Leapin’ Oscar, the cat who thought he was a dog

A LITTLE MORE ACCOUNTABILITY, A LITTLE LESS ENABLING

By Max R. Weller

From time to time, usually when I’m resting at my campsite, I think about the many pets I had during the years before I became homeless. Cats, dogs, birds, rabbits, turtles, etc. And maybe I should mention the opossum who came to feed overnight from the dish of dry cat food on my back porch; I looked out the back door one night when I was in high school (early ’70s) and saw it sitting next to one of the cats, a black shorthair, and the two seemed like bosom buddies! I never wanted to touch the ugly varmint:

Didelphis virginiana

Anyway, Oscar was an alley cat (albeit one with long hair) of white and dark yellow color. His mother was a calico, but who knows about his father . . . Because of the harassment we were receiving from the Lexington (MO) Animal Control Officer at the time, a legal case eventually resolved in my favor when the City Attorney (rhymes with “witch”) dropped it, we kept Oscar indoors at all times.

I gave him the name Leapin’ Oscar because of a trick he liked to play at least once each day: Oscar would come and sit in front of me, looking up, until I indicated I’d catch him when he jumped into my arms. NEVER did he use his claws. He really didn’t care to be held, he just enjoyed the game he’d invented.

Oscar also was very adept at fetching the little red cloth mouse toy that we had. Whenever he saw me pick it up, he’d wait for me to toss it from the kitchen clear into the living room, then he’d race after it and bring it to me, dropping it at my feet. I always tired of this game before Oscar did. His sister from the same litter, Brutus a.k.a. Bruticus (it’s a long story how she was named), played the same fetching game with a different and larger cloth toy.

Leapin’ Oscar was never one for vocalizing much, and he communicated with his eyes in the same way that dogs do. Not your typical feline loner, not at all.

There’s not a lot that I miss about my previous life, but the companionship of this cat is on the short list . . .

Not Oscar’s twin, but reasonably close in appearance.

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