Reflections: An ode to O.C.: an outside, inside cat

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By Thomas W. Ivines

Some cats are indoor cats and some are outside cats. O.C. was both. Let me explain:

My wife found O.C. in the back yard at our home in North Central Florida. No one really knows how old he was back then. He was already full grown - and wouldn't leave our backyard.

My wife tried to ignore the cat but he would have nothing of it and meowed constantly at the back patio door. Soon he was sleeping on the hot tub cover, and being the warm-hearted person my wife is, she eventually fed him. He was very skinny.

Soon O.C. became a fixture on the back patio growing into a fat cat but he would never come in the house. You could hold the door open for him but he would just stare at you. One time I picked him up and carried him into the house but he frantically leaped out of my arms and ran back outside before the door even closed. O.C. was definitely an outside cat and that's how he got his name. You see O.C. stands for "outside cat."

O.C. was not the most beautiful cat; just your ordinary gray alley cat, and large. O.C. weighed in at nearly sixteen pounds.

Whoever owned O.C. originally neutered and declawed him - and that was a good thing. He swatted me every time I walked past the hot tub. It was his playful way of saying, "Hey, come back here. I need some petting attention!"

When we moved to South Florida we could not leave O.C. behind. The new owners of our house did not want him and we feared for his well-being, so we drugged him up with kitty valium and carted him to South Florida off with us.

We decided it best to keep him inside against his will in our new house. We figured if we simply turned him outdoors at a new, strange place he would disappear. For a while he meowed relentlessly and never left the window sills. After a few weeks though, he became accustomed to being an inside cat, and even adapted to the kitty litter box.

One time he snuck out the door when we were not looking and we thought he was a goner but he came back after a few hours, meowing at the back door to get in. He never left the house again and for several years remained entirely an inside cat - an inside cat named O.C. for outside cat.

Yesterday O.C. passed away. The vet said it was due to a blood clot complicated with heart disease. I guess he was older than we realized.

We loved that old cat and he will be greatly missed, though we know we gave him a good home - whether he wanted one or not.