Memories of Opie

I will always remember the first time I saw you. Tracy had known that I wanted an orange kitten, so, when a lady at work told her she had 2 orange kittens Tracy called me to see if I wanted one. Of course I did. She said there were 2 and asked if I wanted her to pick one for me or if I wanted her to bring both of you for me to decide. She thought I might not want you because you sounded a little sickly. You had a little bit of a wheeze when you would breath. I asked her to bring both of you and I would decide which one I wanted. When I saw you there was no way I could just pick one and not the other, so, I told her that I wanted both of you. Tracy took your dark tabby brother and named him Otis. We decided to stick with the Andy Griffith theme too and named you Opie and your brother Barney. Tracy kept you for a couple of days for me because I had to have surgery. A day of so after the surgery she brought you to me. You both were such adorable fun kittens.

When I would be cooking or washing dishes you would take turns climbing up my leg and sitting on my shoulder while I cooked or washed. Sometimes when I would be leaning over drying my hair you would jump up on the sink and climb over on my back. It wasn’t easy drying my hair while trying not to drop a kitty off my back. :)

It was hard to tell the two of you apart at times because you both looked so much alike. We finally realized that Barney had the longer face and you had the rounder fuller face. Also, Barney used to chew your whiskers off, so, that was another way that we could tell which kitten was which.

When you got a little older and we stared letting you go outside you both would give us such laughs chasing the blowing leaves in the yard. You were so funny to watch. I have pictures of you and Barney playing football in the front yard also. That was really a site to see. You were tackling the ball and then you would tackle each other. Thank God for pictures to remember so many of the moments. I know I will always have the memories in my mind but having pictures makes it even better.

I remember the first time that Lucky, our black and white cat, was asleep in a box and you and Barney went over and climbed in the box with him. I thought he would jump out of the box but he let you two little fellows snuggle up to him. It was such a sweet site.

When you and Barney were 11 months old we had you both fixed. Soon after that Barney disappeared. It was so hard not knowing what happened to him. We walked all over the woods looking for any sign of him and looking in trees to see if he was stuck in one. We never did find anything. We left the porch light on and called him every night for about a year hoping that one day he would show up. It never happened. I was worried that you would mourn his loss because you both were so close but you did well since there were other cats around still and we paid you extra attention. I was so glad that I had chosen to get both of you when you were kittens because that meant we still had you left.

I loved the way you would drape around my neck like a fur collar. You trusted me not to drop you and would hang there while I walk around the house doing whatever it was I needed to do.

After several years we found another orange male cat that was being given away and after seeing pictures of him I had to have him. It took him a while for him to warm up to the other cats, but once he did you all came to love each other. We named him Ernest T. because we wanted to still stick with the Andy Griffith theme. It seemed so right to see you and Ernest sitting side by side, sleeping by each other or bathing each other. It made me smile every time I saw that. It was funny to watch Boo bathe you and you bathe Boo and then you both would get mad at each other because you both wanted to be the one doing the bathing.

I also loved the way you smelled when you came in from being outside. On a sunny day you smelled so good, just like sunshine.

You could be so hard headed at times. Like when you wanted to stay out hunting and we were ready for you to come in so we could go to sleep. I would drive up and down the driveway honking the horn to wake you up if you were in the barn or the woods sleeping. There was no way I could go to sleep with you outside, not after the way Barney disappeared. You were also hard headed when we would be eating supper. You would want to jump up on the table and see what we had to eat. If you were not interested in what we had you would leave. If we had something like chicken, which you loved, we could not get rid of you. I finally had to start giving you a little chicken or whatever you wanted and shut you in the bathroom with it so that we could eat in peace. If you could just get better I would let you jump in the middle of my plate and not even get mad at you.

A few weeks ago I noticed that you had lost weight so I took you to the vet. You had lost down from 10 pounds to 7 1/2 pounds. They ran tests for fiv, heartworms, leukemia and diabetes. I was so relieved when the tests came back negative. The vet said to give you vitamins and an antibiotic and bring you back in about a week to be weighed again. In about a week you started having trouble walking. Your back legs would sometimes go out from under you when you were walking. I took you back to the vet for some more tests. The bad news was that you were anemic and in kidney failure. I was shocked and heartbroken. I could not stop crying. I think I cried for over 2 hours straight. The vet flushed your kidneys but still your levels were too high. One of the levels was about 4 times what it should be. The vet said that Danny and I needed to make a decision on what we wanted to do. I think he thought we should have you put to sleep. We went back to see you and got you out of the cage. You could still eat, drink, go to the bathroom and walk even though you were so sick. You tightly grabbed hold of Danny when he held you up on his shoulder as if to say don’t leave me here. When you did the same thing to me I knew there was no way we could have you put to sleep yet. You are now home with us and resting comfortably in my lap, sleeping on a pillow. You are not purring like you used to always do and I know that you are getting weaker. Today you drank some water but were not really interested in eating. I know that it is only a matter of time until you cross that Rainbow Bridge and I hope that I can be here with you when it happens. I keep hoping for a miracle but I don’t think it is meant to be. My heart is breaking and the tears are once again flowing. You have been my baby for 6 years and I don’t know how to let you go.

I know Barney will be waiting on you and you two will once again be chasing blowing leaves and playing football. :)

I have held you and told you that I don’t want you to go but that it is okay for you to do what you have to. I certainly am going to miss my gorgeous little golden boy.

June 22, 2011 – my sweet little boy passed away between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. this evening. I am going to miss his sweet face so much.

