In memory of Odin, our magical cat ~

Don’t bother reading this post unless you are an avid cat lover, otherwise you will be thoroughly annoyed with this cloying eulogy! Odin was born on March 3, 2004, somewhere in Oklahoma. He was the most magnificent specimen of a cat – inside and outside. My daughter India called me from a pet store in Malibu. Sorry, not a shelter, but if you read on, you will see why! “Mom, I have found a magical cat! Quick, you have to come immediately!” Throughout India’s life, I had rejected many a cat that she had wanted to adopt, so she knew how to entice me. I jumped in my car, and called my husband, “Casper, Can I get another cat?” We had recently moved into our home in Malibu and had brought our one cat with us from Topanga. He was an outdoor cat and although a little cross-eyed, seemed very adept at avoiding the insatiable local coyotes. We had given him the name Heyoka, hoping it would protect him– it means trickster in Cherokee – and he lived to be 14 years old, which, for an outdoor cat, was a pretty good run. India had chosen Heyoka from the pound when she was 4. The whole pound incident had been quite scaring for both of us, and I hadn’t been keen to return. Not to digress too much, we had our eye on an Abyssinian, but so had a few other people. We got into a bidding war, and one of them, a surly biker type, took me aside in the parking lot and literally threatened my life, “If you don’t let me have that cat, you’ll have to watch your back, you f’ing b*tch!” I was traumatized! I never knew the pound could be such a dangerous place! But, I guess he really wanted that cat! In the end, I was so furious at being bullied, that I bid the price up to $500 before I ‘gracefully’ bowed out of the haggling. I had to hide behind 2 employees as ‘bikerdude’ hurled insults and flailed his fist my way, and we walked away with mangy little Heyoka instead. Luckily, he grew into what looked like a glorious mix of Mancoon and Siamese. When Heyoka had disappeared 6 years ago, I said a prayer, asking for him for a sign – something to remember him by. A few minutes later, India ran screaming into the living room, ”Mom, come, quickly, Heyoka left something!” We walked outside to the Koi pond, and right where the builders had poured cement, there were 4 distinct paw prints. The Koi pond had been finished while we were away, and the concrete had been freshly poured, so our cat had indeed answered my wish. And tears flowed freely. I don’t know what it is about losing an animal, but the grief can be so unbearable. Casper’s response to my suggestion to acquire a new pet was, “NO! absolutely not! You cannot buy a cat!” Nevertheless, my curiosity was piqued, and I drove off to meet my daughter. Sure enough, the kitten she had picked was beyond adorable. It fit all my requirements. It had exquisite eyes, the deepest pools of blue I had ever seen, it was white, with a round grey face and a thick, bushy grey tail with 4 grey socks, and it would not stop purring.  And, it let us handle it like a pretzel without scratching or biting. It was a Birman – I had never heard of the breed, so I looked it up and found that they have a very interesting history. They are known as the Sacred Cats of Burma, and were regarded by the priests as oracles to the gods. By now, I was in a pet buying frenzy, and I eyed another irresistible kitten – surprise, surprise – an Abyssinian, and decided that we couldn’t live without either one of them. Casper was not pleased when he saw my purchases. “I thought I told you not to buy a cat?! In my most charming voice, I answered, “But, darling, you told me not to buy a cat, you never said not to buy 2 cats!” He was thoroughly irritated with me, but how could anyone argue with logic like mine!? Of course, he fell in love with both cats immediately, and they would sleep nestled in his armpits – I guess his fur reminded them of their mother! We named the little grey cat Odin, and the other one, Osiris. In retrospect, I don’t know if calling him Odin was a good idea. He certainly lived up to the Norse God’s reputation. He was a wanderer, just like his namesake. Which was probably his demise. We couldn’t get him to stay in the property.  He would streak through the door and gallop down the driveway into the street. And from there, we don’t know where he went, he had a secret life, our Odin. Sometimes he would come home smelling like rosemary, so I knew he had been lounging in our bushes and sometimes he would come back smelling of perfume – not mine! He surprised us all by becoming a fierce hunter. More dead animals came through that cat door than you can imagine. He certainly didn’t look the part of a killer. All fluffy and regal.  India aptly nicknamed him “The Puffinator.” On the 3rd evening after his disappearance, I asked Odin to send me a sign, like his predecessor. He did not disappoint. I turned on the TV,  The movie How to Train Your Dragon was on, and almost immediately, Hiccup’s father starting talking about the Great God Odin! I will miss his paw prints skidding down my windshield, and his  clumps of white fur all over the roof of my convertible, his deep meow which sounded like an old Chinaman in an opium den, his constant scratching at the doors when he wanted to be let in or out – apparently he only liked to use the cat door for his kill – his slow and lion-like gait, the way he ripped open and shredded any bagged food item left on the kitchen counter overnight, the way he would tolerate my girls pushing him full speed around the house in their doll stroller – he never resisted, he never complained. He may have been a saint – Although rabbits might consider him more of a serial killer! I will miss our precious Odin. May our Puffinator rest in peace.