Olive looking like her regal self.
I got Olive my sophomore year of college. My mother was less than thrilled. "What will you do with her at Thanksgiving?" she asked. I hadn't exactly thought that far ahead. But having a kitten around was so much fun! I'd figure it out eventually. Olive was a 6 week old nugget of spunk. She didn't exactly start out the best cat in the world, she in fact was a bit of a weirdo. But I think that being exposed to a plethora of college kids, having to hang out with my roommate (who had never owned a cat before and would hold Olive like a blind person might hold an epileptic goose), being around a few parties, and having to wear a cone at a young and impressionable age.
It may sound horrible but when I really fell in LOVE with Olive was the second year I had her. My roommate and I had moved to a sweet little house in the neighborhood where all the college kids lived. This was the first time she was allowed out of the house to explore and she certainly got into some trouble. She would get "stuck" up trees all the time. She started killing small animals (baby birds are her favorite). And her new favorite trick was rolling in dirt and leaves and then sleeping on the bath mat. Nothing like stepping out of the shower and onto the forest floor.
My first memory of Olive's awesomeness was one night when I was trying to sleep. Like a typical cat with no regard for my comfort of need to breathe, she kept laying right in front of my face and suffocating me with her fur. Not to mention the deep purring sound that rattled in my ears and made it impossible to sleep. Because I have the patience of an angered elephant, I picked her up and gently tossed her at the foot of the bed. She's a cat for heavens sake, she didn't need to get whatever she wanted. Apparently she disagreed because she instantly walked back up the bed and lay down next to my face. This went back and forth a few times until she finally lay down next to me, stuck her paw out, and gently put it on my cheek. It was as if she was saying, "Listen, I just want to snuggle." And my heart melted a little bit.
One the other side, Olive could be quite the badass. I emerged from classes one day and as I walked home from campus I listened to a string of messages all from some strange girl. Apparently Olive had been stuck in the tree outside their house and cried all night long. In the morning they "rescued" her and brought her into their house. They then called me but since I was in class I didn't get back to them soon enough. Because this girl and her roommates were obviously unintelligent they then called and informed me that they would be taking her to the pound and I could pick her up from there. At this point in listening I began to cuss and ramble because it would cost me money to get her and they hadn't even waited three hours to hear back from me. But then came the final message and I couldn't help but give Olive a mental high five. It went something like this:
"Hi, so as we were getting in the car with your cat she freaked out and scratched my friend in the face, jumped out of her arms, and ran away. So we don't know where she is. Sorry."
Just as I finished listening to this hilarious account of Olive's courage I came up to my house and what did I see? Olive sitting in front of the door looking at me as if nothing at all excited had happened. "Good kitty," I told her.
From then on I constantly got calls of people who had "found" Olive. From most of their accounts she had wandered into their house and they didn't know if she was an outdoor cat or not because she was so friendly. They would then hold her hostage and call me to which I would ask, "where do you live?" It was usually only a block or so away and to this I would reply, "just let her out, she'll come home." I eventually got her a new tag that claimed her as an "Outdoor Kitty" because it was becoming a problem.
Olive still went into random people's houses. She had more friends that I did. You see, Olive would often follow me around. She would walk to school with me until about two blocks away from campus. Then she would stop and watch me walk away and I would find her back at the house by the time I got out of class. One time I went to a bar only a few blocks away from my house when I received a call from an unknown number. Out of curiosity I picked it up and it turned out to be the local police. They had found my cat in the bar parking lot. I went outside to find Olive terrified in the back of a cop car. I laughed and peeled her from the seat.
Perhaps the most notable act of loyalty that Olive ever showed was on a night when I was working. I used to work at a late night cookie delivery place and would start my shift at 7:00 pm and end it at around 2:00 am. I walked to work from my house and decided midway through my shift that I would just walk from work to my boyfriend's house when I was done. I would often leave a window open in my house so that Olive could come and go as she pleased. After finishing my shift I walked to Grant's house and like college kids we stayed up until about 4 in the morning eating delivery and watching tv. But about thirty minutes after I arrived at Grant's house we heard a faint scratching at the door and a soft mew. And who could it be but Olive? How she knew I was there is still a mystery but she let herself in, tail in the air, nonchalant as if she hadn't just done something totally awesome. Besides, she always loved Grant.
Olive is a bit older now, seven, and since I don't live in a college neighborhood anymore she rarely has an open door to walk into. Yet she still manages to be the world's greatest cat. She lets me hold her any which way I please (for which I thank my college roommate because that's exactly what she did and Olive had to learn to live with it). She is cool as a cucumber when I cut her nails. She pulls my hand out from under the blankets with her paw in the morning if she wants me to pet her. She gets out of the kitchen when I say, "Olive, out of the kitchen!" She looks both ways before crossing the street. And she lets our dog assault her face with her tongue with just a look of disgust in her eyes.
Cats are awesome. Well not all cats are awesome. Some are actually kind of assholes. But cool cats just make all the rest of those felines look like jokers. And Olive is as cool as they come. May all of us be blessed with Olive's for the rest of our lives.