I’ve been meaning about posting a blog about the passing of my very first pet, Calvin, but in the days following the event, I just didn’t have the heart to write. I’ve always had a love for animals, but I never really had a pet of my own growing up.

Sam, a stray cat that our piano teacher thought we should have against our dad’s objections, was really Krissy’s cat. I think I was a little angry at first that Krissy could adopt a cat, but then I quickly got over that when I realized that Krissy had to actually take care of the beast — scooping the litter box and feeding it. Then Dad adopted Princess, a blond cocker spaniel puppy from the local humane society. I loved Princess, but once again, she was really Dad’s dog. The only pet I had was a blue parakeet named Chirpy. I can’t remember if I cried when I saw Chirpy laying in his cage.

Calvin curled in Charlie's lap. Calvin loved laying down in his lap whenever Charlie was at the computer.

At the time I adopted Calvin, I was living with my friend, Heather, in a two-bedroom townhouse where the landlord allowed pets — cats and small dogs. For some reason, on my 29th birthday, she and I headed to the humane society to just “look” at the pets. I had no idea that I would actually apply to become a pet owner.

I looked at all of the caged cats at the humane society, getting all mushy, “Awww, look at this cute kitty.” I poked my fingers through Calvin’s cage, and Calvin was right there, waiting for the attention. I turned my attention to Heather, who was looking at some other cats, to say something to her when Calvin took the moment to feel me up. He stuck his paw out from his cage and patted me on the boob. I smile at that memory. After that, the rest was history.

I played with Calvin in the kitty room at the humane society and made up my mind to adopt him. I filled out the application and the next day Calvin was mine. Even with Heather in the house, I think he knew he was MY cat. Once when Heather and I were heading out to grab something to eat, Calvin was sitting on her bed. I wrinkled my nose at him and called him a traitor. When we came back home, he was back on my bed.

Calvin was a great cat. He was cuddly — he loved sitting on my lap when I was on the couch watching TV. He loved sleeping near me during the night. He was there at the door whenever I came home from work. He was affectionate and cuddly. He invaded my personal space a lot, but I didn’t mind too much. During the winter, he loved snuggling under the blanket with me. I miss my cat.

One of my favorite photos of Riley and Calvin napping together.

I decided to adopt Riley after Heather and I decided to get our own places. The thought of leaving Calvin all alone in my new apartment depressed me. Calvin needed a friend. Enter Riley. I loved watching my cats chase and wrestle with each other. Most of all, I loved watching them cuddle and sleep together. Wherever Calvin, Riley needed to be next to him. That was the only way Riley would sleep near me was if Calvin was already sleeping next to me.

Riley seems to be doing well with the loss — he’s a bit more cuddly and affectionate with me and Charlie. Not that Riley was ever the mean cat — he loved attention and liked to be petted but he doesn’t like to be held and he’s not a lap cat. But lately he’s more tolerant of being held, and he seeks more attention.

I’ve always loved animals, and I have no doubt in my mind that I will adopt another one. It’s just a matter of time. At first, Charlie and I decided that we will seriously discuss adopting another cat, but we nudged that date up to September when Charlie returns to school and has a bit of time to watch the interaction between Riley and the new kitty. Even though I’m still sad over losing Calvin, I look forward to giving my love, attention, and care to a cat who needs that attention and love.

Categories: Jennifer Elliott

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