Writing 101 – Day 6 – A Character Building Experience

He came into my life reluctantly. I’d just lost my cat, Lucky, the one of our five that I was closest to, and I didn’t want another cat. I didn’t want to open up again, not so soon. But when my friend said she was moving and couldn’t take her cat, I felt stuck. How do you say no to a friend; tell her to take her beloved cat to the SPCA? I couldn’t and so I soon found myself stopping by her apartment to pick up out newest cat, Oliver.

I’d never seen him before so when I leaned down to peer into the cat carrier I was surprised to find a brown tabby, much like the cat I’d so recently lost. Oliver had more white on his chest and body and he was a little chuky, but otherwise he was very much like my Lucky. My friend had told me that he was shy, but I didn’t realize that he was hide-for-the-rest-of-the-year shy. That he was terrorized-by-the-world shy.

Oliver came to live with us last June. At first, I kept him in the upstairs bathroom. He spent all his time hiding behind the toilet or inside the cabinet under the sink, sitting with his back to the room as if, if he didn’t look at us, we couldn’t see him. He trembled if touched.

And then my son let him out (accidently) and he disappeared into the dark of the basement for the next 10 months. To be honest, there were times that I thought I would have to take him to the SPCA because I just didn’t have the time needed to overcome his fear. In the end, however, I lured him into the downstairs bathroom and just started petting him. I knew he wouldn’t attack me because he was too scared. I spent time with him every day, petting him, working beyond the terrified look in his eyes.

And then one day, he came out from behind the toilet and showed me his true nature. He is, by far, one of the most loving cats I have ever known. Once he trusted me, I became subject to his love-attacks; rubs and purrs and belly rubs and even, once in a while, a head bump. He now comes to the top of the stairs to eat and will even wander into the kitchen if the ‘Devil’ kitty (one of the girl kitties that wants to be Queen of all the house) isn’t around.

It was hard to imagine loving another cat but Oliver opened up my heart the same way I hope I might have opened his.

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