Monday, March 18, 2013

Oberon

Oberon, aka Hunny Bunny, HLA, Evil O
June (?) 1996 - March 16, 2013
Photo taken some years ago.

Our evil cat Oberon died Saturday morning at the vet's, after some months of slow decline and a more precipitous recent decline. He was a horrible cat in many ways, but he was our horrible cat and we miss him terribly.

I found him one day in 1996 on my way home from jujitsu class. A tiny ball of fluff came running across the street and up to some people who were talking with each other. They kicked him aside. I picked him up, and, assuming he lived on that street, found what looked like a safe place to leave him, behind a small apartment complex and off the street. I got home a few minutes later, and when I told Donna about him, she started to cry. So I retrieved the kitten and brought him home. We put up signs around the neighborhood; no one claimed a missing black kitten, and so he stayed.

Introducing him to the household was certainly interesting. Our senior cat Mina was phlegmatic about him - "oh, it's a kitten.' Our junior cat, Nero, who was maybe 2 or so years old, quickly fell in love with Oberon. The two of them played constantly and were adorable together, tiny kitten and sleek adult.

Oberon was an annoying kitten, the kind who climbed up your pants leg and got into everything. He grew up to be an extraordinarily beautiful cat with thick fur like a mink and a purr you could hear across the room.

And he was, as I said, horrible. He bullied poor Nero when Nero went into a decline made inevitable by having both FIV and FLV. (Nero was my Best Cat Ever, a cat with a great personality with whom I had a particularly loving relationship.) He bullied Cricket, who joined the household ten years ago. (Cricket obviously wanted to be friends, sigh. More photos of both cats here.) He was almost completely unaffectionate with humans for his first 7 or 8 years, a period during which he would snuggle up to us only in bed and only for a few minutes. He would sprawl on his back, inviting you to rub his stomach, and when you rubbed his stomach, he would attack your hand. He would bite unpredictably if you petted him the wrong way on the wrong day. And he peed in all the wrong places way too often.

As a young cat, he was a great mouser and an absolutely fearless climber. Not only did he go up trees, he made it onto some neighborhood roofs. While this was alarming at first, he never got stuck up there and never got hurt coming down. When we brought the late great Molly B. home in 1999, he was initially absolutely terrified and wouldn't go near her. (Mina was completely phlegmatic about dogs, while Nero hated Molly and chased her around, getting her completely under his tiny thumbs.) But over time, Obi and Molly became great friends. They played together sometimes the way a small dog and large dog do, and Oberon eventually learned that if he rubbed up against her enough, she would groom him. They would lay about the floor and were adorable together.

For that matter, before Nero got sick, the two cats were surprisingly companionable. One night, neither of them came in, and by morning they still hadn't shown up at the back door, alarming us tremendously. I went around the block calling for them with no success. Donna and I were out on the back porch when I looked up and, two houses away, saw a little black face peering out of a neighbor's garage window. Both the cats had gotten locked in overnight, so obviously they had been a marauding band of black cats. The garage was locked and the family was at church, so we left them a note and had the cats back in a hour or so. They did not rush into our arms with gratitude, but we were sure glad they were safe.

As he aged, Oberon got more interested in people and spent more waking time hanging around with us. He gained quite a bit of weight, up to 18 pounds, and I no longer ran into him around the block when I walked the dog. When Lila the Werewolf came home, he was enormously helpful in training her in how to live with cats, because years of living with Molly B. had taught him how to live with a dog. He could be put in a crate near her kennel, he could be wandering around while she was in her crate or exercise pen, and not get scared or panicky by her presence. He made friends with her, though not to the extent he had been friendly with Molly. (She never got the point about grooming him when he rubbed up against her.)

He was a horrible cat, but we miss him tremendously. Good-bye, Obi; we loved you a lot.

13 comments:

Patrick J. Vaz said...

His horribleness makes this story all the more touching. Rest in peace, Oberon.

D. said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

John Marcher said...

A nice tribute, Lisa. I know how you feel- when this guy in the picture goes, many won't mourn his passing, but I certainly will.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Thanks, all; I appreciate your kind thoughts.

Holly Mulcahy said...

Horrible cats are the best pets! I so glad you welcomed him in to your lives so long ago!

Lisa Hirsch said...

Hi, Holly, and thank you!

crow said...

He was lucky to have found you, who appreciated his horribleness! I'm sorry for your loss.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Ha! Yes, he was: lots of people would have gotten rid of him, one way or the other, over the peeing in corners.

jnfr said...

He was lucky to have you, and I'm sorry for your loss.

lmc said...

I'm so sorry - best to you all. lmc

lmc said...

I'm so sorry. Best to you all. lmc

Vajra said...

Lisa, I'm really sorry for your loss and sorry that I didn't pick up on it this evening We have always had cats and we still talk of the ones that have gone with affection or amazement. Thank you for taking in a wanderer.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Aw, thank you. I've taken in a few over the years - three cats and a dog who neighbors of friends found in a laundromat on Shattuck Avenue one night.