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. There was a problem with embedding this video so I’ve added a link in case the video doesn’t appear.]
• 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.
Also, I’m very pleased to announce that ‘the best of my blog,’ To Cut a Short Story Short: 111 Little Stories, and a short story, Bound in Morocco, are now both available as paperbacks and Kindle eBooks. Please see Shop in the menu above for full details.