Oliver walked the Rainbow Bridge a little over month ago. He and his sister Smokey came to me about 12 years ago when they were barely weaned kittens. Oliver got his name because he was the runt of the litter, and seemed like a timid little orphan compared to his brawny brawling siblings. He grew up to be big, longhaired, black, and standoffish. It took several years of loving, quiet attention to get him socialized to the point where he could enjoy being petted. Maybe it was because his affections were so hard earned that made it so wonderful when he finally began to creep up into my lap to relax and purr.
I wanted both Oliver and Smokey to be indoor cats, but when Oliver was about 4 years old a neighborhood feral cat began spraying the back door, and nothing would do but Oliver HAD to go out and take care of that problem. After that he went out for a little while evey day, patrolled the perimeter and dispatched any audacious rodents that dared to enter the yard. He did the same for any of the mice that found their way into the house in the Fall.
Last winter while I was away for a while and the cats were staying with a familiar old friend, Oliver stopped eating. When I got back the Vet said I should force feed him which I did every hour for a week before he began eating on his own again. Soon after his abdomen began swelling up. After many tests the conclusion was that he had cancer of the liver, and the best thing was to simply make him comfortable until the end.
That came about 3 weeks later when I realized that his life was getting more and more difficult for him as his abdomen continued swelling, and it wouldn't ever get better, so I took him in to be put down. He fought it every inch of the way, which didn't make me feel any less guilty. He now sleeps in the back yard under the lilacs with Agnes, Kitkat, Buster and Nutmeg, good buddies all.
What I want to remember most about his last week is the day he managed to catch a nearly full grown rabbit and drag it up to the back door, asking if he could please bring it in. The Mighty Hunter to the end!
The odd thing now is that (I should post this on the Auditory Hallucinations thread) I hear his loud distinctive cry every now and then, and think to myself "Oh! Oliver wants to come back in!"
Maybe he does!