Feature Friday Film: In Memory of Oliver

Debbie came across some videos of Oliver and asked me to post them for my Feature Friday Film today in his memory. If you have a special pet, don’t forget to film them. Photos are great, but videos capture their spirit.

November 13, 2015 – Oliver playing with a cat toy

February 17, 2016 – Oliver “fishing” in his water bowl

 

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My Namesake has Gone Over Rainbow Bridge

For those who may not have heard the sad news, my author’s 17-year-old cat, Oliver, crossed over to Rainbow Bridge on Saturday, November 4th, after a bout with kidney failure that weakened his legs but couldn’t kill his spirit. Debbie named me after him and, although I’m a character cat, I was proud of my real-life counterpart. Oliver also appeared in Debbie’s articles as well as being her inspiration for me. She wrote a beautiful memorial post on her blog that you can read here: 

Debbie is also offering a free e-copy of her short story, The Path to Rainbow Bridge, until Friday, November 10, in memory of Oliver and to comfort others who have also lost their own precious pets. Although I am not in this story, many of Debbie’s cats who she has loved and lost throughout the years are featured.

As an additional memorial to Oliver, I am sharing some of Debbie’s photos of him throughout the year on this blog. I have to admit he was a handsome guy and quite photocatogenic.

Oliver, December 2000

   

 

Sneaky Interviews Oliver and Max, the Cat Characters of J. Schlenker

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Oliver by J. Schlenker
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Max by J. Schlenker

I have the honor of interviewing two cats today. One shares the namesake of my author’s cat, Oliver, and the other is named Max. Good day, lads. Welcome to my blog. Can please you share with my readers the name of your author and what books you’ve both appeared in?

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https://www.amazon.com/Missing-Butler-Other-Life-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B01N41RJP7/

Max meows: Our author is J. Schlenker. She wrote “The Mysterious Butler and Other Life Mysteries” (A Collection of Short Stories). Oliver and I are in the story, Nine Lives, in that book.

Are you based on a real cat such as your author’s? If so, please give further details.

Oliver says:  One of my lives, the one of Buddha, is based partially on a true story about my author’s cat.

Can you share an excerpt from one of your books that features you in an important scene? If so, please include it.

Oliver announces:  This is me starting to tell my tale.

Nine Lives

“You look old,” the white fuzz ball of a kitten said, keeping a cautious distance from the fat cat. The old cat, almost the same color as himself, but marked with age, sat curled up next to a bowl of milk.

“If you’re looking to get some of my milk, that’s no way to go about it,” the fat cat replied with a sluggish raise of his eyelids.

“No, still nursing. Have no need of your milk.”

“Ugh,” the fat cat grunted, dropping his eyelids back down to a narrow slit.

The small kitten edged closer but toppled over on the fat cat after being distracted by a butterfly.

“Meow,” came the gruff voice of the fat cat. “Why are you still here? Why don’t you go somewhere else to play? Find another cat to bother.”

“You don’t have to be mean,” the kitten said, jumping back and sliding over on its side.

“I saw your brothers and sisters earlier. Why aren’t you off playing with them?”

“I didn’t want to. Besides I’m the runt. They ran off and left me.”

“Oh, you want to bother me then, do you?”

“No, not bother. I came to ask you questions. My name is Max.”

“Well, Max, could you kindly come back after my nap?”

“When will that be?” asked Max.

“How about tomorrow? No, make that next week,” the big fat cat said, hardly moving his lips, as it took up far too much energy. But Max just sat there silently, staring.

The big cat half-opened an eye and cringed. “You still here?” Max sat in silence, all wide-eyed.

“What’s wrong? Cat got your tongue?” The big cat almost laughed, but his rheumatism was acting up, so he stifled the urge for any kind of movement, even his mouth.

“No, the cat doesn’t have my tongue. My mama said be respectful because you’re old, and she said you were wise.” Max stiffened in reverence. “She said you were on the last of your lives. She said you are called Oliver, but before that was called Buddha.”

“Your mom knows about me, does she?”

Max nodded with wide-eyed awe and waited for Oliver to speak, but nothing came but a low snore. Max ever so lightly touched Oliver’s leg with his paw. Nothing. Max tapped harder until Oliver jumped up in a growl. “What is it, you young whippersnapper?”

