If you’re a fan of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson, you may have an idea where our only male cat got his name. You might wonder though, why I named the cat after the human character, Calvin, instead of the more likely stuffed tiger Hobbes. But then if you met our Calvin, you would get it. He sports a mask and cape of black fur, and comes with a mischievous personality to match. He is Calvin, Stupendous Cat!
Calvin is one of our two black and white cats; he and his sister Elsa Clair, came to us as tiny kittens, after Dawn and Athena had done the hard work of training the dogs.
Calvin is a brave cat, an explorer who likes to discover new places.
Like on top of the medicine cabinet.
Or inside any box or cabinet.
Of course, there are times when he isn’t so brave, like when a new human appears in his house. The funny thing is, Calvin might not notice when a new person walks in the door–because he was Busy doing Important Cat Things like napping, for example. Then he’ll walk in a room, look up at the people–and realize one of them was not on the Approved By Calvin List. His eyes will grow big, his whole body stiffen, and then he’ll slowly back away, until he’s far enough to turn tail and run.
Once he gets to know people, he loves them. He’ll purr and rub and snuggle and walk all over them. If you make it to the top of his list, as a Favorite, then he’ll find a way to get on your shoulders. Where he’ll stay. You can eat dinner, read the paper, and start to clean up, and he’ll ride along, shoulder surfing with his paws hanging down on either side of your head like a live fur collar. He’ll purr in your ear, and is especially happy if you’re wearing glasses, so he can rub his face on them, knocking them askew until you look like a crazed professor. One thing to note, though: Calvin always climbs up on a person’s right side, walks behind the neck and hangs down on the left. If by mistake, he starts the shoulder walk on the left, he gets confused, stops halfway and jump down. It’s simply not The Way It’s Done.
An easygoing cat, Calvin also loves the dogs. If he happens to come upon Jasper, Lilah or Tucker on the floor or the couch, he’ll rub up against them and begin a symphony of expansive purring. Each of dogs has a different way of reacting. Lilah will see if she can clean his ears; usually Calvin doesn’t stay still long enough for that. The most patient with Calvin’s shenanigans, Lilah will tolerate silly Calvin as he rolls on his back and swats her; she’ll stay there, waiting for him to be done and she can extricate herself.
Jasper doesn’t understand the cats, so he usually wears a worried expression as Calvin’s long black tail snakes right under his snout. Calvin will usually do several rounds of tail-in-face rubbing with a concerned Jasper.
Tucker will sit still for only one or two Calvin rubs; Athena has put the fear of Cat into Tucker so well that if any cat gets too friendly, he’ll slink away and go hide somewhere safe. Tucker has learned that cats sometimes have sharp and pointy edges. The exception is if Calvin and Tucker are engaging in their favorite pastime of creature watching, looking out our family room window at birds, squirrels, chipmunks and other creatures that come to our backyard feeders.
Calvin loves his people, though, and hangs out with the humans.
He’s happy to help with any computer work, padding across the keyboard while someone is crafting an important document, or during an instant message exchange with a coworker. (What did I mean by “7∂ß≥≥≥≥≥≥≥≥≥≥≥?” I’ll have to ask my cat.)
Calvin has the tiniest meow of the four cats, yet it is so plaintive, so moving that anyone who hears it will stop whatever he or she is doing, just to pick him up and snuggle him. Which, of course, is his plan all along.