Oreo and I had a special bond as if we had been together in other lifetimes and agreed to meet again.
We met at a veterinarian’s office when my family and I went looking for a kitten to replace my daughter Sarah’s cat who died a month or so earlier. The kitten was to be Sarah’s since my other daughter, Erin, had Hony cat. Maybe it was too soon for Sarah to connect with a new cat or maybe Oreo was just meant to be my cat for she quickly became my best loved cat and I her best loved person.
Oreo was a fluffy black kitten and grew into a gorgeous black cat with long black fur, soft as down. Her extra-long tail was made even longer by the length of the fur. And this became a source of constant play for her, as she found it fascinating that it moved and that she could catch it! Her tail was her favorite toy most of her life! I laughed and laughed when she played with it for many minutes at a time.
As she grew out of her kitten fur into her long fur, she was bound to have frequent hair balls. At about six months old, when she would need to throw up a hairball, she started having seizures, the grand mal intensity. She would make a loud and horrible yowl, then throw up and go into a seizure. I was the one who went to her, held her back so she didn’t hurt herself or us. When she would stop and open her eyes, she would look at me. From then on we were deeply connected. A change in food, vitamin supplements and growing older eliminated the seizures thankfully. But, hairballs continued her whole life and I was constantly cleaning up throw-ups.
She had other maladies through her life; crystals in her urine which caused her to pee very small amounts all over the house. A special food helped this. At around 15 years she developed cataracts and started having hip pain. Both got worse in the years that followed, but that never stopped her from trying to jump up on the bed or a chair, even if she had to take several tries. She always jumped up to be closer to me.
Since I was her person, she would come to the door when I came in and meow at me. She never did this when Erin or Sarah came home, only to me. She demanded I pay attention to her and would meow at my feet until I picked her up and petted her, all the time pulling away slightly as if she didn’t really want that.
Change was not her cup of tea, so when people would visit or I was gone on vacation, she would pee outside the box or on the carpet, much to my chagrin. If I took the time to talk to her and tell her people were coming or tell her when I was leaving and how long I’d be gone, she was much better about her toilet behavior. She didn’t like it, but she accepted it. If I ever ignored her for too long, she would poop or pee outside the box or even just over the edge, expressing her opinion clearly.
My favorite times were when she began to sleep at my head later in her life or get under the covers to stay warm. She always slept with me and no one else and would stay with me all through the night. No other cat in my life did that.
In the end, I never expected her to live to be 19 year old. All my other cats had died by 18 years. And to the end she stayed alert and bright eyed (even with hip pain, cataracts, dementia and ongoing hairballs). Finally she gave me a sign she was ready to go. Over 2 days she quit eating and couldn’t control her bowels. And it was clear in her eyes she was tired. We spent her last day together just being with each other, holding her some and releasing her to the spirit world. Now we stay together in spirit and memory.