Eulogy for Calvin

CalvinToday my cat Calvin is get­ting euth­a­nized. I’m okay with that, since he is with­er­ing away, incon­ti­nent and like­ly senile. He’s lived a life that any cat would be proud of and I’m going to tell you about it.

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.

9 Replies

  • I’m sor­ry to hear about your cat, but — he did live a long hap­py life. I went through the same thing last year as the last of my child­hood cats died at 18.

  • May Calvin make his way to the big vat of cat­nip in the sky.

    I’m so sor­ry Adam, but it sounds like he had a won­der­ful life with your fam­i­ly. More cats (and fam­i­lies) should be so lucky.

  • Shalom Adam,

    My sis­ter had a gray tab­by (named Tab­by, of course) that in his prime prob­a­bly weighed in at 22 pounds. He was strict­ly an out­door cat and watch­ing him was like hav­ing your own per­son­al Mutu­al of Omaha’s Wild King­dom.

    He would stalk rab­bits and once brought home one so big that he had to stop every five feet or so to take a break as he dragged it from the hol­low up to the garage. The rab­bit was a full-grown buck and had put up quite a fight.



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