“I just want to know,” Max said, keeping his position, remembering what his mama said, show no fear.

“Know what?” Oliver snapped.

“About your lives?”

“You’re a persistent chap, aren’t you? Hmm, well, I’ve been persistent in my day. Don’t get to nine lives without being persistent.” Oliver repositioned himself and took a slurp of milk. “Well, I guess since you’re here. Nothing else to do these days. Might as well make yourself comfortable.” Oliver looked young Max up and down. “This your first life?”

“Yeah, how did you know?”

“Written all over you.”

Oliver took another slurp of milk. “I go back, way back. Ever hear of the pyramids?”

Max shook his head.

“Well, they’re in Egypt, a far piece from here. That was where I spent my first life. Barely weaned when an Egyptian princess took a fancy to me. In the nick of time, too. I was orphaned.”

“Oh?” Max questioned in awe.

“Yes, my mama was hit by a huge obelisk. Faulty construction. Happened back then, too.”

Max looked puzzled. “It’s a huge pillar. Well, never mind. Not really pertinent to the story. There were human lives lost, too. Not that there wasn’t law suits. Shifty lawyers back then, too. But being a cat, I had no recourse. All I cared about was that I lost my mama, along with all my brothers and sisters. But, like you, being the runt, I tagged behind. That saved my life. Maybe it was karma. I don’t remember my lives before being a cat. Maybe it was just dumb, blind luck. I didn’t think so at first. I just curled up into a ball and whimpered until someone picked me up. It was the princess who saved me from a life of begging.”

“A real-life princess? Wow,” said Max. “Was she beautiful?”

“No, not in the least.”

Max looked down in disappointment.

“But not being beautiful was a good thing. At least for me. Now her sister, Neffie, as everyone called her, was drop dead gorgeous, but no, Miffen, was a little on the pudgy side. I’m sorry to say that people called her Muffin behind her back. But Muffin, I mean Miffen, had the biggest heart.”

“Why was not being a beautiful princess good?” Max interjected.

“Because not everyone can be beautiful. Like I said, she was kind. She didn’t have any toms all over her like beautiful women. Her attention wasn’t divided on this or that, not the trivial things that interest most women, hair brushes, hair ornaments, lip rouge and the like. Time goes on, but humans change little. She lavished most of her attention on me, at least for a long time. Oh, she took in other strays from time to time, but I was her first and was always dearest to her heart, until…”

“Until?” Max perked up.

“She fell in love. Not with a prince but with a lowly worker, a stonecutter. Well, at first I thought no worries. But then, one day, she scrambled off to spy him through the reeds. He saw her. He knew how she felt. They lost all abandon.”

Max sat up straighter.

That was pawsome. Thanks for that purrfect excerpt, Oliver. You and Max are great cat actors.

What do you like most about your role in your authors’ books?

Oliver answers: Educating Max. Possibly he can avoid some of my mistakes.

You are doing a great job. I’m sure he appreciates that.

Are you a talking cat in your books or just a silent one like I am who just meows occasionally?

Oliver replies: Really, I’m not much of a talker or a meower, mostly a lounger in my old age.

I see. With age, comes wisdom.

What advice would you give other cat characters?

Oliver states: Not all dogs are bad.

Very true. My co-partner in the Cobble Cove mysteries is Fido, a golden retriever. He’s a nice guy but not all that sharp. I’ve also just started featuring dogs and other animals on this blog. I still think cats are the superior species, though.

Do you have any new books coming out? Please give dates and details.

Max explains: Our author J. Schlenker’s  current project is Sally. It will be fictional history, based on a woman she met when she was eight years of age. She was born into slavery in 1858. She lived to be 110 years old. Our author projects it will be out in late spring or early summer.

That sounds very interesting. I will tell my readers to keep an eye out for it.

Are you and/or your author on social media? If so, please list your links.

Max indicates: Here are our author’s links. You can contact us through any of them:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14763892.J_Schlenker

https://www.facebook.com/J.SchlenkerAuthor/

https://athursdayschild.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/athursdayschild

Thanks for the interview, guys. Paws-up to you and your author on your future books and best whiskers also to your author on her participation in Mystery Thriller Week.

