Every year when we decorate the Christmas tree, I miss our first cat, Oliver. According to W, Oliver’s full name was Ollivander Cornelius, but we called him Oliver.

Oliver’s favorite thing in the world was sleeping underneath the Christmas tree. He loved string lights and would sit by them for hours. When we’d spread the decorations out before putting them up, he’d lay on top of it all.

Oliver was my first pet who felt like a real friend. I talked to him constantly, and he was always next to me. When I was sad, he’d nuzzle my face and sit with me. He’d wait at the top of the stairs for W to arrive home after work. He was the sweetest cat.

It broke our hearts when we had to have Oliver put to sleep because of horrible recurring health problems. We’d spent months rushing him to the vet in the middle of the night and trying expensive treatments and surgery. We knew he was suffering constantly, and in the end, letting him go was the right thing to do.

Last year, we bought an ornament on Shutterfly with an old picture of Oliver underneath a Christmas tree printed on the front. Now he’ll always be with us at the holidays, in his favorite spot.

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