She was a mischievous cat if nothing else. One of the most entertaining animals I have been in the presence of. Though, for the eleven years she was a part of my mom’s life. Being in the presence of Hollie was a treat. An opportunity she would decide whether you would be given, or not so much. Hollie would run away from me in the blink of an eye. Scurrying up the stairs as quickly as possible. Sometimes for the sole reason, that I looked in her direction. She would get as close to the walls as possible during her run. Escaping to one of her many hiding places in the spaces upstairs at mom’s home. Most of the time, inside a closet or under a bed. It depended on whether she wanted to simply hide. Or, on the off chance you found her, she positioned herself out of your reach. The moment Hollie was put to rest, as cancer had taken over her body. Was probably the most defining moment of her life. It showed her personality better than any words could describe. We all huddled in the room at the veterinarians’ facility, tears welling in our eyes. She was taking the last breaths of a life that touched us all. But, she couldn’t leave the earth without being a smarty. As her time on this earth ended, Hollie stuck out her tongue at us all. The vet said it was meant for her, commenting that Hollie never liked her much. But, knowing the stinker Hollie could often be, it was for the world. She always had a way of getting the last laugh. 

THUD, it often felt like something had fallen upstairs. Like someone might have been seriously injured in that moment. Or, one of the larger book shelves had toppled over. I can remember many occasions of sitting on the couch at mom’s home. Watching a game on television, or involved in a conversation. The noise from upstairs would stop me in my tracks. Causing my heart to skip a beat. Wondering, momentarily if we were experiencing an earthquake. I would immediately look around the house. Wondering if the home was going to come crashing down around us. Once, it became clear there was no impending disaster. The puzzlement on my face would elicit a response from my mom. Reminding me, the THUD was just Hollie falling off something, again. I have gotten the impression throughout my life, cats are pretty graceful creatures. Leaping from one surface to the next, leaving you wondering how they arrived on that particular surface. They can often descend safely from wherever they have arrived. Unless, caught in a precarious position, like a tree. Hollie was an indoor cat, so that didn’t really occur. Except, when she was originally found. Hollie could get herself into some pretty interesting places. The problem was she couldn’t figure how to get back down to the ground. So, she did what seemed most pertinent, kind of fell/jumped. Something funny would often occur if I ever witnessed one of her tumbles. 

It was rare for me to watch Hollie lower herself from a high place. I would say it only happened a handful of times during her life. Mostly, I would be watching television upstairs in my mom’s home. The crash of Hollie to the floor would be loud enough to startle me out of whatever I might be viewing. As I looked around the area to find the source of the noise. I would find Hollie gathering herself to her feet. Usually walking off while shaking her head back and forth. The sight of her walking off with her head shaking always brought a smile. It felt like she was trying to shake off the tumble she had just taken. I often wondered if she was thinking to herself, that was a rough fall! But, inevitably she would do the same thing again. The THUD could be heard at another random time in mom’s home. I would be curious about how she never seemed to get injured from her falls. Listening to her crash to the floor and turning my head. My thoughts always went to hoping she didn’t hurt herself. Then, when Hollie would just walk off shaking her head, I realized she must be fine. Some of the THUDS were so loud, I would make a comment, how does she not hurt herself. Mom would simply shrug her shoulders with similar disbelief. Like, who knows, it’s Hollie. 

For all of her interesting traits, Hollie was a great cat. One my mom was pretty reluctant to take on. Hollie got her name because she was found in a Hollie tree. Someone had lost her and this little orange animal needed a home. A friend of my mom, basically told mom to take Hollie home with her. The act was a great instinct by this friend. The personality of Hollie entertained our entire family for years. I mentioned how Hollie would most often run and hide. Not really giving me the opportunity to interact with her all that much. Where most cats I have been around will jump up in your lap. Or, rub themselves against your leg, both in attempts to receive attention and love. Hollie would reserve her attention seeking only for mom. That is, unless I did this one little thing for Hollie. Feed her. There were a few occasions in the life of Hollie when I was the only person in town. Mom had gone somewhere on a vacation and I had the opportunity to come by and feed Hollie. In those snippets of time, I got to be the best friend of Hollie. She would be waiting for me at the door, when I arrived. She would rub against me and even let me pet her a little. Those were my most cherished times with Hollie. When I was taking care of her. But, as soon as mom got back home, and order was restored to the world. Hollie would revert back to running from me into her hiding places. 

Today, Hollie is missed by all who spent time around her. It shows up most significantly in my mom’s two-year-old lab. Bridie will still look for her from time to time. Walking into the space Hollie had claimed as her own. Birdie will look around for her sister and whimper a little, at the reality that Hollie is no longer there. The funny part about it was I always felt like they kind of avoided each other. Both having to share the attention of mom. Maybe, Hollie hid from Birdie just like she hid from others. But, her seeming agitation with anyone who wasn’t mom, didn’t make us love her any less. Of the numerous cats, I have been around in my life, Hollie has been my favorite. She had an air of independence that was always funny. On the rare occasion Hollie was let outside, she would always push the boundaries. Stepping a little further and further away from the house. Until she got caught and told to come back, which she always did. Of course, Hollie liked to think she could survive in the wild. But, everyone knew, including Hollie, there was no way that was possible. Maybe that’s why she left us with her tongue stuck out. She felt like she never truly got to meet her full potential. Such a little stinker. 

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