Sunday, May 16, 2010

Othello: 1996-2010

Late in 1996, I wanted to get a kitten. I called the SPCA every day to see if one had come in. Finally, in January 1997, they said they had one, but he had to go to a special home.

He was born under a house, during the big blizzard of '96 - the old man who had lived there brought all the kittens inside to get them out of the cold. He fed them dry cat food, and tried to do good by them, but they all went feral except for one. He put this one cat on his chest and petted him until he purred.

When I arrived at the SPCA, he was in a cage in the back, with the sick animals. His fur was brown and he had an infection in his eye. He was malnourished. But when I put my hand in the cage, he purred. I was in love.
He was such a timid little thing! He lived in the bathroom for the first few days, then under the futon in the back room. We named him Othello because it suited his moodiness.

I remember one morning waking up and hearing him prowling around in the living room - he stepped on the Insultinator: "You're a totally gross boring nerd!" We cracked up.

L taught him how to play and eventually he came out and hung with us.
His fur was the softest I've ever felt, and he started getting bigger:
He loved being carried.

He also loved being up high:
He liked to stand on the clothes-drying rack - good balance!

This is one of my favourite pictures:
What cat can resist a box? Who can resist a picture of a cat in a box? Not me!

When we bought our condo 10 years ago, Othello loved the carpet (we'd had wood floors in our old place, and it was noisy). He also had a funny incident with the TV:
Every Easter, the local TV station puts a camera in the bunny pen at the petting zoo. It shows live footage of the bunnies, zipping around. Othello whacked at the screen, and tried to get behind it to find the bunnies. Hee.

He was a big fan of tuna:
Somebody's getting a treat! (Please ignore the awful 70s kitchen - we have renovated since!).

He also liked to station himself in whatever cushy area gave him the best viewing opportunity of the whole house:
Big ol' kitty in his chair. Aw...

Then we had the nerve to bring a kitten into the house:
I love that picture. Can you believe Inigo was every that small? That Othello was that big? The look on both of their faces is priceless. We have this photo framed on our wall.

The little upstart loved Othello:
Always tried to cuddle with him. Othello looks permanently annoyed.

I have this picture in my cubicle at work:
Inigo gets large. Very large. Othello looks pissed.

Othello indulged his love of heights by sitting on my jewelry box in the bedroom:
I often woke up and saw him there. Very disconcerting in the middle of the night.

He was very much a "floor" cat, though. If you sat on the floor, he would come visit. Whenever L put music on, Othello would come over and hang, giving him head-bumps. He was our music kitty.

He's coming in for a pass:
Such a pretty boy. He liked to hang in the library.

Especially on top of the book shelf, with Smaug the gargoyle.
As he and Inigo got older, they fought more. Othello never quite got over the "young punk" coming in and taking over his turf.

Many wars were waged over who would get the scratching post.

Ah, Othello, thank you for all the great times, all the years. I am so glad that I gave that little sick kitten a chance. I never, ever regretted it.

My friends, please forgive my indulgence in doing an all-cat post - this is it, I promise. This is also the last of the posts that I wrote prior to taking my break. I hope you enjoyed these glimpses into my life.

Fashion will return in a day or two.




  1. Many props to Othello. He was a gorgeous cat and had a long life with a loving family. Cats like that are one in a billion. ♥

  2. What a lovely tribute to Othello! I fear I will be writing one about our beloved Figaro in the near future...kitties never live long enough!

  3. What a lovely tribute to your little He-Lion. Fashion can wait.Othello deserves no less.

    EVERY expression of his in each photo is just like my own little feline warrior. Though his hair is longer, he was also from a feral colony. I have yet to meet a more loving, cuddly cat.

    I don't know if we chose them Sheila, more than they chose us.


  4. Dear Sheila,

    You have brought Othello into my memory and have made me love him. Hope you are doing okay.

    Much love,


  5. this is a beautiful post in his memory. thankyou for sharing.

  6. Thanks for sharing the pictoral history of Othello. Such a good kitty! How is Inigo handling the loss?

  7. Ah, so cute and so special. We love them for every minute they are here, don't we? Thanks for sharing Othello with us!

  8. Made me cry, I'm so sorry he's gone. What a beautiful animal. My favourite picture is the one with Inigo as a kitten next to him, heart-crushingly cute. (Rabid)

  9. Two days in a row now, I have read your posts and then cried like a baby. So beautifully expressed, and so touching.
    It is a wonderful thing that you all found and cared for each other, not to mention had such good times together- Othello lives on in everyone's heart!
    What a beautiful furry soul...
    (and I was thinking the same thing as Tina- how is Inigo handling everything?)

  10. It's so, so difficult to lose a beloved pet. I miss Cupcake every day, and in so many ways....I am glad you made this post, it helps to write about them and honour them too. And, seriously, NO one can reist a picture of a kitty in a box!

  11. Such a wonderful tribute.Othello sounds like an awesome cat. I'm very sorry for your loss.

  12. I met you through Jane's blog (her first blog and then The Small Fabric of my Life) and have admired you for your perkiness, your great writing, your pursuit of better health, and other things. I admire you even more now for taking the time to memorialize your dear Othello. We have five cats at my house, and three were adopted around the same time Othello came to you, so I know their time with us is probably short. It's never enough.

  13. Thanks, Megan.

    Thank you, Sewfast - sending hugs to your Figaro!

    Jean, thank you. Your words mean a lot.

    Thanks so much, Lesa.

    Sam, thank you.

    Tina, he's doing okay, thanks.

    Alison, thanks. You're welcome.

    Rabid, aw, thank you, hon. I miss him.

    Rita, thank you so much for your kind heart. Inigo is doing okay, thanks.

    Sherylyn, you poor thing. I have been thinking about you and looking forward to our walk tomorrow.

    Jenny, thank you.

    Wendy, thanks.

    CJP, thank you so much for commenting! I do appreciate it. Aw, give your kitties hugs for me...and enjoy the time you have.

  14. Hi - I recently found your blog and have enjoyed browsing and reading the posts. I came across this one and just wanted to say how sorry I am about the loss of Othello. That's such a great history of his life with you in the photos! I hope that time has made the loss easier, however I know that our furry family members will always be missed.

    We have a 14 year old dog that we've had since she was approx. 3 months old (unsure of exact age since she was a stray). I'm afraid that we may be nearing the end of our time with her as she's just developed some odd neurological symptoms that are concerning. Otherwise, she's been in perfect health and acts half her age. The vet thinks it's best to monitor and see how it progresses, as we aren't going to put her through tons of invasive tests or procedures at her age. In the meantime, it's heartbreaking to watch and wonder if the symptoms are going to get worse.

    Hope you, your husband, and Inigo are holding up well :)

  15. Hi, Traci,

    Thank you so much for visiting, commenting and for your very kind words about our much-missed kitty, Othello. It has gotten easier, but I still miss him whenever I open a can of tuna.

    Aw, your poor old dog. Just give her all the love you can and cherish the time you have - our furry friends are gone all too soon.

    Again, thank you so much.

  16. Hi Sheila,

    That's so true - I wish I had a magic pill to make pets live forever :) It doesn't seem possible that we've had our dog for 14 years. I tell everyone that she was an "oops" dog since we've only been married 14 years also (actually got her right before getting married) - haha. And she's as close to an "oops" as we'll get hopefully since there are no plans for children!


  17. Same here - no kids for us. We got Othello right before we got married too, so he was ours together for our whole marriage.


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