The following story is a guest post from Mary R:
I have lived with many cats in my life, and I loved them all. But none ever stole my heart the way Olivia has done.
I did not have the privilege of knowing her as a kitten, but I’m sure she was adorable. I was not there to save her from the pain of having the people she trusted take her to a shelter and leave her when she was only two years old. But when I needed a furry friend, she was there.
When I brought her home, and turned my back for just a moment, she hid—so well that I had to call for reinforcements to help find her. She finally turned up on a shelf in a closet, camouflaged behind boxes and general stuff and refusing to even entertain the possibility of moving. Until we opened a can of cat food. Then she popped out, scarfed down the food, used her brand new litter box, and set about exploring her surroundings. She’s been in charge ever since.
The first few nights, while she got to know her new people and her new home, she slept in the room she had chosen as hers, the one where she had hidden. Once she was certain we were OK, she started sleeping on my bed. And she has slept there every night since, except for one.
The first time I took her to the vet, she was so mad, she wouldn’t speak to me for the rest of the day. And she certainly wasn’t going to sleep with me that night.
She needed a little help with manners at first. Circling my feet and meowing made feeding her a bit of a challenge, so I taught her to sit and wait politely. She learned immediately and extended the concept. When she wants play time with her favorite toy, she leads me to the toy closet then sits and waits patiently while I open the door and retrieve the toy. When she wants a treat, she does a trick (for example, scratches on her scratching post instead of the sofa) then runs and sits in front of me. If she wants to jump in my lap when I’m working, she sits beside my chair and meows. If she wants to snuggle in the night, she sits next to my shoulder and purrs to ask for permission.
She was an outdoor cat in her previous home, and I was afraid she wouldn’t be happy being confined inside the house. But the shelter encouraged me to keep her indoors, so I decided to give it a try. I had visions of never being able to open a door without her trying to escape. But that has not been the case. She loves to sit and look out the window but has shown no interest in going outside.
In just a little over a year, Olivia has transformed our home. Before her arrival, there was a place for everything, and everything was in its place. Now the floor is strewn with catnip mice and tiny foam soccer balls. There is a plush kitty condo in front of the patio door, and our furniture is coated with cat fur. More important, she has reminded us what it is to love unconditionally and be loved back. She warms us with her sweetness and entertains us with her antics. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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