Friday, February 27, 2015

Ollie's Ordeal -- and His Lesson in Resilience

Since the moment he first tugged my heartstrings at last October's Catoberfest event in California, little Ollie has been a very special kitten - the disabled kitten we couldn't leave behind, the little black cat with a cruel beginning: someone chopped off most of his right rear leg and threw him in a trashcan soon after birth. His history was sad, but his spirit undaunted as he dashed around his cage at Catoberfest, playful and filled with joy.

Bob and I drove from Arizona the next week to pick him up in Los Angeles and make him part of our family.

Ollie soon after his arrival 

His limitations -- a large hernia and a missing
lower right rear leg -- didn't slow him down

But we knew that he would have to have two -- maybe three surgeries -- at the beginning of the New Year, once he was strong enough and weighed five pounds. By mid-January, the need was urgent: his hernia was becoming ever larger.  

On January 20, he had two surgical procedures: he was neutered and had hernia repair surgery. He was home the same day and seemed less distressed by the surgeries than he was with the Elizabethan collar aka "The Cone of Shame."

                                            Ollie's hernia repair surgery....


                                              ..... wearing his "Cone of Shame"

Although we had been told when we adopted him and also by our vet that the stump of his right hind leg might have to be amputated someday, we hoped that wouldn't be necessary.  We hated the idea of him having to endure more pain. We hoped against hope that he would be fine without it.

But two weeks into his recovery from his surgeries, sudden problems arose with the remnant of his leg: it kept dislocating at the hip, prompting howls of pain, multiple times a day. He would hobble over to me with pleading eyes. I would pick him up and massage the joint back into place as he trembled in my arms. We took him back to the vet. She shook her head. "This needs to come off," she said.

On February 9, he went back for surgery. "Is this the amputation?" a technician asked as Bob and I soothed Ollie in the waiting room. I couldn't help but wince. "This is Oliver," I said. "And, yes, he is amputation..."

He was in the hospital overnight and then Bob picked him up. He had a rough first day at home, woozy on painkilling drugs and with a wound that took one's breath away.


But by the second day, he was up and about, happy to be home, to enjoy his normal pursuits...

                                          Questioning authority: "This thing again???"

                                      Tearing up newspapers with his buddy Hammie

                                       Wrestling with Hammie (who was very gentle)

                                     Waiting for me to come in from my writing casita


                                        Re-discovering his favorite toy: the laser


                                      And the thrill of the chase....

                                     And, of course, hugs, lots of hugs!

Through it all, full of stitches both external and internal, he was a bundle of energy, a delightful feline companion, an inspiration.

Although he must have been in pain, he never complained. He simply lived as he always has: with enthusiasm and joy, doing what he loved most, relishing each day.

It was all a lesson in resilience -- to live life to the fullest, to play through the pain, to go on as if the limitations didn't exist.

And there is no limit to the joy this brave and spirited little kitten is bringing to our home!



  1. Oh, what a wonderful and sweet boy. I hope he is healed quickly and living the life he so deserves.

  2. Oh Kathy, you are the very best. He could not have found a better home. I will never understand people who think what they did to him was all right. Sick, sick, sick. Live long and prosper Ollie.

  3. What a wonderful story... So glad that you all were willing to take Ollie into your home. What a lucky kitty he is... Sorry for his pain ---but the love will make him forget all of that pain... Dang--I just want to 'hurt' someone who hurts a helpless animal/or person... Gads.....Makes me cry.

    Hope you are staying nice and warm in Arizona. We are FINALLY thawing out some from all of our storms. They said on TV that the temperatures here did not get above freezing since Feb. 14.... Then the 5 storms hit.. It will take awhile to get all of this junk thawed out --and then the yard clean-up begins in our yard. HUGE JOB.

  4. I love a story with a happy ending!

  5. Kathy, there is so much richness in this post. My eyes are watery and my heart full as I read Oliver's story. He's a tough one -- but oh, so full of love that he deserves every bit of love he gets in return. You and Bob also deserve kudos. Not everyone would take on a cat requiring so much expensive care. There are never guarantees. You two rock. In my book, you are stars!

  6. Dear Kathy, this story of the love affair between you and Oliver and Oliver and life brings tears to my eyes. How blessed you both are to have one another. Peace.

  7. Oh I forgot to mention I love the pic of you and Ollie hugging. So precious.
    I will see if I can put Purr Therapy on my side bar.

  8. Oh gosh. What a hard beginning for the poor little guy. Glad he has a good home now with people who love him.

  9. Ollie has such a good home with you. Now I have a huge lump in my throat ...

  10. Just a touching and inspiring story, Kathy. It's amazing that the loss of one leg doesn't seem to impede his rushing around like a mad thing, :-)