Olivia was born in 2020—around May 1st they say—and she lived under a house in Torrance, a city in Los Angeles County, California. She was trapped along with two other kittens thought to be her siblings, however they were much larger than she was, so the TNR people thought maybe she was from a different litter and just didn’t want to be left behind. Maybe Olivia was eager to leave her frightening beginnings behind and start a new life. She had her first car ride that day all the way to Santa Barbara to ResQcats where a kind lady named Jeffyne and a few volunteers cared for her. Although she was confined to a large pen now—for her safety, of course—she could snuggle with her brothers if she wanted to and play with fun toys and interact with kind people. She had plenty to eat, was warm, and the fear she had felt living under that house began to subside. She was barely old enough to leave her mother, but she seemed contented to have her siblings or maybe they were her cousins or simply another older litter of kittens who happened to live in the neighborhood too.
I’ve known Jeffyne for a long time and she knew that we’d just lost the light of my life, Lily, and that I was looking for a new companion kitty to love and nurture. She sent me a photo of Olivia and I said, “YES!” As an aside, one of the volunteers named this kitten Olivia after a cat she once knew and loved. We decided to keep the name, although at first we often had a little “Lily” sound in our attempt to say Olivia—O-Lilia, LilyLivia, OlivLilia… I’m happy to report that she IS now Olivia or sometimes just Lyvia.
Life still wasn’t all roses and catnip for Olivia while she was at ResQcats. It was just about time for her spay and for us to bring her home, when they discovered one of her brothers had ringworm. Well, that meant strict treatment for the entire litter, including almost daily baths for two or three weeks. And with this being 2020, we couldn’t even participate in her care or even visit her. Jeffyne did offer to meet us at the bottom of their long driveway with Olivia so we could see her. We declined—not wanting to put extra stress on Jeffyne or on Olivia. We just waited and counted the days and treasured the photos and videos Jeffyne sent of our kitten.
Finally the day came that we could pick Olivia up at the Humane Society where she’d been spayed. That day the world issues with COVID and isolation and all sort of faded into a fog for us as we focused on making Olivia comfortable and fear-free in our home. Olivia was just three months old by then.
Today Olivia is 8 months old. We’ve had her for 5 beautiful yet challenging months and we’ve enjoyed getting to know her and loving her. What a trip. She still makes us laugh every day. She is such a delight and SMART???? Oh my gosh. A neighbor came to the porch a couple of days ago and brought her a bag of Christmas treats—salmon flavored. Olivia peered out the screen door, and when Nora talked to her, Olivia kept glancing toward the front window. She did this several times. She’d hear Nora’s voice and glance at the window. Once, Nora said something to Olivia about, “Your dad.” Then Olivia glanced at Dennis—who we refer to as her dad. “Dad has your treats.” “Dad’s feeding you tonight. Go see, Dad.”
She knows Nora only because she sees her and hears her through the front window—was that why she kept glancing at it when she’d hear Nora speak? Yes, she’s smart and a bit of a smarty-pants. Well, she is a calico.
I’m sure most of you can agree that there were gifts in 2020—you became closer to a family member or friend or neighbor, you learned something valuable about your partner or yourself, or maybe you, too, rescued a precious fur-being. Well, we have been blessed in many ways despite the awfulness of 2020 and Olivia is certainly one of our blessings.