Saturday, December 17, 2005

Oscar Part 1: The Things that Matter

As soon as I enter the house, Oscar needs food. We’re pretty much getting the pattern down to just needing food when I walk in the back door sometime in the afternoon vs. needing food when I walk in the back door on a weekend morning, or needing food when I get home after a night out. So, we’ve made progress in disassociating needing food and the back door. Ideally, he needs food when I get home after work in the afternoon, but time doesn't seem to matter. If the sun is high in the sky and I have anything to do with the back door, the topic is fair game. It really throws him off in the summer when I’m in and out of the back door regularly throughout the day, or during winter break when I'm inside for a good part of a day and therefore not using the back door. In both cases, he covers all the bases and needs food beginning around 1:30.

I read a story once about a kitty who was inadvertently left without food for a couple days while his owner was gone -- she thought she’d filled his bowl but hadn’t. When she returned home, the cat was quite hungry but before going to the newly-filled bowl he went to her first for a good noogie...signifying that his affection for her was greater than his physical needs. Sweet. Oscar is likewise sweet, but let's keep things straight here. This is a cat who, as a kitty, was tossed from a car and left to fend for takes on a certain significance: eat however much you can whenever it's available.

I found Oscar as a stray when he was about 7 months old, a product of the mean streets of Lake Poinsett, SD, and quite used to fending for the years since he’s rid the backyard of bunnies, mice, a wayward bird and a big-@ss bumblebee (all caught and digested except for the bee). Pretty amazing considering he’s functionally blind. He sees movement, but his constantly-dilated pupils betray him when there's a sofa pillow on the living room floor or a dining room chair out-of-place.

In spite of his tendency to be a full-fledged, sweet lap-cat, I figured my main role in his life was that of life-sized food dispenser, until this past summer when I had a family of three active children visiting for three days. In the midst of small hands grabbing for him, he would turn his bewildered-looking face my way when hearing my voice and slowly make his way to safety: me.

I matter.

- The aawww Bag


Ptelea said...

This is such a sweet face on Oscar, especially compared to his Feed Me face. I can totally relate to this story - thanks! Hope you don't mind - I posted a story about my cat and linked to this.

George said...

Hey, We got a cat! I'm sure I'll have some pics up on my blog soon.

the old bag said...

Ptelea -- he's truly a gentle sweetie!

George -- can't wait to see pics!