Sunday, September 6, 2009

Oberon is Twelve

My eight cats in 2005. Oberon and Miranda are closest to the camera sharing a double feeding bowl

During the winter of ’97, living in our house downtown, our neighbour, Tony discovered a stray cat living in his garden. Collectively we fed the cat which Tony named Speckles. On 27th August 1997, Speckles gave birth to four kittens in the cubby hole of an old car parked in Tony’s lean-to.

When they were old enough I took the only fluffy, all black one male, and what I thought was a Siamese female. We brought the two adorable kittens home much to Tigger’s horror. He’d been an “only cat” for fifteen months and here these two strange looking creatures were coming to mess up his comfy lifestyle in the home. No matter how cute the kittens, who we named Oberon and Miranda were and how often they tried to charm Unca Tigger use their antics and tricks , he would not accept them.

When the kittens were six months old I took them to the vet to be neutered. I’d recently suspected that Miranda was a male and our vet confirmed my suspicions that day. This was a blessing as neutering male cats is a simple procedure which lasts a few minutes and can be done under local anaesthetic, whereas spaying a female is an operation, involves more risk and is costlier.

Oberon and Miranda did everything together

We moved to our present home up to the top of town, when the two brothers were three years old and Tigger was four and a quarter years old. In the meantime, we’d acquired another rescue cat, Chip, whose birthday I will post about later this year. When the three males found themselves in strange surroundings, it was as if they banded together to form a united front until they familiarised themselves with the new territory. Although I never saw Tigger playing or socialising (as cats are wont to do) with Oberon and Miranda, there seemed to be truce in now they were grown up. The two brothers, however, always slept together, ate together (from the same double dish) and lazed around in the garden together.

Miranda getting his own back at Tigger!

In February 2007 Miranda showed signs of being in pain and we took him to the vet. Our kindly vet told us that at that age, (ten years) Miranda’s whole system was slowly deteriorating. He offered to injected Miranda with such a strong “pick-me-up” that he said the cat would be up and about in two hours. This would only be a temporary respite though and he told us to take him home and bring him back the next evening if he showed signs of weakening again.

I have a specially-built cat house furnished with a sofa, table for the cats to eat on, a wall panel heater and a window slightly left open for the cats to enter and leave the room. There is also a wall unit of shelves, the top ones for the canisters of cat cookies and feeding bowls. The lower ones are lined with carry cots and baskets for the cats to sleep in.

We came home that evening and I tucked him up in Miranda in his carry cot on the sofa. The other cats came to sniff him and then lay a small distance away as if to guard him. I always close the cathouse door to keep rowdy and inquisitive dogs out. That evening, however, I left the door open because I wanted Miranda to go outside if he wished; I felt the jump onto the windowsill would be too strenuous. I also locked our two [at the time] dogs in the garage so they would not bother Miranda.
It was a decision I regret making to this day.

In the early hours of the next morning, our neighbours’ six Malamutes broke our boundary fence and ran amok in our garden. They chased all our cats up into the trees, they bounded through my garden ponds and then they made for the cat room.

I found poor old Miranda’s body under the apricot trees in my large garden.

Oberon has always been a very handsome cat

Oberon continues to live out his twilight years in my home and garden, He has become something of a loner since his brother died more than two years ago, although he is fond of Chip. He’s moved back into the house and sleeps in the pool room every night. After breakfast every morning he dashes outdoors (he is very nervous of Eddy who tends to chase cats), climbs a tree next to the house with great alacrity and spends the day on the roof.
Oberon is my dear old gentleman cat. He is unobtrusive and whether indoors or out, he makes himself comfortable wherever he can.

Only once has Oberon given me a spot of [what I thought was] trouble. I subsequently found out how stupid humans are when cats are trying to tell them something. Read about this here.

Oberon is the picture of health with his clear eyes and glossy coat

Oberon is twelve this year and in excellent health. His frame has become rangy but still has a healthy appetite, bright eyes and a glossy coat. He occupies a very special part of my heart.

Happy birthday Oberon.
I love you dearly, my gentle, gorgeous old cat.
Note: In a post two weeks ago about about Tigger, I said he was thirteen which is 96 in human years. This was incorrect. I've since discovered a table of cat-human age conversions on Google. To determine a cat' s age, you take his first year as fifteen human years. You add nine years to this to determine the second year and then four years from then on. Therefore Tigger is 68 years old while Oberon clocks in at 64!

For more on animals around the world, click here.


  1. Jo, I gasped to read about Maranda. Oberon is so handsome and aging gracefully. I know you miss him right now, but it's not forever.

  2. Oh Jo, I'm so sorry about your dear Miranda. I know how hard it is to lose a pet.
    Happy Birthday Oberon, you are a very handsome old man, may you have many more years.
    Sunny :)

  3. So sorry to hear about Miranda... how awful for you.

    Oberon looks like a lovely kind gentleman.

    Oh, and happy birthday to Tigger!

  4. Loved every word of this post! What a journey through kitty worlds! Oberon almost seems to be like an elder of the tribe with lots of patience and well-practised wisdom!

  5. Old Mr Cat looks very comfortable in his old age. He must have a wonderful carer.

  6. wow a lot of cats here..ours died already...thanks for the visit!

  7. I am not particularly fond of cats but would hate to see one hurt or injured so I am so sorry to read about poor Miranda and it must have been terribly upsetting for you and the family.
    Oberon is a grand old man and I hope he has many more birthdays!

  8. Happy Birthday to Oberon. He's a handsome boy.
    Poor Miranda, that's a nasty way to go. I had a cat mauled by dogs once and it was very sad.

  9. Happy Birthday Oberon! Sounds like he leads an interesting life. Terrible about his poor brother. . . no wonder it still haunts you.

    The first pic reminded me of my dear friend, Christine. She's also a stray kitty collector!

    Oberon looks like my grandma's last cat--Rastus! He loved to sneak into a paper bag from the grocery so grandma would pick it up to "swing" him in!

    <3 Sandy

  10. Happy birthday, Oberon! You look great! So sad about Miranda! Those dogs should have stayed in their own yard!!! Love the picture of all your cats enjoying a meal together!

  11. Jo, it's so hard to loose a beloved pet! And I do hurt for your loss of Miranda! And Oberon, you are indeed a handsome and distinguished looking gentleman! Wishing you a very Happy Birthday!

    Marvelous post and beautiful pics!

    Have a great day -- all of you!

    Sylvia, Sam and Mojo the Most

  12. I have never understood how some people can not like cats. Each one has its own personality. Oberon is very handsome! And although it's a sad ending to Miranda's life, it looks like he was spoiled right up to the end.

  13. How blessed these cats are to have you sandy

  14. He is a sweet-looking gent. Great and touching post!

  15. Oh what gorgeous cats... I almost cried hearing about Miranda. I know that Oberon STILL misses Miranda.

    I know you miss your babies while you are in North Africa.. BUT--I'm sure your family is taking good care of them.

    Thanks for sharing--and Happy Birthday To Oberon.


  16. That's a sad story about Miranda's end, but you did what you thought was best for him. That's all we can do.
    Happy birthday to Oberon, who is indeed a handsome gentleman.
    Interesting info about cat ages. I hope Oberon has many more years with you.

  17. sad about the end to miranda's story but then c'est la vie ...
    happy birthday oberon

    have a great one!


    Pet Pride

  18. Thanks everyone, for your commiserations on poor Miranda's death and Oberon says thanks for the birthday wishes!

  19. I couldn't imagine what a home would be like without a cat in it.



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