Oskar The Blind Cat In Memoriam

Oskar The Blind Cat In Memoriam by Layla Morgan Wilde

It’s with profound sadness to share a personal tribute to one-and-only Oskar the blind cat. May he rest in peace and may his memory be a blessing. To Oskar’s cat dad Mick, his cat mom Bethany, his human sisters Faye and Fern and to Oskar’s feline sidekick and best bro Klaus, we mourn with you. 

I’d been planning to post a fun and breezy article about my meeting with Oskar The Blind Cat weeks ago but life got extra busy and now it’s too late. I will share a few memories with a gentle reminder to not take anything for granted. Carpe diem.

The online cat community burst into collective tears and ripples of shock yesterday when the news broke. Oskar, a seemingly healthy tabby born in 2011 died suddenly of an apparent heart attack in his home surrounded by his family in Seattle. A beloved cat with a large following, Oskar was born blind with the genetic condition microphthalmia. His eyes never fully developed but he remained blissfully unaffected. He navigated his world as if sighted with a sunny happy-go-lucky vibe that inspired love and laughter to fans of all ages. Advocating for differently-abled pets and kids, creative muse for many award-winning children’s books (including in braille), and zany videos have delighted and inspired millions.

Cat lovers all over the world have the biggest hearts. We laugh, coo and aw over over millions of cat photos and videos of cats famous or not. The joy we feel is documented to relieve stress. The madness of the world subsides for a few moments and we understand that time spend with cats is never wasted. We feel many popular cats like Oskar to be one of the family and delight in their day-to-day adventures. When illness strikes, we worry and send purrs galore. When the unthinkable happens like an unexpected death we mourn them as we would our own, even if we’ve never met.

I’d met Mick and Bethany Szydlowski a few times over the years but didn’t meet Oskar in person until a couple months ago. Mick and Oskar were in New York for an appearance and I wanted to hand deliver a copy of Black Cats Tell All: True Tales And Inspiring Images. There is a blurb on the back cover by Oskar.

blackcatstellall_cover_Oskar_blind_cat

Mick has always been kind and generous. He embodies what the Oskar and Klaus brand is all about: making a difference in the lives of pets and those who love them. Their message is about not judging a book by its cover, whether someone is visually or invisibly different. Oskar demonstrated that disabled pets can and do live happy lives.

Oskar blind cat rip
Oskar sniffed and instantly detected the catnip inside the envelope.

On a gloomy Sunday evening in late November I arrived at the hotel, frankly not expecting more than a quick hello. I knew Mick would be exhausted from a long day beginning with a TV appearance with Oskar early that morning and a meet and greet at PetCon. My mother had died recently and this was my first outing to the city from the suburbs and feeling crappy. The moment I saw Oskar, I was transported into another world. As someone who has worked professionally with cats for 20 years, I instantly recognized the magic and promptly forgot he was blind and my crappy mood.

All cats are special but a few exist in their own stratosphere. Oskar was one out of this world cat.

I followed his cues and observed him at first from a chair as he played with a catnip mouse I’d brought. He’d had a long day of meet and greets and didn’t want to over stimulate him.  Oskar used his tail, ears and whiskers with the finesse of a maestro. He pounced and deftly played hunter supreme while Mick and I chatted. There is always so much catch up to do and before you could say meow, two hours had flown by. I marveled at how soft Oskar’s spotted tabby coat was and waited some time before he decided to bestow a kiss on me. Bliss.

I’ve met many famous cats and Oskar was by far the most relaxed, self-contained and sovereign.  Maybe it was because was earthy Taurus born in the heartland of Nebraska.  Who knows but whether playing, jumping on and off the hotel bed, nibbling some food, visiting the travel-sized litter box in the bathroom all was as natural as if he were at home. He’d mastered the art of being fully present 24/7, comfortable in his fur and utterly at home anywhere. It’s a rare gift for any species.

