In Memory of Oliver

Tame barn cats are independent souls who love to hunt and explore, yet will curl themselves around your legs for a scratch or allow themselves to be carried around like a baby.

It’s been four months, so I think I can write about it now. Our beloved barn cat Oliver, the inspiration for my children’s picture book, The Perfect Nest, died in the middle of June. He had a sudden heart ‘event’ (saddle thrombosis), was paralyzed, frightened, and in great pain, so once we got him to the emergency vet and learned the prognosis, we had no choice. The only good thing is that the whole thing happened in our yard, in front of us. I shudder to think how he’d have suffered had this happened out in the pasture or woods, where we may have never found him.

Melissa and I were inconsolable for days. Pumpkin, the other barn cat, suddenly became needy and clingy. Fall loomed, with winter close on its heels. What would Pumpkin do for companionship and warmth now? (We’re allergic to cats, so no cats in the house, I’m afraid.)

After a few months, we realized we needed to find someone for Pumpkin, so Melissa started calling around. We didn’t want wild barn cats. We wanted tame ones. She found two kittens, raised by a woman who tames most of her 15-20 barn cats.

Meet Eddie…

Meet Maisie…

The first six weeks were rough, since Pumpkin wanted nothing to do with these little pip squeaks. Luckily he’s come around, and now Uncle Pumpkin has even been seen playing with them. (He’ll deny it, however, so please don’t mention it to him.)

Eddie and Maisie are adorable, of course, and Eddie is proving to be the hunter that Oliver was. We’ve made a cozy ‘fort’ of hay bales in the hay loft where the three of them will keep each other toasty warm all winter.

Losing a cat is small potatoes compared to losing a spouse or close friend or sibling or child, yet the loss of an animal still becomes part of a person’s history of grief. As painful as it is to lose a pet, most of us get another one.

I guess the joy of having them in our lives must outweigh the pain of losing them.

6 thoughts on “

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    The new kittens are adorable.

    It’s never easy to lose a pet. They become members of our families. So while it’s not the same as losing a spouse or child, in a way it’s very very similar.

  2. I’m just now catching up. Thanks so much for the comment a few weeks ago. I never expected you’d stumble across my pitiful blog. 🙂

    I’m so, so sorry to hear about Oliver! I don’t think there is any measure of a person’s grief, whether it be the loss of a human or furry friend. My heart goes out to you and Melissa. Hold tight to those beautiful memories.

    Eddie and Maisie and adorable! Kittens are so fun. Keep the updates coming!

  3. They just don’t live long enough, do they? I believe we will all be together again with our beloved departed pets someday…otherwise I just don’t know how I could deal with the losses!

  4. I’m so sorry to read about Oliver. Pets hold a special place in our hearts. I still think of my cat “Smartypants” who went to the Rainbow Bridge in 1962.

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