My beloved 18.5 year old cat Oakley passed away four weeks ago. I haven't written about it because I feel like whatever I say won't do him justice. But I feel like I need to say something. So at the risk of minimizing him, I'm not only going to blog about him, but I'm going to bullet point at least some of why he was so awesome. I realize that no one will probably find this interesting enough to read all of, but I'm going to indulge myself with this post! So here we go, guys!
1. He was the most polite cat I've ever met. He literally would wait his turn to eat. If another one of our cats was eating he would back up a few feet, sit down on his haunches and look around a bit, passing time while the other cat ate. When they were finished he would take his turn. It was kind of heartbreaking, but adorable. If he went outside and we didn't let him in right away he would just sit at the door and wait patiently, occasionally give a meow, but nothing to disturb anyone too much. Everyone else came first for Oakley.
2. In spite of his polite demeanor, he didn't take crap from no one; yet he still did it politely. He was the only cat I've ever known to slap on the hand---no claws. It really felt like a human was slapping me. He rarely did it, but if he was afraid (he was abused prior to my having him so he didn't like it when I raised my hand over his head which I never did intentionally!) I would get two quick slaps on the hand. Our house is a veritable way station for homeless cats, so there have been many a cat that has gone through here before finding their permanent home. Oakley welcomed them all, but if they ever got aggressive he let them know who was boss. Not by fighting, just his little quick slaps and they got the message.
3. He was also the only cat I've known who grew emotionally. Yes, that's ridiculous! But also true! Because of his early abuse he was borderline feral when I got him at 7 months. The last few years he really came into his own and became much less skittish. The last year or so he was like a regular cat. Brett had said when he met him that he wished for Oakley that he could feel safe (and have opposable thumbs. Why opposable thumbs? I think so he could play the piano, I'm not sure.). And he truly did seem like he felt safe and happy this last year. Opposable thumbs not withstanding.
I'm lucky to have known him all those years and I'm going to miss him for the rest of mine.