Monday, October 25, 2010

Sweet Kitty of Mine

My dear cat passed away this week.  His illness was sudden.  We are finding it hard to say goodbye to our old boy who we called our furry friend for almost 16 years. 

Before the children, before the dog, even before the hubby, there was my Oreo.

A black and white Norwegian Forest Cat, Oreo's distinguished look and a regal air lead my then boyfriend, now husband, to dub him "Lord Oreo".

A few months after I graduated college Oreo caught my eye at the Chattanooga Humane Society. 

He sat in the middle of a sea of black and white brothers and sisters.  In the commotion, Oreo turned his tiny head and looked into my eyes and meowed.

"I'll take that one" I said.

He lived with me in my one bedroom apartment during my first job as a news reporter in Johnson City, Tennessee.

As a kitten he was a wild one.  Climbing brick walls and scratching me when I would try to correct or catch him.  My hands were covered with marks from his youthful exuberance.  One of my co-workers Jay Siltzer even quipped, "What did you adopt, a baby bobcat?"

Oreo did chill out and went through several seasons of life as a curious companion.  He lived with me through four television jobs, all in different cities. One of those jobs in steamy Augusta, Georgia.

I lived in a renovated carriage house behind an historic home.   Oreo, with his long fur coat, did not appreciate the southern heat.  His ancestors, after all, sailed on the Nordic seas with vikings for mates.  But Oreo loved me and kept himself content in that little loft.

Moves to Knoxville and Raleigh followed and still Oreo adapted to his new homes and to new companions.  He got used to his new Dad and then a new "sister" dog that had him hiding under the bed for at least two weeks.

Oreo met the births and additions of each of our three little boys with curiosity and gentleness.  Not once did he ever scratch or bite them.  He somehow knew they were small and always sat patiently as they learned to pet him with gentle hands.

Seeing my gentle giant go down hill so fast was surreal.  There was simply nothing to help him.

I sat in the vet office cradling my sick kitty wrapped in his favorite blanket, the one with Christmas trees and penguins on it.  He purred, as if to comfort me.  Even in sickness, he was still there for me.

As I sat with him at the end, I looked as the top of his head and thought how he looked like a stuffed animal.  I  could still see where my son had tried very hard to make him sport a mohawk that morning. 

He seemed at peace.  I could not help but sigh in relief knowing he was not in pain.  So brave.  What a blessing to have called this beautiful animal my friend. 


1 comment:

Cindy said...

Heather, I'm so sorry that you've lost Oreo. It's not easy to lose a pet. Thanks for sharing about him!