As you may recall, I once had a cat named Calico. Mrs. Fallon, the widow neighbor lady, who lived across the road and passed away a few years ago, was the reason I acquired Calico. She had cats. After she was gone, the cats ran wild. When Calico came to my house, I adopted her. We became good friends.
A year later, Calico got sick. I took her to the Vet in Lakeport. The Doctor tried her best to save her, but in spite of the Doctor’s best efforts, the illness laid poor Calico low.
I brought Calico home and gave my cat a fitting send-off. She was placed in a padded box in a place in my back yard on the hill beneath the big Oak Tree where she liked to sit sometimes to watch the birds.
After I said goodbye, I went to the SPCA in Lakeport to find another friend. That is when I found Cleo, the cat I have now. Cleo was too old to be a cute kitten, and nobody wanted her. I kept her because when I went to her cage to say hello, she nuzzled my hand. I had no choice. She picked me, and that was that.
Now my story gets complicated. Calico (my dear departed cat-friend) had a sister. After Mrs. Fallon died, that wild stray was on her own. I never saw her and didn’t know Calico had a sibling… until a year after I brought Cleo home.
One day last fall, when I looked out to my front porch, I saw a cat that looked like Calico. She didn’t look exactly the same as the first Calico, but there was a strong family resemblance. Mostly white, the new stray cat was colored with a couple of black patches and three auburn patches… just like Calico.
At first, I ignored the new cat. One cat was enough for me. Caring for Cleo was a full-time job. Being an easy mark and soft-hearted, this stray cat was smart enough to spot my weakness. She showed up again the next morning, and I put out a dish of kitty bits. Not only did the kitty bits disappear like ice cream at a kid’s party, but the new stray cat was also there the next morning, a smile on her furry face, ready for breakfast. I fed her again and, after a week, she was curious enough about where I lived to peer into my bedroom office each morning before breakfast.
When the rains came, I put a cardboard box on the porch. With a rag bed inside and a small hole for a door on one side, the new cat stayed there when it was wet or chilly.
Cleo watched the new cat but did not say a word to me about the arrangement. She kept her peace. I named the new stray cat Calico Two since she was Calico’s twin sister. When Calico Two and Cleo finally met on my front porch, they did not become friends. Instead, Cleo gave Calico Two a hard-eyed stare. She was jealous. There was one brief screaming match, but nobody got hurt. Thereafter they kept their distance from each other… but they tolerated one another, so there were no more fights or name-calling.
Calico Two sleeps at night on the porch, and Cleo sleeps on my bed. In the morning, Cleo walks on my head to tell me it is time for breakfast, and Calico Two peers through the sliding glass door of my bedroom office with the same message.
One house cat is enough for me. Calico Two remains a twenty-four-hour outdoor cat, and Cleo is an indoor Cat (excepts when she goes out to play). The three of us have attained equilibrium. My point, if this story deserves a point, is that animals are just as complicated as people.
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