Oggy, our cat, adopted us almost eight years ago now. We had just moved into our first home and he came to visit. He sized us up quickly: no screen door, no kids, no pets, friendly = potential source of snacks and petting. He was right.
Oggy came over a lot. The funny thing is that he had a perfectly good and happy home next door. He lived with John, who also had another cat, Tilley. Oggy's sister. Perhaps that was the rub. In any case, over the six years that we lived in that house Oggy became more and more of a fixture. Finally we fed him and let him sleep on our bed, mostly because he never gave up trying to get us to adopt him. We felt a bit guilty in doing so since John was a lovely neighbor and we'd come to enjoy sharing meals together, admiring eachother's gardens, and hanging out now and then. We didn't want him to think we were stealing his cat.
In 2010, John retired and moved to British Columbia. We moved across town. Tilly went to Canada. Oggy came with us.
I remember the day that John said, "you'll be taking Oggy with you, then" in so many words (those might have been his actual words, I can't remember). I was so relieved that he would offer to let us have Oggy. We'd come to love him and I couldn't imagine giving him up. I'm so grateful for John's generosity and graciousness with the whole Oggy thing.
So here we are. As I type this I have a furry yellow cat about two inches from my computer. Oggy is sitting on the dining room table next to me . . . purring so loudly it vibrates the table. He's been trying to walk on my keboard. And he's rubbed his face on my screen a dozen times. True cat love, I suppose.
We've come to realize recently that Oggy is getting up there in cat years. He's 14 this year (we think). And that means he moves a bit slower, his joints click a bit louder, and he can't always jump as high as he'd like. Then during the holidays we noticed that he was getting thinner. Still eating lots but getting thinner and sleeping more and throwing up more frequently and then came the sneezing and coughing too. Really, we should have known something was up when Oggy put up no fuss at all when we tied on his Christmas ribbon.
Turns out he has a severe case of inflamed bowel disease. We know this after several vet visits, an ultrasound and biopsy, and lots of blood work. Now he gets a chicken-flavored "melt" of steroids twice a day to combat the inflammation. Today marks the one-week point in his treatment. I'd say he's definitely feeling better.
He's eating even more than he was, which is great. Hasn't thrown up in a week. Prefers his wet food now over the dry. Seems to spend less time sleeping and a bit more time checking out what's going on around the house and making a point of spending time in the rooms that have people in them. He's jumping up on things again (this is good and bad) and he's gotten more talkative. For him this is normal.
Normal is good. He's also gaining a bit of weight. I don't feel his back bone as clearly when I pet him and he just feels heavier when I pick him up. Not scientific, I know, but enough. He's starting to bat at strings that move and he is crazy about treats again.
Yesterday Oggy let Wyatt wipe his nose with a Kleenex while sitting on top of Wyatt's large art pad watching the kid go crazy with his ink pad and stamps. What kind of cat does that?
Oggy is part of our family. He's made inroads into all our hearts. And even in the short two years that Wyatt has known him I don't think it is a coincidence that Wyatt, when he is sad or bumps his head or has a melt down, has started meowing as a means of calming himself down or coping with something difficult. At first I didn't know what to think of it -- my two year old in tears and meowing. But now I have a sense that Wyatt is just thinking about (and acting like) his kitty, Oggy. And by thinking of something happy that he loves he finds a way through the stress.
Oggy regularly provides a de-stressing service to all of us. He sat on my lap and studied with me all during law school. He's been known to curl up on Byron's chest when he's home sick. He's been a source of warmth and company by curling up by my legs and warming me up a million times. We joke that Oggy is The Cat of Great Comfort. And he is. He somehow knows when you need a little love.
|Oggy studying his way through law school.|
|When I was pregnant, Oggy was not sure what to do with my growing belly that constantly took up "his" lap.|
If I'm honest with myself, I know we don't have that many years left with this dear kitty. He is an indoor-outdoor kitty, too, which shortens his years I'm told. It makes me sad to think about losing him someday, and I am most grateful that we don't have to deal with that situation yet. For now, he's with us. He seems content and acts like he is feeling much better.
I really, truly hope that he is.