We don’t know exactly how old Calvin is because he adopted us. Or, to be completely truthful, I helped him adopt us. I still remember the first time I saw him. I couldn’t have been more than 8 at the time. I was riding my bike down Countrybrook Lane and there was this white and orange spotted tomcat with a crook in his tail moseying up the center of the street like he owned it. Of course I stopped to pet him, and unafraid, he came right on up and put his head under my hand. I managed to get him to follow me home. And then I managed to convince my mom to give him some food. Mission accomplished.
It turns out Calvin had been roaming through our little neighborhood for a week or so, taking handouts from various neighbors. My friend Mario, who lived on the hill, had named the cat Spike, but I dubbed him Calvin and it stuck. There really hasn’t been a friendlier cat than this one. His patience and good humor were most uncatlike. But woe to the errant tomcat who arrived on his turf [and Calvin’s turf was HUGE].
That’s how his ear got all crinkly. As a result from a catfight he got a big bloodclot in his ear, and when it was lanced, it just kind of folded over on him. I cleaned him and patched him up many times after his battles.
I used to “train” Calvin to be a good fighter. I’d put him in a pillowcase and swing him around, I’d throw him up in the air and catch him, I’d tie him up in string and make him figure out how to get himself free. I’m convinced that he loved it, because he’d claw at me a bit, but only playfully.
Calvin was also an amazing hunter. In his prime he weighed somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 pounds, and none of it was fat. I once clocked him at 22 miles per hour as he kept pace with my car. He was glad I was home from school.
He’d catch chipmunks, birds and the occasional mole [moles were Hobbes’s specialty], but his favorite prey was rabbit. The ground would rumble when he approached at a gallop. He’d follow us on walks and would make friends with any person or pet.
In the winter his favorite thing was to lay on top of the heat vent in the kitchen and sleep all day.
He went missing for a week or so a few Christmases back, and we were convinced that he was dead, but it turns out he was only locked in someone’s garage, and he returned, skinny but clean. Now he’s really gone.
I’ll miss you, dude.