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He wasn’t the most sociable. He had one person he trusted, and I was lucky enough to be that one.
O.E.—short for orange eye—was a true companion and friend for five-and-a-half years. His life was cut short this week. I woke up on Monday morning prepared to get him to the vet as soon as it opened, but it was too late.
O.E. had a tender spirit. He hid every time someone came to my house. He hid when the vacuum cleaner ran. He hid if I made a loud noise. He even hid from me just because he wanted to at times.
His go-to spot was always under my bed. He felt safe there.
He didn’t handle change well.
One time while living in Aiken, S.C., I had moved everything out of the house except him. I figured my chances of catching him were good when he ran into a bathroom and I locked us in together.
But he had other plans. He hid behind the toilet and was prepared to never budge. It took nearly an hour to get him out enough to scoop him up and put him in the car where he cried for the next five minutes as we drove across town.
And then there was the move to Ocean Isle Beach from Aiken. He rode the entire four-hour drive underneath my seat. The ride was pretty calm, but trying to get him out from under the seat wasn’t much fun. Just when I thought I was going to have to remove the bench seat in the cab of my truck, I was able to get a hold of him.
He was impossible to get in a cat carrier. O.E. did things the way he wanted and being in a confined space wasn’t an option.
I’ve even had to reschedule his vet visits because he’d see the cat carrier and bolt like lightning away.
But at night when I’d crawl in bed, O.E. would come out to snuggle. He’d push his way until he was wrapped up in my arms and then he’d purr and purr and purr.
You couldn’t move fast around him or he’d run. You had to touch him softly or he’d shy away. He was tender-spirited.
As he grew from a small little kitten that could fit into a coffee mug, he grew accustomed to me, but I had to play by his rules or he’d hide.
When he was just a few weeks old, he and an entire litter of kittens were abandoned by their mother in my then-bosses’ backyard in Carolina Beach. He came to stay with me temporarily while I found homes for him and his brothers and sisters. But as luck would have it, he took to my other cat at the time.
He’d jump out of his box and follow my cat Little all over the house. I always joked that Little picked him and thus O.E. came to be mine.
I promptly named him Princess Orange Eye because I thought he was a girl and he had orange eyes. After taking him to the vet to be fixed, I was surprised to learn I was picking up a boy cat. I dropped the princess from his name and put away the pink ribbon I often put around his neck.
Sometime later as he neared his first birthday his eyes turned yellow and so his name became even shorter, I just called him O.E. and it stuck. I often called him O.E.—my sweet, sweet boy.
He was my little friend.
He got sick earlier this year, and I thought I was going to lose him then. But he had a surgery, and he seemed to make a recovery.
He was never quite the same after his surgery, but I never thought he wouldn’t make it another four or five years.
He got sick over the weekend, and early Monday morning he took his last breath.
I am heartbroken.
He had become so much more than just a cat to me. He was my little friend.
On Sunday night as I sat on the couch and held him close to me, I could hear his labored breaths and feared the decision I might have to make on Monday.
And just like O.E. always did, he did things his way. When I woke up Monday, he was gone. I am left with only fond memories of my four-legged friend who’d become a part of my family.