Otis (2012? - March 18 2016)

  • Friday 18 March 2016 22:00
  • 3 minute read

It was December 2013. We were in a brief interregnum without cats.

To keep her feline quotient at acceptable levels, Caroline was volunteering More like “holding auditions”. at the local animal shelter.

While it was indeed marvelous living in an apartment where everything was not covered in cat fur, I could no longer hold back the ever more insistent tide. And so one Saturday morning we went to the shelter for some cat pickin'.

She led me down a row of cages, stopped at one, and introduced me to “Charlie”, a young brown tabby. When she opened his door (which was at about eye level), he gave me a look that could only be described as “Hey, how you doin’?” and walked straight out of the cage on to my shoulder. I knew immediately that she had spent her time volunteering well and had chosen wisely.

I picked out an adorable little calico named “Bee”. Funny how things worked out. The cat she picked became “my cat”, and the one I picked has bonded fiercely to her. We took them home from the shelter and renamed them “Otis” and “Marnie”. But enough of Marnie for now. Today is for Otis.

About a year ago, he had an “episode”: his legs stopped working, and he went to the ground, yowling in distress. Two minutes later, he was right as rain. After a round of tests, the vet told us he had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the walls of one of his ventricles, and his episode was most likely a saddle thrombosis, which somehow dislodged itself a few minutes later (it usually doesn’t). He was lucky this time, but the exact quote delivered to us was “He won’t live a long life”.

Well, the vet was right. This morning, I was awakened by pained yowling. I had heard this sound once before. I found him laid out on the dining room table, in obvious distress.

Fortunately, I guess, his distress didn’t last long.

Here’s to you, Otis. I’ve had some mighty fine cats in my time, but you were special.

Otis was a “cat’s cat”: super outgoing, curious, fearless, and alarmingly smart.

The problem with a smart one is that cats are…well…evil. Now please don’t misunderstand me – I adore cats, and have lived with them all of my life. They are cute bundles of independence, affection, and animation, and make wonderful companions. For many reasons, they are my favorite pets. But they are also vindictive, conniving little bastards who love to fuck with things just because they can. And so they do. And the smarter they are, the worse they can be.

Otis was a super-genius of the cat world. He has left his indelible mark on the myriad objects that he has either destroyed or permanently altered due to his passing through our lives. Since I loved him, however, I don’t see this as a net negative. The balance to all this destruction was the fantastic connection we shared and the joy he gave me. He truly was my friend, and I will miss him dearly.

So goodbye, buddy. Thanks for stopping by for a while.