THE STORY OF "MOO"
And the possible non-involvement of a Hollywood mogul
2006


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They say dog have owners, but cats have staff. Dogs, with their goofball hedonism and hyperkinetic antics, are the Iggy Pops of domesticated animals. Cats, with their offbeat mystique, are the Eartha Kitts.

All things considered, I prefer cats over dogs.

One night last week my wife was walking the dog, and some cat ran up and began rubbing up against both of them. The thing seemed oblivious to the threat from other animals, and from the traffic as well. Considering coyotes and raccoons hang out in this neighborhood, this clueless kitty appeared ready to exhaust all nine lives in no time flat.

“Look what I found!” said my wife, a veteran of many an animal-rescue, when she returned home. The cat promptly started rubbing against me, purring and making itself quite at home.

We then embarked on mission to track down the owner, a quest that turned out to be more quixotic than quick. Our feline find had no collar, but we discovered a tattoo code in its ear. My wife placed a call to the local vet and discovered that the mystery pet, which had black and white Jersey-cow markings, had indeed been a patient there. He was a year old, neutered, and named “Moo.” Yet the vet’s office wouldn’t divulge any information about Moo’s owners, citing — and I’m not making this up — doctor/patient confidentiality. Annoyed, my wife called the local animal shelter, which not only had him on record, but were ready to rat out the owner.

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“Do you know who Michael Ovitz is?” she called out to me, cupping the phone to her hand as Moo nuzzled her neck. Yes, I replied, if it was THE Michael Ovitz, the legendary Hollywood star-maker. The animal welfare shelter people told us what street Moo live on, some blocks away, but would not divulge an address or phone number, only telling us in a return call that the line was out of service.

We then did what any sensible person would under these circumstances. We googled the guy. A Hollywood superagent, Mike Ovitz reigned over the Creative Artists Agency from 1975 to 1995, leaving to become No. 2 at Disney Corporation under Michael Eisner. Ovitz got the heave-ho in short order, but his fall was softened by a megamillion dollar golden parachute. The trade magazine Variety reported a $109 million payout, with $120 million in stock options.

Of course, we had no idea if we had our man or not, but it seemed quite possible, given the rarity of the surname. We discovered through Canada 411 there are no listed Ovitz’s in Canada. It’s not even a common name in the US; my wife only found a few dozen across the US. (She even contacted an Ovitz in California in the dim hope he might be related to mystery Mike.). The plot was thickening. It’s not like we lived in an exclusive area. What would a former mogul worth megamillions be staying in these parts? And why would he or his factotums up and leave without Moo?

“So what do we do now?” I asked my wife, as the lanky cat stretched out on the couch with a look of La-La Land entitlement. “Guess we just sit and wait, and see if this guy calls,“ E. replied. “The animal welfare people had said they would go to the residence to alert the owner — if he was still there.”

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“Moo“ is pretty much Mike Ovitz’s initials. Who else but a Hollywood bigwig would brand a pet in this manner? By now I was having vivid fantasies about the outcome of this animal rescue project, imagining Ovitz and his peeps arriving in a stretch Hummer and knocking at the front door. The man turns out to be a pussycat himself. “There is no way I can repay you for this,” he says tearfully as he cradles Moo in his well-tanned arms, the sun gleaming off his Rolex. “Actually, I take that back. Go ahead, name your price, I’m a very wealthy man.” I humbly respond that’s it’s not for me to attach a number to a man’s gratefulness, that accountancy was more his bag. The fantasy then dissolves into a scene of E. and I relaxing in Arindorack chairs on a beach in Barbados, knocking back sangrias while we flip through a script for our comedy/drama TV series,“Rescue Moo.”

To make a long story a shorthair cat, Moo is a great pet with loads of personality, and he looks like an accident in an ink factory, to boot. He is healthy but has zero street smarts, obviously having been a house cat most of his life. He is very playful, and has an indiscriminate sense of affection for anything that moves. It’s been a week now, with no calls from any Ovitz, and the damn animal is growing on me. Looks like we're stuck with the little freak of nature.


Geoff Olson