When Ben and Efi first met Ollie in 2018, they had no plans to adopt another kitty. They hand-raised kittens 10-day-old Lola and 1-month-old Eddie two years earlier.
But Ollie was this tiny, fiery little thing that had been dumped in a pet store with no mummy in sight, all to himself.
“We supplied our ‘children’ at the store and saw a few people crowding around the boarding cattery,” Efi recalls.
A lady among the crowd turned to her and said, “He’s so cute but doesn’t want to come when people call lah!”
Efi poked his head inside and saw this tiny little ball of white fluff that was barely a month old, huddled in a corner.
“I have never seen such behavior in a kitten. He was neither scared nor playful, ”explained Efi. “He just watched us, like he was looking to see what human would make a good cat slave!”
The store owner opened the glass door to the cattery and Efi took another step. The little boy jumped up to her and began to lick, bite and kick her hand.
The lady next to her sighed and laughed, “Haiyah! This slaughterer chooses you already, no kitten for my granddaughter lah!
Attracted by the kitten, Efi feared that she would not have the time and energy to take care of another baby cat. But Ben believed that Lola and Eddie would benefit from the adoption as Ollie’s “ pawrents ”.
“They might learn better to socialize with other cats because they’ve only been exposed to humans so far,” Ben explained.
They both thought that Ollie would start a new, positive chapter in Lola and Eddie’s married life (yes, they are an intimate couple despite having been neutered).
However, not all four of them knew, the new chapter in their lives would be filled with unexpected and challenging adventures.
During the first two months of living with Ollie, Ben and Efi started noticing strange behaviors in him. He would get even more restless, fiery and have tantrums, lash out around the house, smash things and then all of a sudden, pull out.
He also became sensitive to hugs and touch, becoming nervous and aggressive when they tried to pet him as before.
Her vocalization started to change as well; “Her meows sounded more like caterpillars, but it certainly wasn’t a coming-of-age thing,” Ben said.
The couple went out of their way to give Ollie the best they could, amid worries of his weird behaviors.
Ollie became obsessed with his nightly routines with them – only walking into their room between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. He wouldn’t stop until they let him in.
Once inside, he would jump onto their bed and ask Ben to stroke his head, followed by him climbing over Efi to lick / groom his hair and (in particular) his left ear.
“It can take anywhere from two to 20 minutes!” said Efi. When he was done, he would jump out of their bed and wait outside the door, waving to be released.
“He’s also a cat-dog. Not only does he love digging in our huge potted houseplants and rolling around in the dirt, but he buries his toys there, ”said Ben.
Every now and then they would find him covered in dirt, making a mess in the living room.
So, they decided to get the gardeners out of the huge potted plant. “They first removed some soil to make it easier to transport; and that’s where we discovered two balls and his missing stuffed fish, all buried in the pot! cried Efi, laughing.
All the while, Ollie’s moments of loving kindness dotted with flashes of aggression worried them a lot.
Thus, the visits to the vet began, in case he had any pain that had not been diagnosed. One of the vets suggested a DNA test to identify his breed for specific disease risks, as Ollie was oddly tall for his age at 4.6 kilograms when he was four months old. It turned out to be part of the Norwegian forest.
It wasn’t until their animal behaviorist friend checked out Ollie that they were comforted to learn the reasons behind Ollie’s quirks.
He explained that while most blue-eyed white cats were born deaf, the amber-eyed Ollie had partial hearing. Hence the strange vocalization.
They were also told that Ollie has limited peripheral vision, which is why he was aggressive if a hand or something surprising came his way. But nothing prepared them for what they were told next.
Cats, in general, have served as the inspiration for many psychology and health care experts to publish books on autism because of their inherent traits; but Ollie could probably be the real deal – an autistic cat.
“Although I tend to anthromorphize my cats for fun because I lead a very boring life,” Efi admitted, “but it’s shocking when an expert tells you that”. And that clearly explains Ollie’s weirdness and lack of social skills.
Three years later, Ollie is now one of eight cats. “He’s still pretty lonely with only one ally, Tonic, a 20 month old boy. And they’re more than just friends, ”Efi said with a wink.
Ben and Efi love Ollie like any parent would love their child. All 9.8 kilograms of it. For all his awkwardness, occasional aggression, and unexpected sweetness, it seems like he definitely picked the right cat slaves.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR ANIMAL: FMT Lifestyle readers are encouraged to send photos (landscape format) and a short video (if applicable) of their furry, scaly or feathered friends to [email protected]. Be sure to include details like your pet’s name, age, breed, and a short story about it.