartbroken to find Oliver's little skeleton. It was in a corner, against the back wall of the barn, next to an open section of wall where the boards are broken and my cats go in and out all of the time. I sat down and cried, and painfully enough, Oliver's brother Tiger slipped into the barn, saw Oliver (with me sitting there crying), and he looked up at me and darted off. I feel terrible that Oliver's body was right there all along and I just didn't know it. I think Tiger knew where he was all along, but obviously couldn't tell me that. I can't tell exactly what happened, but I suspect that he either got hurt by a dog or another larger animal on the night he didn't come in when I called him, and he crawled back there behind the hay to die. Either that or he ran in the barn and got cornered between the hay and the wall and whatever was chasing him. I'm not sure how he died, but I feel that it happened pretty quickly. I am right there in that barn all the time and if he had been hurt or if he had cried out, I certainly would have heard him. So, now I am down to 3 cats (which is a really low number for me!) and I'm ok now with having some closure to this situation. It doesn't make it any less traumatic, but at least I can now look back and remember what a sweet cat he was and how much I loved having him. These pictures are some that I have that really represent the funny, unique, and special cat that he will always be in my mind.

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