Out of respect for Oskar and Mick I did not spend more a minute taking a few shots in low light and no flash. No selfies. No Facebook or Instagram live stories. For me the joy was being in the moment simply hanging out. We made plans to see one another on their next trip this spring but fate had other plans.

Mick’s friend Adam, the photographer known for his stunning photography and Bengal cat @professorpouncey hung out with us a while later. He snapped a couple shots of me and Oskar. I doubt either of us thought they would be some of the last shots not taken by Mick.  We’d discussed Oskar’s health earlier. His energy seemed fine but my intuition flashed on something dark but I waved it away.  There are times when being an empath is an welcome gift and safer to shut down.

 

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Oskar on the trail of literacy or maybe catnip. Books and cats forever.

Having experienced both many times, it’s hard to say whether a gradual decline is easier to grieve than a sudden death. I will say Oskar has left a big heart-shaped hole that only love will fill. There is no better way to honor and heal loss than by taking action and expressing emotion. Feel your feelings. Journal or use a coloring book.  Leave a comment or share this post. Light a candle in Oskar’s memory, volunteer or donate to your favorite animal cause or shelter, purchase books or merchandise that gives back to causes like the shop from Oskar and Klaus.

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Oskar The Blind Cat RIP

Oskar won the hearts of all that met him. Some hearts they say are too big to stay long on this planet. I’d like to think Oskar has another mission and a further purpose yet untold. For now, farewell dear Oskar, until we meet again. You are forever loved. I end with a few words of wisdom from Rumi.

“…Walk with grief like a good friend. Listen to what he says. Sometimes the cold and dark of a cave give the opening we most want.” “Be concentrated and leonine in the hunt for what is your true nourishment. Don’t be distracted by blandishment-noises, of any sort.”

If you love cats, do share :-)

119 thoughts on “Oskar The Blind Cat In Memoriam”

  1. I hadn’t followed Oskar and Claus for the past few years. I had the sudden thought to google him.

    I am saddened from what I discovered

    I met Claus and Oskar at a cat show in Seattle. Oskar was so curious about everything…yet Klaus seemed annoyed. “What about me!?!” 😉 All the competition, I suppose.

    How does one fill the void?

  2. My heart aches for Oskar… Just going up and down reading every story I could find on Oskar and how much of a loving, and caring cat he was. I am weeping for Oskar tonight, you will be missed sweet friend… 🙁

  3. It is heart-breaking whenever one of our cats goes to Cat Heaven. The only consolation is in knowing that you gave your pet all the love you could, and it couldn’t have wanted for more.

  4. I am so sorry about Oskar’s passing. I know how you feel, my cat passed away last September. When I got her ashes back. They included a poem called -Rainbow Bridge . It helped with my sadness. I wish my best to you,

  5. It is so profoundly hard to lose a family member, Oskar was VERY SPECIAL. The world will miss him…………

  6. Oskar was an inspiration to me and because of him, we have our Pete. Two years ago, we discovered a 3 week old kitten in our back yard
    who had been rejected by his mother. I thought of Oskar and knew that the little baby deserved a chance, so we rescued him and took him to the vet. We struggled for weeks to save that special little boy we named Pete. Despite having seizures, which are controlled by medication twice a day, and being totally blind, Pete is our little miracle boy. He will turn 2 in April all because Oskar inspired us to give a chance to a kitten with special needs.

  7. Oh, I have a heart-shaped whole, too! Most favorite on-line cat ever. His baby kitty videos stole my heart and then, him & Klaus playing together took it forever. My heart is broken.

  8. You are so right about how a small being with a handicap can bring such a Big influence in a Large world. I followed his journey on Facebook and was so Envious and yet Happy that Mick and Bethany had the opportunity to Love him and Share him with the World. I have 2 cats and can’t imagine coming home to an empty house. He will most certainly be missed but made the most of his existence.

    1. Michael, the fear of the empty house if why I’m seeing more and earlier adopting. Cats aren’t replaceable but sometimes a new right one shows up on cue. There is such a surplus of need and love to give so why not.

