I was looking through the photos on my phone when I ran across this one:

Ollie, enjoying a sunny spring day, out on the deck.

Ollie, enjoying a sunny spring day, out on the deck.


This photo was taken just a couple of weeks before he became very obviously ill. He was greatly enjoying the new deck. He his tail does look narrower toward the base. Ollie had been pulling out his own fur, something he’d never done before. I don’t know if this was related to the metastatic cancer or whether it was coincidental.

Ollie was an indoor cat up until last April. We live near a major street and I was afraid that he would be run over by a car. The rest of my family felt differently. We loved him but he had a lot of anxiety problems, which resulted in his spraying all over our house for years. And no, our house does not smell like cat pee but it has taken a lot of work  to keep it from getting that way. He was also aggressive to visitors though the sweetest cat to us. Ollie had a lot of personality but I know that other families may have taken him on a long drive to the country or euthanized him. I am not a person who always wants to have a pet. I had held off for years before meeting Ollie in Eastern Washington. He was a stray, adorable, and I didn’t want him to be coyote food. My stance is that once we committed to having a pet, we committed all of the way. When someone rather pointedly asked why we didn’t get rid of him, I said, “We don’t kick members of our family out for mental illness.” Little did the person who made the comment know that this policy was also working in his/her favor.

While I was home from TRAM surgery, I must admit that the first time Ollie pooped on our bed, it was less than charming. He did it again only a few days later. I remember letting go of the fear of trying to protect him from everything at all costs. I relented, “Okay, we can let Ollie go outside,” I told my husband. Being an old cat, Ollie stayed pretty close to home. He mostly stayed on the deck or sat on the stair railing on the front of the house.

Miraculously, as my husband had predicted all of these years, Ollie stopped spraying. He acted much less anxious. My husband was right. I was wrong. (I figured that once he got a whiff of all of those other cat smells out there, he would get even more paranoid.)

However, as I described in a recent post, Ollie was killed by a car. And this was only two months after I’d agreed that he could start going outside of the house. So I was right, too.

But when I look at this picture of our beloved pet sunning himself, I can help but think we did the right thing. We didn’t know it at the time, but his body was full of cancer and he would soon stop eating and fall over every time he tried to jump up onto a table, because he no longer had the strength that he had had only a couple of weeks before.

We were both right. Yes, that can actually happen in a marriage.