Oliver the cat's best friend was an elderly sheep [PHOTO]
Oliver's favorite place to hang out was on Ada's back, and she didn't seem to mind.
Sometimes living creatures form hard-to-explain connections transcending age, appearance, and even the ability to see and hear.
Or such was seemingly the case with Oliver the cat and Ada the sheep, two Alexandria-area farm animals that became the unlikeliest of best friends.
Oliver is a tomcat who farm owners Terry and Kathy Sletto sent away from their farm to stay with a friend one summer a few years ago. Upon his return, Oliver developed a cuter-than-cute relationship with Ada -- an elderly, nearly deaf and blind sheep -- that Kathy says was unlike anything she's seen in her decade of raising animals.
Feline and ovine developed a serious bond, and Oliver hardly left Ada's side. With the arrival of the cold, the chilly cat decided that Ada's wool would make a cozy blanket. So he started hopping up on her back and making his home there.
"He rode around on her back," Kathy said. "It was like an electric blanket for him to sit up there on the wool."
At first, the Slettos felt sorry for Ada. They thought Oliver was being insensitive and was taking advantage of her warm body. But then they noticed the standoffish cat appeared to have feelings for the sheep.
"He would groom her, lick her face, he was really affectionate with her," Kathy said. "It was a two-way deal there."
But the adoration tomcat and sheep had for each other was destined to end. Sadly, Oliver and Ada only had a few short months together before she left for greener pastures in the sky.
Inspired by the seemingly unconditional cat-on-sheep love, Kathy penned an essay entitled "Oliver the Shepherd" that is being published in a new book entitled The Animal Anthology Project: True Tales. Here's an excerpt from Kathy's essay:
"I've learned a lot about shepherding from Oliver. Watching Oliver at work reminds me to be patient, and to let things happen in their own time. Sometimes one needs to just stand back and wait for things (animals, crops, ideas) to mature. Oliver knows that, and he gives himself and others plenty of space and time and the grace to just let things evolve. He doesn't hurry and he doesn't worry. He watches. He waits. He rests. He says little. And he accepts a ride when he can get one."
All proceeds from the anthology go to charity. If you're interested in checking it out, click here.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.