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Sad Ending for my Calico Cat
My Calico Cat
I have almost always had a cat as a pet, and I love their independence, ease of care and their playfulness. Unfortunately, there are way too many cats in homeless shelters. As a responsible pet owner, getting your pets spayed or neutered is essential, unless you are in the breeding business I particularly like Calico cats and have owned two in the past; the first one (Muffin) got hit by a car, and the second one (Callegirl - I know the name is not too original) died of lung cancer when she was 7 years old. Each of these losses broke my heart as owning a pet over a period of time makes them just like a family member.
Calicos aren’t really a breed of cat, but the term calico refers to the genetic coloring of the fur. They are sometimes called “torties” due to their tortoise shell coloring. They are always female with very rare exceptions, as they have two X chromosomes. There is really no way to plan for a litter of calico kittens due to the XX chromosome factor.
Since Calicos are not a breed, they have no specific personality characteristic, so each cat might be a bit different. Calico cats are considered good luck in Japanese homes, and they are the State cat of Maryland. My first Calico was a one person cat and would sit on my lap but ignored most everyone else, however she was always gentle. Callegirl seemed to spend equal time with my husband and myself, but was not very friendly to others. She was so young and tiny when he brought her home to me in his shirt pocket one day. I had to teach her how to drink milk.
She was adorable. We had woods behind our home in GA where she loved to play. There were rabbits, squirrels, deer, birds, etc. which was plenty to keep her occupied. If I wanted her to come inside she would not necessarily respond to my calling, so I would shake her food dish while standing on the deck and it worked every time. She did not go into other yards, so I did not worry about her. I always kept her in at night. If her cat food dish was empty at night she used to walk up and down our bodies until someone got her food. She was a very prissy little cat, always grooming herself, at barely 8 pounds.
We moved to Jacksonville in 2000, and we still allowed her to be an outdoor cat during the day but indoor at night. She was always playful and she would climb our back fence and walk across the roof to the front and check out what we were doing if we happened to be working in the front of the house. She eventually started wandering on the street behind us and we quit letting her go outside, as I did not want to lose another cat.
When we had an addition built on our home so my mother could move it with us they did not seal in the roof correctly. It rained that night and one end of our living room ceiling collapsed, which produced a lot of particulates in the air, in addition to the horrendous mess, I believe that is why my little calico got lung cancer.
Therefore, we had to put Callegirl asleep about three months after my husband’s stroke. It was a miserable time, and it seemed like I cried all the time, which is not at all like me at all. Finally one day my husband said, “Please quit crying! I can’t stand to see you hurt any more.” We also had to put my mother's dog to sleep shortly thereafter, so everyone was dealing with grief on some level. Pets become just like a family member and when you lose them, it hurts.
Grief over the loss of a pet and grief over the physical changes that occurred to my husband, which changed our whole lifestyle, were overwhelming to me at that time, but time and faith does heal all wounds.
Tuxedo kittens at play
One Tall Cat
Life with Oscar
Finally, we went to the pet rescue and adopted a male Tuxedo cat, which had already been neutered. We named him Oscar (after my great grandfather). Tuxedo cats are also not a breed, but have 3 genetic coat patterns. He was about 2 or 3 months old but fairly large for his age and had big paws. I named him Oscar after my great grandfather. Tuxedo cats are sometimes called Jellicle cats which come from T. S. Elliot’s book, “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats: The Song of the Jellicles.”
He adapted to the litter box immediately as I decided I wanted him to be safe indoors all the time. I don’t believe in de-clawing cats and my husband was able to build a scratching post that butted up against the hearth and Oscar knew it was his. He’s never scratched the furniture. He loves everyone but he watches everything I do. He follows me around and will come if I call him. He weighs 16.5 pounds and has a big fluffy tail. He can be very vocal, almost like he is trying to talk, and he manages to let you know what he wants.
Oscar Sleep Anywhere
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I have never been around a more loving cat. Oscar curls up by me and sleeps most days. He loves to play little games and he brings much joy into all our lives. He is the first male cat I have owned, not by design, but just circumstance. I think we made a wonderful choice when we found him.Sure, I still miss my other cats and wish I had them all, but I am blessed to have found such a good cat in Oscar.
© 2011 Pamela Oglesby