On Sunday 1st October 2017 I lost Oscar, ‘my little friend’ and companion of the last fifteen and a half years, after a short illness.
I took in a stray cat, Cleo, in 2001 and she had four kittens on the 27th March 2002, coincidentally the same day as my own birthday! Here they are at just a few weeks old.
From front to back they are Ginny, Lily, Tiffin and Oscar.
I kept them all. Ginny died in May 2004, Cleo in September 2004, Lily in July 2016 and Tiffin in February 2017. So Oscar was the only surviving cat of the family of five. All the siblings had gentle, friendly natures and were very well behaved.
So as a ‘tribute’ to Oscar I’ve listed some happy memories of him, in no particular order.
• Oscar had relatively recently discovered a taste for sandwiches and toast. He liked cheese and/or ham sandwiches with mayo and wholemeal bread and butter. And he was very fond of paté on toast, Ardennes and chicken liver especially.
• He would sleep on my bed and sometimes ‘knead’ my head in the night. I had to keep his claws cut short!
• He liked me to lie on my side in bed and crook my arm, then he would come under the quilt and rest his head on my arm and sleep with me for a while. That was something he learned to do only after Tiffin passed away.
• Once, at the vets, Oscar jumped off the table and started ‘exploring,’ even going into the stock room. He rubbed around the vet’s legs and the vet said he was ‘exceptionally friendly’!
• He recently grew to like the hot air stream from the hairdryer and in recent weeks would sit on my bed when he heard it going, in order to be ‘dried’!
• Oscar would STAND at a birdbath and drink water from it (watch full screen with full volume!) [N.B. The video was on Cat Lovers Only Facebook page (with thousands of views!) but seems to have disappeared, so link is to my FB page.]
video of Oscar drinking from bird bath
• In the evening I often go for a walk round my village. When he saw me putting my shoes and jacket on, he would sit by the door, waiting to come outside with me. Then when I came back about 30-40 minutes later he’d be waiting on the drive for me.
• My cats had their dry food in some ‘feeding tubes,’ to reduce and slow their eating. Lily could do it straight away (she was the clever one), Tiffin learnt in a couple of days but poor Oscar just couldn’t get the hang of it and had to be trained over a full week! I would put a tube on its side, and a piece of food just outside the opening to start with, gradually putting the food further into the tube and increasing the angle over a few days until it was vertical. Once he’d learned how to do it, he’d sit for several minutes at a time, happily fishing Go Cat out of the tubes.
• Oscar liked me to leave the under-stairs cupboard door open so that he could explore. He would often rummage around in there and once found a pair of glasses that had been missing for several days!
• Once I got up at 2 a.m. to see him sitting on top of a tree in my front garden in the pouring rain! The tree was maybe ten feet high at the time.
• To stop him rolling on my computer desk when writing etc. I’d ‘sacrifice’ my comfortable chair for him to sleep on, whilst I sat on a plain, hard one.
• None of my cats made any noise. Then when Lily died, Tiffin ‘found his voice’ and started to miaow. Similarly, when Tiffin died, Oscar started to miaow, sometimes quite loudly.
• When he was a little kitten he couldn’t stop sneezing one night. I phoned the vets at midnight and they asked if he was dehydrated. I had to pinch the skin behind his neck and see if it stayed up or went down. It went down and I knew he’d be OK.
• In my previous house Oscar would growl like a dog if someone rang the doorbell at an unusual time! If it was a pupil for guitar lessons he would sense that from the time and my activities, and not worry.
• When he was very young I remember him coming back under the fence from our neighbour’s garden with a long piece of blue rope that he had ‘stolen’!
A very helpful guide, if you’ve lost a pet.
An online tribute I left for Lily.
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18 thoughts on “Memories of Oscar”
What a beautiful tribute to Oscar. The fact that he was born on your Birthday was just some coincidence. The “kneading” thing cats do freaks me out. I’m unable to explain why, but I fear that there is something wrong with the body part they knead. As if they were trying to heal you, or at least tell you to go get it checked out. Kneading of the head? Never seen that one before.
Hi, thank you. I thought I’d replied to your comment via e-mail but just found it still in my drafts folder! Big apologies! Anyway, here it is:
I read that the kneading thing cats do comes from a memory of massaging their mother’s teet to get milk. That’s why some cat’s salivate as well. Fortunately Oscar didn’t! To me that sounds quite plausible, although perhaps not always the reason. Who knows?
I remembered a couple of other things about him. When I wanted to adjust his collar he would crouch down and keep perfectly still whilst I fiddled around with it, even if I couldn’t get it right the first time, bless him.
The other thing, his tail never went bushy, as the others’ did when confronting/fighting other cats.
Yes, cats are very interesting creatures, they never cease to amaze!
I’m sorry for your loss, Simon.
Thank you, he was a very special pet. But then they all are aren’t they?
Simon i’m sorry for your loss. he seemed like a sweet cat – that growled when the door bell rang.
Hello Jina, thank you, yes he was lovely and always friendly. And he was always right when he growled, it was never a regular caller! Incidentally I don’t know if other cats growl like that, or stand and drink from bird baths either come to think of it!
the strays that live around my home growl and cry like a baby. when my youngest was just a baby, i’d confuse the cat outside – for about a second and a half, no more – with my baby’s cries.
They do yowl when they confront other cats. That sounds like a baby, but I don’t remember one growling, so I just looked on YouTube. There were a few and when I clicked on one, the cat’s name turned out to be … Oscar. What an amazing coincidence! My Oscar sounded a bit more dog like, but similar.
Incidentally, once I thought I heard a baby crying at night in my garden. It went on for a while and I was so sure it was a baby I went out and looked in the hedge, where the sound was coming from. It was a frog!
hehe. a frog. it used to take me about a second for me to realize it wasn’t my baby. like a startled moment, why is he outside?
The odd thing was that I’d read about frogs ‘crying’ just a few days before, and thought it sounded very unlikely. But it sounded EXACTLY like a very young child crying! I never heard it ever again.
I am so sorry for your loss. Oscar sounds like a star of a cat!
Thank you Josypheen, yes he was. As I say in the article he’d come into my study when I was writing and I’d give him my comfortable chair to sleep on, and sit on a hard one myself, but it was good to have his company.
I’m so sorry to hear about Oscar. Losing a pet is so hard; they really are like family. I have to admit, I teared up a little reading your memories. It sounds like he was a great little companion. When my kitty stops licking his bum, I’m going to go give him a snuggle for you and Oscar.
Thank you Becca, our animals are special to us, especially when you have them for so much of your life, ten to twenty years sometimes. They leave a hole when they’ve gone. Yes, give your little one a kiss from me and Oscar!
Oh Simon, I’m so sad to hear about Oscar. What a fun and loving friend. It’s so hard when our little family members pass. You’ve got wonderful memories and you shared them beautifully.
Thank you again Mary, I tried to be upbeat in my little ‘tribute’ and not feel sad, but of course they are ‘family’ to true pet lovers, like you and me. I have a lot of photos of them when they were young but I’ve not looked at them for over thirteen years, since Ginny died. Her loss was very, very hard and it took nearly ten years to get over it. At that time she had more character than the others put together. So I’m thinking to get those photographs out of storage and to share some of them online. It will help to keep their memory alive.