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  • KatMagic Photography
    KatMagic Photo...about 3 years ago

    Oh, Debbie.. this is so clearly written right from your heart and any cat lover will be in tears after reading this…. I wish I had some words .. I am just hopeful for you and your family that Opie will have some sort of reprieve….. I know it’s difficult for you on many levels; particularly, not knowing how or why this happened to such a young cat. The best thing you can do for Opie is not to allow him to suffer and make him feel as much of your love as possible right now… I do know what you are going through … I just am thinking of you and your family – both human and feline. Pats to Opie and strength to you…

  • It was so hard Wednesday when we had to make to decision as to whether to bring him home or have him put to sleep. I believe we made the right decision. He is resting peacefully and not in pain. After the rain yesterday cooled things off a lot we took him out twice and let him walk around and sit in the yard. He always loved the outside.

    – DebbieCHayes

  • BCallahan
    BCallahanabout 3 years ago

    oh my Debbie… i can’t write right now, my eyes are filled with tears. Love you, my dear friend…. and i’m with you in spirit…. it’s so hard to say good bye to Opie, i know… we had to have our precious Gretchen put to sleep when she was 14 years old. this brings back all those memories…
    i’m there with you….

  • I couldn’t half see for crying as I typed it but it helped and was something I felt I had to do. I appreaciate all of your thoughts and comments. I am still so thankful that Mike “introduced” us.

    – DebbieCHayes

  • Christina Backus
    Christina Backusabout 3 years ago

    I have just read this and I do so feel for you. My cat Orlando, a Burmese, was probably more loved by me that anyone or anything else in my life. We shared such a special bond and he too finally succumbed to kidney disease. I was able to hold him in my arms when he was gently put to sleep by my vet who is a friend and came to me to do that dreadful deed. Opie didn’t want you to suffer any more by watching him leave you so in a way perhaps that was his final gift to you. I’m glad you have so many beautiful images and memories of him – they will always be with you. x

  • KathleenRinker
    KathleenRinkerabout 3 years ago

    Wow I am so sorry for your loss…I have a kitty with kidney disease, he is holding his own right now but I know that someday that won’t be the case…he will be 13 in August. What a beautiful tribute to him.

  • It was such a shock to lose him to something like this at such a young age. I have 2 cats that are 13 and I would have expected it in them instead (not that I wanted it to be them either). I hope that your cat will hold on and be here for many more years.

    – DebbieCHayes

  • Sheri Bawtinheimer
    Sheri Bawtinhe...about 3 years ago

    Featured June 24, 2011

    Thank you for sharing with us!!

  • Thank you, Sheri. :)

    – DebbieCHayes

  • lcretyi
    lcretyiabout 3 years ago

    Debbie I have loved this poem forever and I believe every kittens name is love

    The Little Cat Angel

    The ghost of a little white kitten
    Crying mournfully, early and late,
    Distracted St. Peter, the watchman,
    As he guarded the heavenly gate,
    “Say, what do you mean,” said his saintship,
    “Coming here and behaving like that?”

    “I want to see Nellie, my missus,”
    Sobbed teh wee little ghost of a cat,
    “I know she’s not happy without me,
    Won’t you open and let me go in?”

    “Begone,” gasped the horrified watchman,
    “Why the very idea is a sin,
    “I open the gate to good angels,
    “Not to stray little beggars like you.”

    “All right,” mewed the little white kitten,
    “Though a cat I’m a good angel, too.”
    Amazed at so bold an assertion,
    But aware that he must make no mistake,
    In silence, St. Peter long pondered,
    for his name and repute were at stake.

    Then placing the cat in his bosom,
    With a, “Whist now, and say all your prayers,”
    He opened the heavenly portals,
    And ascended the bright golden stairs.

    A little girl angel came flying,
    “That’s my kitty, St. Peter,” she cried.
    And seeing the joy of their meeting,
    Peter let the cat angel abide.

    This tale is the tale of a kitten
    Dwelling now with the blessed above,
    It vanquished grim Death and High Heaven
    For the name of the kitten was Love.

  • I have never heard it. Thank you for sharing it with me.

    – DebbieCHayes

  • marilyn diaz
    marilyn diazabout 3 years ago

    Got me crying. Beautifully written.

  • Thank you, Marilyn. I was crying like crazy as I was trying to write it. I think in the long run it helped me to write out my feelings. My husband still has not been able to bring himself to read it.

    – DebbieCHayes

  • KathleenRinker
    KathleenRinkerabout 3 years ago

    Laura awesome poem!! Debbie thank you so much….

  • Sally Omar
    Sally Omarabout 3 years ago

    Debbie, I am so sorry for your loss….what a beautiful tribute to your little boy!!! Need some klennex….

    Love, Sally xo

  • Thank you, Sally. I went through a LOT of Kleenex during the week and a half after we found out that he was in kidney failure. I lost out on a lot of sleep too because I wanted to spend every minute with Opie that I could

    – DebbieCHayes

  • ambermay
    ambermayabout 3 years ago

    This is a wonderful tribute in memory of your precious little Opie Debbie.
    I only could but cry reading it.
    Even though we all know that our loved ones don’t really die, but still – we, who are left behind for some while – we miss them terribly until such time when we meet again. I so often wish that a lifespan of our dear animal companions would be the same is that for us, humans, and their health would not suffer, and we would never have to part for long…

  • Thank you. I know that he is much better off now and is with his twin brother again. Today I feel better about things but I will always miss him.

    – DebbieCHayes

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