Ollie and Olivia


Ollie is the National Zoo’s bobcat who recently made headlines by escaping her enclosure, possibly by crawling through a hole in the mesh fence, and disappearing for about three days until she was found back on the zoo’s campus near the Bird House. After she was spotted on zoo grounds, zoo staff set up a crate “trap” with “goodies” – and she walked into the trap and gobbled up some of the treats. Typical cat probably decided she was hungry and secretly missed her caretakers. Of course, then she had to go to the vet (where she was declared to be in good health after her adventures), which she probably hated like a typical cat would.

Olivia is one of my family’s housecats, or as she would have you believe, the empress of the world and queen of the jungle. Since her official first name is Olivia, it would be perfectly logical if, like the bobcat, she also went by Ollie, but instead we call her things like Moo Moo and Pretty Pretty Princess. She too has been known to escape, sometimes in the split second that the front door is open for a human to pass through, once by crawling under the cat fence. She always comes back a few hours later, when she decides she’s hungry and secretly misses her family. This all happens when she isn’t getting stuck in the ductwork in the ceiling, stealing her brothers’ food, or hissing at someone for existing in the same universe as her.

On the National Zoo’s website, I learned that Olivia is around the weight of the smallest bobcats, and the Zoo’s bobcat photos show a resemblance between Olivia and her bobcat relatives. (Olivia, being the prettiest girl in the universe, is of course more beautiful.) However, the Zoo states that bobcats “stalk their prey with unparalleled patience,” while Olivia is known to be quite impatient when she is ready for her breakfast or dinner.

In reading the articles on Ollie’s escape and return, it was clear how relieved and overjoyed zoo staff felt when she came back safe and sound. We humans who love our Olivia to the moon and back feel just as overjoyed to have her around.

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About Laura

Paralegal with Master of Arts in Teaching in Museum Education, frequent museum visitor, based in Washington, DC. I care about what museums can do, both in terms of public offerings and internal practices, to make the world a better place. I blog about museum education ("informed"), the social work of museums ("humane"), and visitor experience ("citizenry").
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