On Monday, 8th July a light went out in my life and my world plunged into a dark chasm of grief.
Ollie went out in the early morning and came off worst in a meeting with a car. Neighbours alerted me at 7.30 in the morning and clutching a towel and praying that it wasn’t him, I went over to where a ginger cat lay on the pavement. A kind neighbour had removed him from the road to save him from further injury.
Wrapping him in the towel I carried him the short distance across the road to our home, the home that would never be the same again, and laid him on the sofa. Fetching a bowl of warm water and some cotton wool balls, I bathed his face removing all the blood from his eyes, cheeks, nose and mouth, my heart crying out as I did so.
Nothing prepares you for death. Even when an animal is sick and you know the kindest gift of love that you can give your pet is to end its suffering, sudden death by a road accident leaves you reeling in shock, denial, anger, and a million and one other emotions as your head tries to make sense of what your eyes are telling you.
My little Ollie, almost 11 years of age, had his life cut short when he had so much more to give and it seemed so terribly unfair. Dumped at a local pet shop when he was only 4 ½ months old he rose to fame not only in our street for his daring exploits (clambering along the roofs being one of them) but world wide as the Internet gave him a platform for his diaries, alerting kittens, cats and unwary owners to the adventures one little guy could get up to in one day.
We had been in collaboration in recent months as we updated his diaries with the hopeful view of getting them published, either by the usual route or on Kindle or Nook. We were both looking forward to a wider audience reading about Ollie’s early months living at the Lazypaws Guest House for Discerning Felines and the sterling work he selflessly carried out for the Daily Mews Website.
A few months before he died he brought Casey to our home. He would sit at the cat flap and stare outside to where Casey was hunched under one of the patio chairs on the decking. Once he was satisfied that I was preparing something for Casey to eat, he would then go upstairs to rest on the ottoman in my office, knowing that Casey would get a cuddle and some good food to ease his hunger pangs. Ollie and Casey became firm friends and were often seen together lying on the deck outside or touching noses in a feline kiss once Casey braved his nerves and ventured through the cat flap.
It is said that cats (and dogs) come to live with their human families in order to teach them something, or to complete a task they have been assigned by the Great Cat in the Sky. Ollie did that and more; he was, without doubt, one of those special cats that comes along once in a lifetime. I’ve been blessed because nearly all my cats have fitted that bill with one or two notable exceptions, when standing high above the others, their feline grace, affection, love and devotion to me, particularly when I’ve been sick, outshone every feeble human expectation.
Ollie’s legacy will live on through his diaries. He will bring joy and laughter to a new generation of cat lovers and his beautiful little face will continue to radiate love and mischief from the sunbeam where he now rests.
Like James Dean, Ollie lived too fast, and died too young.
Sweet dreams my precious Ollie, Sam, Casey, Mummy and Daddy Lawrence miss you more than words can say.
Thanks to my brother, Tony Hedger, for taking these fabulous pictures of Ollie
Tributes to Ollie here: