I’d planned to write on an entirely different subject this week, but to be honest, I’m having trouble concentrating and I don’t think I could give that column my best effort right now.
I recently lost my furry little boy, Oliver, and I’m still in shock because it happened so suddenly and because he was only 2 years old.
Over the Labor Day holiday, a change in his behavior concerned me to the point I took him to a 24 hour emergency center. Although the doctors there did their best to save him, after three days I had to make the agonizing decision to let him go.
But, I don’t want to dwell on that. I’d rather celebrate the two years of joy he gave me.
I’ve written before how I’ve thought of Oliver and his adopted brother, Beau, as my “Martin and Lewis” cats. Beau is VERY high energy. (Think Jerry Lewis at his wildest.)
Oliver, on the other hand, was my laid-back little lover. All I had to do to get that magnificent purr of his going was to bury my face in his fur.
His sweet disposition was amazing given his rough start in life. Someone apparently dumped him. Luckily, he was found by a nice lady who cared for him for a few months until space opened up at a nearby shelter. That’s where I adopted him and Beau as kittens.
Life on the street had made Oliver so wary that the first couple of weeks he was here he had a hard time allowing himself to go to sleep.
Soon, however, he was claiming my lap for his naps, arranging himself so I cradled him in my arms like a baby. I’ve typed many columns with one hand while Oliver snoozed.
Beau and Oliver were best buds who enjoyed performing their own version of WrestleMania (complete with kicking and ear biting!) on my bed whenever I changed the linens. Sometimes it took me all day to make that bed.
They also taught each other things.
Beau convinced Oliver that the best drinking water in the house came from the bathroom faucet. Oliver took that information to a new level, however. Many a morning, I found him curled up in the bathroom sink, waiting for me to get up and turn the water on.
In return, Beau attempted to learn “Oliverese.” (Oliver was a A Maine coon mix and didn’t meow like most cats. He chirped, trilled and made little squeaks. — or a BIG squeak, if his tail accidentally got stepped on.)
Oliver was no saint, though.
He once deleted a number of important messages from my answering machine and he had a thing about chewing holes in plastic water jugs. (I mopped up several mysterious puddles before I figured that out.)
Since Oliver was here such a short time, I don’t have that many funny stories about him. There is one good one however, that, oddly enough, happened while he was sharing the emergency hospital’s ICU with a Great Dane.
One evening, a technician was leading the Great Dane out for a bathroom break. When they passed Oliver’s cage, Oliver stuck his face right up against the bars, growled and took a swipe at the dog.
As sick as he was, my sweet, normally good-natured, seven-pound little Oliver scared that Great Dane so badly, she shot off like a rocket in the opposite direction. They had to take her out another door to let her do her business.
Apparently, Oliver didn’t care for dogs. Who knew?
I’ll get back to work on that other column now. I just needed some time to pick up the pieces of my shattered heart.

Paula Dunn’s From Time to Thyme column appears each Wednesday in The Times. Contact her at younggardenerfriend@gmail.com