Monday, November 27, 2006

Missing Otis

My baby boy Otis pulled his leash loose and disappeared into the woods on Aug. 22. After two months of all-out, nonstop searching, I finally had to "let him go," so I could have some closure and move on through the grieving process. It's still my prayer that he's out there somewhere having a grand adventure and will someday find his way home again.

Otis had celebrated his eighth birthday on July 26. He was the fifth kitten born to a stray mama cat I had adopted. At age 3 1/2, it became evident that he had a lot of health issues, and the next 4 1/2 years I fought with all I had to keep him as healthy and happy as possible.

He enjoyed sitting outdoors in the evenings on his leash, sniffing the breeze, rolling on the driveway and wandering over to nibble on grass. Of course, after his disappearance I felt a lot of guilt, for not having made sure he was tied more securely, for not checking on him sooner. It's been hard to forgive myself for these things.

Everyone who met Otis loved him. He was just a big orange and white ball of love. His doctors and caregivers doted on him, as did I, of course. He loved to curl up in my lap in the evenings, after his outing, where he would purr and knead his claws until he fell asleep. If Otis has gone on to cat heaven, I hope that he no longer remembers the pain and suffering he endured while in his physical form, but just remembers the love.

It's not my intention to have this blog be all about my grief for Otis, but no doubt a lot of posts will touch on it as I try to get used to living without him. I found lots of helpful Web sites and encountered many Web friends who offered reassurance, comfort and support. One of the best of these is I would print out the responses I got from my prayer requests and read them over and over. They really kept me going through the darkest days and nights, and I'm so grateful for each person who took the time to reach out to me. God bless you all.

Monday, October 23, 2006


One could easily say cats are my life, as pathetic as that sounds. Wherever I've lived, I've quickly become known as the 'crazy cat lady.' I currently have four cats, though I've had as many as 13 at a time. I recently lost my 8-year-old boy, Otis, who pulled his leash loose and disappeared into the woods on Aug. 22. Not a day goes by that I don't grieve for him.

But my other four furbabies are a huge comfort. There's Raj, a 19-year-old Tonkinese; and my girls--Shugi, 17; Xochitl, 8; and Belle, who just turned 1. Belle is my little Hurricane Katrina baby. When my vet brought 40-odd dogs and cats up from the Gulf Coast a few weeks after Katrina and Rita hit, she asked me if I'd like to foster two 5-week-old kittens who had no mama. I was thrilled, and would have kept both except one was already spoken for. Little Belle loves water, strangely enough, and adores shrimp--a true Cajun, I guess.

Caring for these kids can get tough at times, as any single mom can attest, but I consider it time, money and energy well spent. I have considered, though, having a bumper sticker made up that says "My cats, and my money, go to New Hope Animal Hospital"!