So a couple notes before I start:
One: Yes, I had a lot of fun taking pictures of Olivia. She is a super chill cat and she let me take a bunch of pictures of her. I will not, however, apologize for the amount of pictures included. Enjoy!
Two: You might know the people in the story. You might even be the people in today’s story. But please know, I am not here to put down, shame or humiliate anyone. I only want to be able to tell Olivia’s story.
With those disclaimers out of the way…
This is Olivia.
I have shared a few pictures of Olivia over on my Instagram, and thought it might be a fun change of pace to tell you the story of the cat I have learned to love.
Back in October, my mum had some friends that were moving out of state. And although they had dogs that they were taking with them, they were not taking Olivia. At the time, everyone thought she was a strictly outdoor cat. They were just feeding her and even made her a little house with a bed to sleep in. They loved this cat. Their hearts were in the right place, but they just didn’t know too much about her.
Olivia never wanted to be indoors. Every time the couple would try to bring her inside, she would freak out and run away! To try to ship a “feral” cat out of state, as they thought, would not be smart. No one would win.
Even though Olivia never went inside, the wife of the house and her often spent time sunning together. Olivia does like to lay in the sun!
But the time came for them to leave this state.
Thinking that Olivia would find another place to get food, they stopped feeding her. I don’t know for how long, but when my mum saw Olivia and found out what was happening, she realized she had to do something.
Olivia was in a bad way. If she was eating, it was probably scraps she was finding on the streets.
It was in that moment, that my mum decided that she was going to take this cat home. Maybe Olivia would integrate with our other cats, or maybe she would just be a foster situation. At that time, no one knew. All I knew is what I heard from a phone call from my mum, telling me she just took this feral cat to the vet and now we were going to try and nurse her back to health– in the house.
Y’see, the last time we got cats (i.e. Petey and Sweet Pea, two cats I will formally introduce at a later date), they were in the room joining mine. And since I was in such close proximity to them, there would be times that I ended up taking care of them. And now we have this possibly feral cat that I am going to be roommates with?? I was not happy about this.
Nevertheless, my mum brought Olivia home.
Not love at first sight (sorry!)
I remember the first time seeing her; she was still in her crate and yowling like crazy. The other cats were going nuts too. We weren’t ready for another cat, and I wasn’t ready for it either.
On the first day that Olivia came to us, she was a super scrappy-looking cat. She was very thin; you could feel every bone in her back. Her fur was dirty, and she just the scrappiest looking face. Her fur was uneven and there was (and still is!) a small notch in the tip of her left ear, like she had gotten in a cat fight at some point. I think she might have scars because her fur still grows in at odd lengths, giving her the appearance of that scruffy face that came in the door 5 months ago.
Though she was free from fleas (the doctors gave her the super strong, fast-acting flea and tick killer), Olivia was covered in scabs. Olivia had so many scabs, it was hard to pet her. It felt like she still had fleas, and it skeeved me out!
We got her a bed, food, and fresh water.
And oh my goodness, kids, I’ve never seen a cat love water so much!
So far as we know, Olivia doesn’t have any outlying medical conditions that would cause her to drink so much water. But to this day, Olivia’s number one routine in the morning is to sit in front of the water bowl for 3-5 minutes straight. She takes breaks in that time, but she just loves being by the water dish. Weirdo cat.
The process of winning over
Even though I was not thrilled about this new cat in the house, I was the one who would spent the most time with her. We didn’t know if she had any sort of contagious diseases yet, plus she also wasn’t playing well with the other cats. So for a bit in the beginning, she had to be in a separate room.
And in the time that I was in her room, she never wanted to leave. She was content with being in this room, complete with a big bed fresh water, wet food 2-3 times a day, and around-the-clock dry food (i.e. “crunchies”). Not only were all her needs met, but she wasn’t outside. And I think that made her the happiest of all.
But when I would spend time with her, she would lay on my lap and I would brush her with the flea comb, getting all of the scabs out of her fur.
And the more we combed her, the more she was able to clean herself, and the less she smelled like chemicals and garbage. I’m not saying that to be mean, but between shots and being outside for who knows how long, Olivia needed some serious help.
Another reason why I was skeptical of letting this cat into my life was because this space was rarely touched by cats for over two years.
A little backstory
So this is Lovey.
She was my birthday present when I turned 8. I think I will do a formal introduction on her as well at some other time, just because she was such an amazing cat.
But to keep it short for now, Lovey’s main domain was my room. She slept with me or in my room, hung out with me, the whole nine yards. Mum used to say to me, “Lovey’s everyone’s cat, but she’s really yours.” And that much was true. She loved everyone, but I was definitely her favorite.
But she is no longer with us. She was the first pet that I lost.
