Happy Birthday, Callie! Our wonderful calico cat is 20 years old today, which, translated, is 100 in people years. The average cat’s life expectancy is 12-14 years, but nobody would ever accuse our Callie of being average. She’s a cat with “personality,” and that’s putting it lightly.
As a kitten, she immediately knew who the mom of the family was. On her second night with us, I woke up to her standing by my side of the bed, looking up at me and meowing frantically. “What? What is it?” I asked her. She looked at me like the upset little baby she was and threw up. The poor thing felt sick and didn’t know what to do about it. I cleaned up the mess and brought her back to bed to cuddle – and she was very happy.
Callie is known for her mischievousness. When we were having our two-story foyer wallpapered, she somehow managed to climb the scaffolding, much to the work crew’s astonishment. We had wars over her being on the kitchen counter. I’d put down two-sided tape to thwart her and she’d carefully walk around it. I’d take a few steps toward the kitchen from another room and could hear her jump down from the counter seconds before I could catch her in the act. She sometimes waited for my daughter to climb the stairs and then she’d pounce at her feet, chasing her “sister” up the stairs to bed. She had her share of stuffed mice and cat nip and, in her youth, she could spend hours playing with a piece of dangling string.
She was our chief bug catcher for years. If she happened to be sleeping and I found a spider, I’d go and get her and she’d take care of it for me. Most times, she found the flies and spiders herself and made sure to keep our home bug-free. There was even a brief period when we had a little problem with field mice. Our dear (declawed) darling would catch them all and would proudly bring them to us for our approval.
She knew the difference, though, between mice and the cute little chameleons my son kept as pets. When one little lizard escaped and was missing for over a week, we feared he’d met his match in Callie. Suddenly, one day, we were watching television and Callie came and stood right in front of us all. Upon closer inspection, we noticed a squirming object being held daintily in her mouth. It was Einstein the lizard! She’d found him and was bringing him back to us. She handed the booty over (he lost his tail from fright) and she received a heaping handful of kitty treats for her honorable behavior.
Callie is still in fairly good health. She has a little high blood pressure, is partially blind and has the beginnings of kitty dementia, but all in all is doing well. She travels back and forth from Missouri to Wisconsin with us, enduring the eight-hour car trip like a champion. She adjusts to two houses and two vets and is happiest when all of her people are home, chatting, and she gets to sit on someone’s lap right in the middle of things.
Tonight, Callie Lou, we’re having shrimp, your favorite, and you will get your own whole piece to celebrate your amazing life and to show you how blessed we’ve been to have you as a member of our family. No champagne toast, though – at least not this year. You’ve got one more year before you’re legal.