Sneaky’s Interview of Oliver, the Cat Who Saved Christmas

Hello, Sneaky, my best meows to you. My name’s Oliver, and my translator from Cat language is called Sheila Norton. She’s not too bad at Cat, so hopefully the story will read OK in Human.
Hi, Oliver. You have the same name as my author’s real life Siamese cat. It’s a pleasure to meet you and your translator who I’m sure will do as pawsome a job as Debbie.
What book(s) have you appeared in? Please list them and their genre.
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My own story is called ‘Oliver, the Cat Who Saved Christmas’. I also appear as a minor character in my little friend and protege’s story ‘Charlie the Kitten Who Saved a Life’. I taught him all he knows.
Very mice. I know Debbie is currently reading your Christmas book and is really enjoying it.
Are you in a series? If so, please give information about it.  
No, at present there are just the two books in my cat-alogue, although I keep meowing new story ideas in Sheila’s ear.
Keep that up. I know it works because, after doing the same, Debbie is starting to take more advantage of my acting talents in her upcoming books.
Are you based on a real cat such as your author’s? If so, please give further details.
Apparently Sheila has had three cats of her own, but she says I’m nothing like any of them. (I hope she means that in a good way!). But she also says she’s used some of their ‘antics’ in the story. Apparently this makes me appear more loveable, so I’m happy with that!
I don’t think I’m much like Oliver, either, except for being the same breed of cat. My famous, “cats don’t get mad; they get even” scene is more based on Debbie’s other cat, Stripey – MOL (meow out loud).
Can you share an excerpt from one of your books that features you in an important scene? If so, please include it.
Yes, of course – here’s the very start of my story. I should warn you, it starts with a cat-astrophe, so it’s a bit scary. I was very aware of that, as I was meowing the story to my friend Charlie when he was only a little kitten. Here goes:
 