When I lost Lovey, I locked my room off from any of the other cats in the house. My room has a lot of things that they can get into or break, and I couldn’t have them in my room for more than 5 minutes before they started getting into things.
But now there is Olivia, who is around 3 years old.
We don’t know if something happened to Olivia while she was outside, but ever since we got her, she has walked funny. When she sits, her paws point in opposite directions! But because of her off-kilter paws, she doesn’t do a lot of jumping around, unless it’s to a destination that she is going to sleep on (like the couch!). Olivia doesn’t get into much; she really only wants to snuggle.
I couldn’t leave this cat by herself all the time if I was right next door, literally. I told my parents, if they clipped Olivia’s nails, I would allow her to come in my room at night. She likes to “make biscuits”, or knead things with her paws and claws. Normally, this is not a huge issue, but I have an electric blanket, as you probably know.
And claws and electric blankets don’t mix!
So with this compromise, they did just that. Olivia was ecstatic. I, on the other hand, was not too sure how I felt about the arrangement.
Olivia vs. the other cats
I didn’t want to get too attached to this cat either; Olivia wasn’t showing too much progress at the time when it came to integrating her with the three other cats at the time. She hissed at them a lot. She was extremely protective of her food, and for good reason! Chances are, she fought other cats for the food that she did have.
It took some time, but Olivia eventually learned that it didn’t matter who ate the food; the food would always return. Olivia was more territorial in nature than any other cat I had met, and her constant need for the control of her space was stressing her out. That was probably due to being outside as well.
Petey, our resident boy cat, was always trying to make friends with Olivia. But being territorial in nature, she wasn’t having any other cat in her space.
Sweet Pea, this usually kind and mild-mannered cat, growled at Olivia like nothing I had ever heard from her before! Sweet Pea is only about seven pounds, fully grown.
The growls she made sounded like they were coming from a cat twice her size.
She hated this cat taking up my time and my mum’s time. My mum was and continues to be Sweet Pea’s human, and there is nothing changing that.
But slowly, over the course of 2-ish months, we were able to integrate them together. They don’t fight like they used to, and it’s really rewarding to see. It took a lot of play times, treat times, and rest times in between.
I mean, you won’t find them all snuggling together. But there was one time, they were all on the same love seat together! That was super cute and made me really happy that they were, at the very least, all getting along.
Even though I didn’t accept her as my cat, she had made me her human.
But as I said, she pulled through. They all pulled through. And so she stays.
Over time, Olivia grew on me. Technically, she still isn’t my cat. But she sleeps with me or in my room, follows me around everywhere, and meows at me when she wants a snuggle buddy. Even now, I know if I lift the computer off my lap, she would hop right on it. (She’s lying next to me.)
She doesn’t like being left for more than a few hours at a time by me; when I am gone all day I usually get snubbed for not being home!
But seriously, other than wanting to be played with on occasion, she is very low maintenance. All she really wants is fresh water, some crunchies, and a warm lap to lay on, so that she can drool on me and knead me.
which probably leads you to one last question.
But Gem, you’re probably asking me. Didn’t you say she was feral?
So, to answer your question, it was thought that she was. She would refuse to go in houses and all that good stuff. But chances are, Olivia was just afraid of the dogs. Even when she hears a dog on T.V., she freaks out a little.
But when my mum took her to the vet originally, she didn’t need to get fixed.
Olivia was already fixed.
So that means one of two options happened. One, she was a part of one of those catch and release programs where they catch feral cats and they spay and neuter them.
Or two, which is the more likely, she was someone’s pet at one point. That before my mum’s friends took care of Olivia, there was some other family that cared for her until one day, they didn’t. And they threw her out of the house. My mum’s friends had asked around to see if she was anyone’s cat, but there were no takers. Maybe she had gotten out and wandered too far from home. I don’t know.
And even though she has tasted the outdoors, she wants nothing to do with it. Olivia loves to sun herself, but won’t look out the window. She won’t go by the doors, much less howl to get out.
This cat loves snuggle time more than anything in the world. So no, this cat is not feral. She was someone’s house cat at some point.
And I am not mad at the family that threw Olivia out or whatever happened, though I wish they would have taken better care of her. She has gone on quite the journey to be in the lap of luxury where she is now.
No, the thing I am the most curious of is why. Why would you throw out a cat that only wanted love? What made them not want Olivia anymore? I can’t figure out a reason why.
But it doesn’t matter anymore. What matters is that she is safe, she’s healthy, she’s crazy fluffy, she smells great (literally the best smelling cat ever) (don’t judge), and she doesn’t have to be alone anymore.
Olivia is in her forever home now.
I hope that Olivia’s story is a ray of hope for you today. Whether you have a cat that you no longer want, or you are thinking about adopting, remember Olivia’s story. A little bit of love for animals without it goes a long way.
Do you have rescues at home? Write about them in the comments down below!