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  10. Rest in peace dear Oskar. Your photos and videos of you brough so much warmth and joy to my life. His passing rocked me to my core. He had given so much but still had so much more to give. I’m going to miss you so much Oskar . I want to get books about you and other special needs cats. My thoughts and prayers go out to Oskar’s entire family. God bless you and may sweet Oskar watch over you everyday. RIP Oskar.

  11. Some 5+ years ago while we had our first cat, I came across a video on YouTube, it was about a a blind cat named “Oscar”. This simple video changed my life in a very profound way. Myself and my wife Riina took it upon ourselves to do more for cats of the word (or at least where we live), our first rescue cat was a one eyed cat named “Will” through Sally (now Mittens I believehttps://www.facebook.com/groups/433423816840870/ ). But this was not enough, so we became fosterers for SHUA,
    and from there we have gone on to help many kittens become home ready and further on to their new homes.

    And may it long continue, because there are still loads we want to do and needs to be done.

    ALL this from one simple little YouTube video about a blind cat named “Oscar”. Unfortunately we found out today the very sad news that Oscar passed away and it feels like we have lost one of our very own cats.
    I just want it known that HE and his family changed our lives and I am sure many many more.
    He will never be forgotten, run free over rainbow bridge Oscar…….

    Carl & Riina Harwood (Wales, U.K.)

  12. My profound sympathies to Mick, Bethany & family at the loss of their beloved Oskar. Is there a preferred shelter that I can donate to in Oskar’s name? His special light will be sorely missed; very sad that he is gone from this plane. ?

  13. Having lost two of my babies last year, one sudden and one expected, I can only imagine the heartbreak and devestation Oskar’s family is feeling. I lost a kitty Duchess in the same way back in 2001 and it is an experience I will never forget. The absolute helplessness then shock you feel is overwhelming. I do not wish the experience on anyone.
    I am heartbroken as I have followed Oskar since his first days on social media and was smitten with his antics and smarts. Why a special, dynamic boy had to be taken so soon I don’t know. Why are any taken so soon? I hope Klaus will be okay as well as his little human sisters. Fly free sweet boy, you will live on in many hearts.

    1. Oh, I’m so glad you stopped by. I know you as I have endured much loss. It’s awful to feel helpless or wonder if we could have done more but I believe we have a destiny and higher purpose.

  14. I am so saddened to hear of Oskars passing! I loved following his amazing and adventurous life. He lived a life unlike most cats could ever dream of. May you find comfort in knowing that he was one of the lucky ones with a loving family and following. May God now embrace Oskar in his arms and give him site and love. Thinking of you.

  15. Bless this little one. Run free little one. I remember his first video I seen of him an his story an have followed him. I will miss you Oscar an meet up with you an rest of you

  16. Again, tearing up when I read this. Being a mom of a blind cat we adopted from Puerto Rico makes it so understandable of the love we have for these disabled furry children. I can’t imagine my life without Boqueron. Reading the tales of Oskar, is what encouraged me to adopt a blind cat as well. Knowing they can live a cat life to its fullest. Sorry Oskar passed so suddenly. He seemed like such an amazing cat. I can only try to understand the pain you are feeling. I’m sure he’s watching over all of you and his best friend Klaus. RIP Oskar.

  17. Ty for sharing a beautiful Memorial and time spent with him. We all may have not met him in person but we all felt his love.

  18. So beautifully written, said as the tears run down my face. Oskar and Klaus were a daily inspirtation to me. Never to have met him, living on the opposite coast it Canada I adored them from afair. Thank you.

  19. As a cat lover your words moved me…
    As an Oskar’s faraway online follower I feel represented. My family has already suffered the loss of two of our furred members. It’s something hard to face as they are part of our hearts…
    I never knew Oskar however I was able to perceive how special he was. He will not be forgotten…

  20. How is Klaus handling these changes? I well remember Neffer riding on my back as I used to clean his room at The Cat House. He is also an empathic cat.
    I know that heart searing pain of loss of our pets. Hug each other.

