O-T-Y is what I call Otis to his face. Cats seem to like names that have a sound, so all the cats have a name that has evolved into a sound. Otis is O-T-Y spoken as letters but with an emphasis on the O. Sorry, I can’t explain it much better than that, but if you say it over and over as I described it, you’ll get it. I know I could not possibly explain the sound of Diego’s name to you.
So, back to O-T-Y… I am watching him like a hawk since he and I lost his girlfriend Layla Friday morning. In February 2008, Otis and Layla were both diagnosed with Feline Leukemia. It was a Friday afternoon. I remember because Otis was looking really bad — runny nose and eyes, lethargic, skinny, not eating — and I wondered if by Sunday afternoon I would be regretting my decision to not take the vet’s advice to put them both to sleep. Otis looked terrible. Add to that the serious injury he had to one of his rear feet. It looked like it had been caught in a trap. The vet went on about how badly that would affect his health as well, telling me the complications of his injury were probably already affecting him. But Layla sat there on the exam table staring at me with her gorgeous, big, green trusting eyes. We had already been through so much together in the two months since we met.
What am I supposed to tell her? “Sorry, it’s just not convenient for you to live in this world anymore.” I needed to get home with them and start combing the internet for the answer that I wanted to find; the one that started with “yes, cats can live a fairly normal life with FeLK.”
And I did find just that. Actually, I found several sites that lent me the support I needed to continue on my path with Otis and Layla in my family. We started on a regiment of herbs and vitamins to build up their immune systems and I started building them a new home.
I knew I was on the right path because the cattery feel into place like magic. For every problem that arose, a simply solution quickly followed. It was magic. Once built, I even got a thumbs up on the cattery from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah.
Whenever I pondered it, I always imagined that I would lose Otis before I lost Layla. She has never been sick a day in her life that I know of. She was such a smart girl. The kitchen lines up perfectly with the dining room window, so at meal time she would watch me when I was in the kitchen. Checking on the progress of her food, I imagine. Otis never quite “got it” about seeing me in the house, even when I tap on the window.
I imagined I would adopt a FeLK kitten or even another adult cat for her to have as a companion. She’s so easy to get along with; so kind, so gentle, so loving.
However, Layla is gone and Otis is alone. I’m not sure how he is going to adjust. I worry about his loneliness. I think I am driving him crazy because I am constantly bothering him right now as I look for any sign at all that he is depressed.
So I had a brainfart (these are GOOD things to my way of thinking despite someone telling me they thought I was wrong). I have been thinking of removing the fireplace for a few years. There have been a few ideas about what I would do at the same time. The most common was to build a small enclosed porch/room for ME. Like a small office space but with lots of windows so I had the feeling of being outside.
However, what if I built a small cat room that connects to the cattery via a tunnel of sorts so Otis could come into the house with us whenever he wants, yet remain separate because of his FeLK? Have you ever seen those cages they build for cats that have several levels. Perhaps something like that.
Perhaps three stories (cat stories, not people stories). Maybe he enters on the middle floor. There could be a litter box on the first floor, the entrance/exit and sitting area on the second floor and a perch/bedroom on the third floor. Perhaps some kind of a plexiglass wall on the inside wall with holes drilled downward so he can’t spray OUT of his area. Otis loves to write his name on EVERYTHING.
Otis is a tough old grump, a rogue kind of guy. I’m not sure how well he will take to another cat. So that’s where this idea is coming from.
Maybe it needs more thought…