Cat Mom Life: Olivia’s Third Birthday

Happy Third Birthday Olivia!

As you know, I have some amazing cats. Today, though, is all about Olivia because it’s Olivia’s third birthday! Olivia was born three years ago today and began her kitty cat princess reign from the start. Well, more or less, she was rescued so we’re not 100% certain about the date!

Olivia’s Humble Beginnings

Like Louis and Emory, Olivia’s origin story is far from opulent. Olivia’s early days are hazy. She came to a local shelter in North Florida with her two litter mates at a few weeks old. Once she came into the rescue I worked with, though, her true colors began to show. She was playful and wild, even though she had a nasty upper respiratory infection. These infections are not uncommon for kittens. It wasn’t too surprising that she came down with it, since her two litter mates had them, as well.

The rescue named her Havoc (which might have been telling); the three kittens in her litter had X-Men names because they were all “mutants.” They were “mutants” because they were all polydactyl, meaning they had a bunch of extra toes. Pretty much from when I first saw Olivia’s picture and messaged the rescue claiming her and the litter mates, she was Olivia to me.

I adopted Olivia during my second year of law school when she was about three months old. Olivia couldn’t be adopted out as early as her litter mates because of the respiratory infection. I waited what felt like forever but was really only a few days to get her after my mom and cousin adopted the litter mates.

Typically, rescue animals cannot be adopted out without being spayed or neutered. Olivia couldn’t be spayed because she was sick. Since I worked with the rescue, though, I was able to foster-to-adopt, and took her home a little after my family picked up the others. The only difference was that I couldn’t officially adopt her until after I brought her in for her spay appointment after the infection went away. Worked for me, and I brought baby girl home.

This is my cat adoption shirt. I wore it when I picked up Louis, too. It was 100% an intentional outfit choice.

Olivia’s First Months Home

Olivia and Louis took to each other immediately. I ended up separating them for a few hours the first night because they wouldn’t stop tackling one another. They were being so loud! Plus, Louis had like 8 pounds on Olivia and I was a little worried. But she was pretty scrappy so not that worried.

Olivia at a few months old

It was a huge relief that Olivia and Louis got along so well. I had been really anxious about bringing in another cat, even though Lou and Emory got along so well. I was worried it’d be different since Olivia was a permanent addition, whereas Emory came over to hang out for hours or a day or two at a time, but generally lived in her and Brett’s apartment. Plus, Louis is such a needy boy, I was worried adding a kitten would make him less snuggly.

I was wrong. That was not a problem. I think Louis became more snuggly.

Anyway, all this time, Olivia’s litter mates were with my mom and cousin. My mom had Fergus, another little gray tabby who looked just like Olivia (we had them together over the holidays and I kept having to pick them up and count toes to see who was who). My cousin has Elaine, an all black polydactyl house panther.

In both of these photos, Olivia is on the left and Fergus is on the right. But you can see how it’d be hard to tell!

Olivia and Elaine, litter mates

It’s funny, Elaine and Olivia have the same mannerisms. This is so, despite having lived apart since Elaine was adopted

A Crash Course in Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)

As you may know, Louis was my first cat. My mom had cats years ago, but my family was pretty solidly a dog-family while I was growing up. We had no idea what the coronavirus was, how common it was, and what it did. I still don’t really understand how it works. What I do understand that, while most cats have coronavirus (and show no signs and have no problem with it), it can fatally mutate into FIP in a small percentage of cats.

Unfortunately, this happened with Fergus over Christmas of that first year. My mom and I had dropped the cats off at the vet to be boarded and he was showing signs, but we had no idea what it was. (Also, on a lighter note, imagine the two of us dropping five Sherpa carriers off at the vets. It was quite the scene.) Once we got the news that Fergus had passed the evening after we dropped them off, besides being devastated about the loss of this sweet boy, I immediately began to worry about the other cats — especially Olivia and Elaine.

Fortunately, Olivia and Elaine didn’t show signs of FIP. I called the vets at least daily to check up on the cats. I demanded super detailed descriptions of how they were doing, what they were eating, etc. We kept checking on Elaine, too, who was home with my cousin. Both girls were fine.

Olivia’s Growth & Development

My point in describing the FIP scare is this: I didn’t really rest easy with Olivia until pretty recently. FIP isn’t common in healthy, adult cats, so I was always kind of just waiting for her to grow up. Any time she so much as coughed, I’d get worried about her. All in all, Olivia is a pretty sturdy little cat. She’s small, yes, but her frame is small. She’s never had any problems besides occasional urinary tract issues (hardly uncommon in cats, unfortunately, but generally controllable with food or medicine). So, at this point, I am comfortable with Olivia’s health, especially because I know the signs of her feeling under the weather.

Besides being healthy, Olivia is a funny little cat. She loves spinach and yogurt. She’s always under foot. She doesn’t like to sit on laps very much, but she’s always nearby. If she stands on certain fleece blankets, she instantly starts to knead and drool (super cute). Also, if you sit still long enough, she just might try to groom (read: chew on) your hair.

Her face when she hears it's Olivia's third birthday!

Olivia’s Third Birthday Celebrations

So, now, Princess Olivia, baby girl, is three! I invite you to raise a tunatini in her honor and toast her reign thus far. To celebrate, I think she’ll have her favorite spinach salad and share some yogurt with me.

See more of Olivia (and my other kitties) on
their personal instagram here!