The worst night of my entire nine lives started with some leftover fish. You might think that was a bit strange, little kitten. After all, we cats all love fish, don’t we, and I often used to get leftovers, living in a pub where they made something called bar meals for the people who came in. It wasn’t actually the fish I had that night that was the problem. It was what came afterwards, when I’d gone back to my favourite chair by the fireplace and fallen asleep.
Now, stop jumping around trying to catch that fly, if you want me to tell you the story. It’s a long story for a little kitten like you, and a bit frightening in places, but you might learn something from it if you settle down and pay attention. That’s better.
Where was I? Oh yes. Asleep on my chair. Well, I woke up very suddenly when it was dark outside – and there was a horrible smell in the pub, and something tickling my nose and throat. I knew straight away it was smoke, because sometimes when my human, George, lit the fire in the bar to make it nice and cosy on a cold evening, it gave off the same kind of smell. But when he did that, the smoke went up the chimney, not into room like this. I blinked for a few minutes, trying to see what was going on. Of course, my night vision is normally excellent, but the smoke was making my eyes sore. Within a few minutes I was starting to cough and choke because it had started going down my throat too, when I did the normal stretching and yawning thing we have to do when we wake up. And then I saw them – big orange flames leaping up the curtains, and sparks flying onto the nearby chairs.
I yowled in fright. At least, I tried to, but all that came out was a pathetic squeaky noise and another bout of coughing. I jumped out of my chair, heading for the staircase to the upstairs rooms, where I knew George would be asleep in the big bedroom overlooking the garden. Luckily he always left his door open, in case I woke up in the night and decided he might appreciate my company on the bed. So I darted straight in and jumped on him, pawing at his face to wake him up. I was trying my best to meow loudly in his ear at the same time, and despite all the coughs and splutters, it seemed to do the trick because he sat up in bed, gasping in surprise.
‘Oliver!’ he said, sounding a bit annoyed. He usually only called me by my full name when I’d been naughty. ‘What on earth …?’
And then he must have smelt the smoke, because he leapt out of bed, shouting, ‘Oh my God! Fire! Fire!’
There were only the two of us in the building so I couldn’t understand who he was shouting to, but I was very relieved he’d woken up. He grabbed his mobile phone off the bedside table and his dressing gown off the hook behind the door, and I ran ahead of him along the landing and back down the stairs. I was frightened to see that the flames had spread and were now working their way up the wooden banisters, spitting sparks and billowing more black smoke. I bounded down those stairs as if there were a couple of Dobermans after me.
‘Outside, Ollie, quick!’ George shouted, beginning to cough like me.
As he unlocked the main door to the bar the cold outside air rushed in and it was as if the whole place suddenly erupted. The crash, as the staircase collapsed, was so terrible, I shot out of that door and kept running, right across the car park and under a bush at the other side, next to the road. I could see George, in his stripy pyjamas, running out with his dressing gown still in his hand, dropping it while he stabbed at the mobile phone and shouted into it: ‘Fire! The Forester’s Arms! The pub’s on fire!’
I stayed under the bush, shaking with fear, watching the fire work its way up to the roof of the pub, watching as the wood store next to the kitchen went up with a ‘whoosh!’. Then the flames spread to the fence, and then they were licking around some kind of big drums lined up behind the village hall next door. And then there was a sudden loud ‘boom’ that made me jump out of my skin, and the fire seemed to roll itself into a ball of orange that lit up the whole sky.
For a minute I was frozen with terror. I thought it was the end of at least one of my lives, for sure. There were people running out of their houses, shouting, looking for George, putting his dressing-gown and blankets round him, as if it wasn’t hot enough with all those flames. And just to add to the horror of it all, at that moment two massive fire engines came tearing down the road towards us, sirens screaming, and turned into the car park right next to the bush where I was cowering. Well, I knew I should have stayed to make sure George was all right, but my cat instinct told me I needed to get out of there as fast as I could. It wasn’t my proudest moment, deserting my human and my home. But I’m afraid I scarpered.
That was so pawsome, Oliver. You are quite the dramatic actor.
Thank you, Sneaky.
What do you like most about your role in your authors’ books? 
Well, obviously, it’s an important role, as it’s my own life story and I’m extremely important to a whole village in this story. But what I like best is how I helped a little girl who needed a friend so much. 
Awww. That reminds me of poor little Angelina in our new book who suffers from a bad disease known as leukemia. She was very fond of me, even though she had her own cat named Muffin to comfort her. Pets can be so soothing to sad or ill humans.
 Are you a talking cat in your books or just a silent one like I am who just meows occasionally?
I talk to my cat friends (in Cat, of course), but humans can’t understand us. (Sheila obviously has unusual powers in that direction). However, as we all know, Sneaky – we cats are perfectly capable of understanding Human, even though we can’t speak it. And why would we want to speak it? It’s a very poor language in my opinion.
ROCL (Rolling on catnip laughing). I totally agree, Ollie. Humans can be quite dense when it comes to understanding both real and character cats.
What advice would you give other cat characters?
Just be yourself. Don’t let your Human transcriber try to write you into scenes you wouldn’t dream of taking part in, in real life. On the other hand, don’t be shy – if (like me) you’re the only cat in your town or village who becomes the hero of a book, make sure you meow to all the other cats in the neighbourhood about it! 
Great advice. If you don’t strut your stuff, who will?
Do you have any new books coming out? Please give dates and details.
The UK edition of my little friend Charlie’s story ‘Charlie the Kitten Who Saved a Life’ is now published so I hope there will eventually be a US edition too, as you’ll meet me again in that! I might live fur, fur away in England but I want to make friends all over the world if I can.
The wonderful thing about the Internet is that connecting with readers everywhere is now possible for us cat characters.
Are you and/or your author on social media? If so, please list your links.
Yes, Sheila spends far too much time meowing to her friends on Facebook. Her author page is https://www.facebook.com/SheilaNortonAuthor.  Apparently Twitter is nothing to do with birds, which is a bit disappointing for a hunter like me, but Sheila’s on that too, at https://twitter.com/NortonSheilaann.  You can also find out more about me on her website –www.sheilanorton.com .
Purr-fect. I will follow you and Sheila to keep updated on your latest adventures.
p1030662sheila-norton-15-oliver-l-copySheila says she’s sending you a picture of my book cover and a picture of herself (I don’t know why she thinks she’s so important). And also a picture of the Oliver toy she knitted. I think she’s going to give it to her grandchildren to play with – how about that, Sneaky? Not sure it looks much like me, though, to be honest! Thanks for letting me meow to you and your friends. 
You’re very welcome, Oliver. Best whiskers to you and Sheila on your upcoming books.