Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Life of Oscar

By Scott

We received sad news this morning that our cat, Oscar, died. He had been losing weight over the summer, and we were worried about him. Soon after we left this summer, Heather's mom took him to the vet, who suspected cancer.

Oscar was never really "our" cat. He used to be our neighbor's cat when we lived in Vancouver. Then, he became our cat. When we left for Australia, he became Heather's parent's cat. But really, Oscar was never anyone's cat. We were all his people.

When I met Heather, I wasn't much of a cat person. Despite her allergies, she has always adored cats, and thanks to Oscie, I now do too. He was not shy. Soon after moving into our house in Vancouver,  he waltzed into the garage and demanded attention from Heather, who was more than happy to accommodate. This is how he behaved with everyone. He didn't care whether you were a cat lover or not. If you had two good hands and a warm lap, he'd consider you a worthwhile project. Once, I threw down a pair of work gloves while working in the yard. He ran over to them like it was a dream come true -- his own pair of hands.

For the first year, we never fed Oscar. He was not motivated by food at all. He would run across the street to greet us when we returned from a bike ride, or come around to the back door in the evening and meow until we let him in. Eventually, we started having sleepovers. Our house came equipped with doggy doors. We soon unlocked them, and Oscie quickly learned to come and go as he pleased. Once, he even managed to drag a live pigeon, that was nearly as big as he was, through two of those doggy doors before I intervened. The pigeon lived. Oscie was not pleased.

It soon became apparent to our neighbors that Oscar was spending all of his time at our house, yet they were still feeding him. They asked if we wanted to make it official, and we said yes. He continued to come and go as he pleased, coming in to wake us up in the morning for a drink of water. He was never picky about food, but he insisted on drinking water straight from the faucet. I'd stumble out of bed, turn the faucet to a trickle, then go back to bed. When he was finished, he'd curl up in my arm and take a nap until I got up. Then he'd sleep on the bed for another couple hours.

When we decided to move to Australia, we knew we couldn't take Oscar with us. It would have been a brutal plane trip, a couple thousand dollars, and a month-long quarantine. We offered our neighbors the chance to take him back, but they were happy to let Heather fly back with him to her parents' house in Michigan. Oscar wasn't happy about flying, but he loved roaming and hunting in his new domain, sleeping on Gary's head, and earning the name King Oscar from Vickie. We were so grateful that they took him in. Not only was it comforting to know he had a loving home, but we also got to see him when we visited the states.

It's sad that Oscar's gone, but he lived a good life, lived it on his own terms, put smiles on a lot of faces, and died quickly and peacefully. We should all be so fortunate. We'll miss you little buddy.

This was the last time we saw Oscie.  He made us so happy.  He watched us drive away that day.


Stevie said...

Oh god, you made me cry. That was a very sweet eulogy.

I'm so happy that Oscar and all of his people shared so much love and cuddles. You were all very blessed.

RIP Oscar...and give my love to Spencer for me. Just don't get too close. She bites.

Danno said...

Very sad for you. Great post. Spoiling an animal in exchange for their companionship is one truly great thing about domestic life.