  21. Thank you very much for your tribute to Oskar. I love seeing his picture along with Klaus. I work in an animal and we had a tiny 3 year 3 pound cat come in that had eye issues. They were removed and I fell in love. Her name is Sullivan. She absolutely amazes me at the things she does. I also over the years have adopted black cats.

  22. Luckily, I had the opportunity to meet Oskar and his family a few times over the last few years. He and Klaus both accepted strangers with dignity and grace. Oskar’s too short life has left a lasting legacy of caring and acceptance of cats with “differences” that will go on and on.

  23. That last picture; so erri ?❤️?. Maybe he hitched a ride with the red car in ? ? and will eternally be up there looking down waving to his mom and dad AND Klaus.

  24. Thank you for the wonderful article. Of course if made me start crying yet again. Great love and great grief are inseparable. I never met Oskar but I was blessed to love him

  25. That last photo of him walking towards the door speaks volumes.
    To “cheer” us all up, maybe he ” hitched a ride” on the car ? that went to the heavens yesterday and will be out there for billions of years?❤️??

  26. Beautiful words. Made me tear up again! He will be missed by so many and I envy the fact that you got to meet him in person.

  27. You post moved me to tears. Thank you for sharing your time with Oskar. I felt I as there as you told us about how he sniffed and navigated. He did what we all want to do – he changed lives and he made more people love cats

    1. Marjorie, I join you in tears of solidarity. I’ve been leaky-eyed as I’ve responded to every comment. And yes, Oskar inspired by example. It’s what you do with your whole heart and I love you for it. It’s what we all can do by just doing what we can with what we have and where we are. No matter how small. This is a continuation of my long response to the previous comment.xoxox

  28. Lovely, thanks. Most of us can’t be as expressive in writing. Oskar was beloved by thousands and all are mourning his untimely passing.

    1. Judy, the most valuable expression is to simply make one. Of all the comments, yours stopped me in my tracks in a huge light bulb moment. While it’s true not everyone is a good with words everyone has a unique gift of expression. The act of doing is more important than perfection. I’d rather get an imperfect handmade card or gift than none at all. I wonder how many others read and wanted to comment and didn’t because they compared themselves to others? One word is better than none. It turns the invisible suddenly visible. That is how anything meaningful happens. We need to remove the shackles of limiting thoughts from our childhood, the inner voices that whisper, “you can’t draw or write or sing or dance or whatever”. We are adults now and we can re-write out our stories and dance our unique expression of who we are. So, thank you for inspiring me and perhaps someone else who inspires someone else and…

  29. I just shared his Facebook page with my fiance last week and was telling her how I followed this wonderful feline for years. He made me smile so many times. He’ll be missed.

  30. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you. I never knew I would cry so much for a darn cat I didn’t even meet. 🙂 RIP Oskar. You will always be loved & remembered.

  31. Oh, what heartbreaking news! Thank you, Layla for this lovely tribute to dear Oscar. He is surely watching over all those who are mourning his loss and missing him terribly. RIP sweet boy.

  32. What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful friend. We miss you Oskar. I hope everyone who mourns him does something to help a cat in his memory!

    1. Wendy, many thanks and imagine if everyone did just that what an amazing accomplishment. Truly life changing on a global scale. We are a tiny speck in the digital landscape but a tiny spark can create a volcano of change.

  33. thank-you for such a beautiful essay. I have been following Oskar and Klaus since the beginning. My own heart is a swiss cheese full of little holes of departed wonderful cats, it has another now…..

  34. I am probably the only cat lover that didn’t follow Oskar but I share in your grief for a kitty that was taken much too soon. Your beautiful memorial taught me so much about Oskar and the love that his family and friends had for him. What a special kitty and your tribute was heartfelt and superb. I am so deeply sorry.