Olive came to live with us more than a decade ago when she was about 3. Our neighbours were moving overseas and we offered their cat a home.
She’s a dark chestnut brown and has always been rather prickly. We’re allowed to stroke her head, but she’s not keen on being stroked along her body. She’s not good at retracting her claws, and doesn’t tolerate annoyances well.
One of her favourite activities for a while was to wait in ambush for you to step out of the shower. Then she’d rub up against your bare, wet legs and be furious if you tried to stop her. That fury would be evident in a sharp miaow and potentially a scratch or bite.
For the last couple of years she’s been growing increasingly frail. Earlier this year I feared she was at death’s door one morning and rushed her to the vet. He found she’d been bitten on the leg and had an infection. A course of antibiotics fixed her right up and she’s doing fine now.
At the age of 16 though she’s not very mobile, has lost weight and become more placid, and is going a bit gaga. She’s also a lot more fussy about food and wants wet food much more often. And when she wants wet food or attention she lets us know: loudly, very loudly. I suspect she may be losing her hearing.
Sometimes she seems to get herself ‘caught’: standing like a statue mid-stride as she has presumably lost her balance, or perhaps forgotten what she was doing. The other day she was standing in front of the door, looking outwards, waiting to come in and miaowing piteously. She didn’t seem to hear me calling her from the door to come in.
One thing we discovered, thanks to the vet nurse: although Olive doesn’t like being stroked anywhere except her head, she loves being brushed all down her back and on her sides, purring and drooling and not wanting you to stop.
I don’t know how much longer Olive will be with us, but we’re trying to make sure she has a comfortable time, with an indoor litter box so she doesn’t have to struggle through the catflap, special food and a couple of special beds (that Ares, a younger boy takes over). And a lot of patience and extra consideration.