In Memory of Ollie @kdkoppang

Kathleen Delaney, author of Murder Half-Baked and other books, retired from real estate to pursue writing full time. She’s here today to reminisce about a well-loved furry friend, Ollie the cat..

Purebred Dead, the first in the new Mary McGill series, was released in August 2015 and Curtains for Miss Plym was released in April 2016. Blood Red, White and Blue was released in July 2017 and was a finalist for best canine book of the year in the Dog Writers of America annual writing contest. Kathleen’s newest book in the series, Dressed to Kill, was released in the UK on August 1, 2019 and in the US on November 1, 2019.

Yesterday, Ollie, a domestic short haired cat of 19 years, left us to cross over the Rainbow Bridge. I hadn’t planned to write about her today, I had planned to write about a Little Free Library I am trying to establish in my community, but I seem to be filled with memories and decided I’d feel better if I shared them.

Ollie was a mature cat when she came to live in our family. She was my grandchildren’s first cat and she took to apartment life immediately. Due to circumstances certainly beyond her control, she had been living outside and getting the stuffing beat out of her by a group of feral cats. I was living in South Carolina and the children were little and spent a lot of time with me, much of it on my wrap around front porch. One day the cat joined them and was there every day after, as long as they visited. They became attached to her and she finally joined them in Georgia. When two kittens also joined their family, Ollie moved in with me. Ollie was a cat who had definite ideas about how life should be structured and sharing it with kittens didn’t fit her agenda. It didn’t take her long to explain to my two little dogs, and me,  how a cat should be treated; with great respect and no thought of being chased, where her bed would be, on the bottom shelf of one of the bookcases, and where her litter box and food dishes would be located. She loved the back yard, it has a high fence and no other cats, and the dog door let her come and go as she pleased.  Ollie was a natural born dictator, but a benevolent one. She spent a lot of time in my lap, sometimes sleeping, sometimes seemingly proofreading what I had just written. She loved company, both new people and her family, all of whom she greeted with loud purrs and offers to grace them with her presence in their laps.

But her time had finally come. Her organs were shutting down and she had quit eating. All the blood work said there was no chance of recovery.  There was no choice. So, with great sadness, we buried her in my- her- back yard, under the statue of St Francis, whose lap supplies the birds with water and his head their perch. I think she will like it there.

I have had animals in every book I have written. Some have taken over the story, some have played a more minor role, but they are always there. Probably because I cannot remember a time when I have not had a canine or feline friend living with me, along with a whole lot of other kinds of animals, brought into my life by my 5 children.

Ollie is not the first 4 legged friend I have had to bury, and I dare say she won’t be the last, either. But it never gets any easier, to make the decision or to deal with the hole they leave in your lives when they are gone. But I cherish the memory of the years she lived with us and am so glad for them. RIP, my friend.