Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Tale of Maria Callico

About three weeks ago some small-souled lout dumped a half grown kitten at the end of our lane way. Such events are not unusual where we live, at the end of a sparsely populated country road. Last December a neighbour found four tiny kittens in a box in the snow and other neighbours have been gifted as well. So common is this that our local animal shelter is not taking in cats at all these days.

We did not see this poor little thing until she was almost starved and quite wild. We first spotted her under the bird feeder sniffing around in the seed husks. JG had just finished a bowl of berries and cream. He added more cream to the bowl and I took it outside. The cat ran for the woods beside our house when she saw me, but came back later and lapped up her treat (and yes, I have since been told firmly not to feed dairy products to cats). We refilled the bowl with leftover chicken from supper and she reappeared and ate that.

The next day it poured with rain and we spotted the kitten sheltering under the eaves of the garage across from the house. I put out more meat where she could see the bowl and that food, too, disappeared. So did the cat. We have an old cabin that we used before we built the house and we figured she was sheltering there. Next day the ED and family visited and Miss G and her mother soon had the cat out, on their laps and named. Game over, but I struggled. After a quarter century of looking after animals, I did not want another. We phoned all the neighbours. The YD, who had also fallen for the cat, put out an advertisement among her friends. No one wanted a kitten.

Because she is a calico, Miss G named her Callee and I expanded that to Maria Callico (after Maria Callas, a famous diva of the sixties) because this cat has a shattering C above high C shriek when she wants something to eat. And she wants it often. She has also turned into a bit of a diva. At first she ate anything but as her condition improved she started to reject cat kibble. After she had ignored a bowl of nice kibble for two days (while leaving bits of chipmunk and mouse strewn around the cabin site) I gave in and bought tins of cat food. This she approves of. As well she is now the proud owner of a fluffy cat bed, a litter box, a cat carrier and an appointment with the vet.

On Saturday Shammy, the YD's large white dog, joined us for a week. She regards Callee with resigned indifference, refuses to drink water out of Callee’s pottery bowl and demands her own stainless dish, and appears to roll her eyes when Callee shrieks. Callee has decided that Shammy's kibble tastes just fine (and has tried to claw a corner out of the bag), that cleaning up Shammy's dish is good fun and that Shammy's water tastes better. However, when she left a bit of breakfast this morning, Shammy got that, so honours are about even.

On Thursday this ménage will become larger with the addition of Miss G herself, who will be here for ten days while her parents go to conferences. She will, of course, have her own bowls and diet, but may end up sharing her bed.


  1. The best part about this story, Mary, is the name you've given the cat. Good luck. Another summer adventure well begun.

  2. I love it! :) And good thing that stranger dropped the cat off at your place not down the road where I happen to know strays like that might get shot at... Sounds like you will have a busy summer! :)

  3. So, you have been adopted by a cat! Lucky you. Thank you for rescuing her. She found you at a time when, perhaps, you both needed each other. I hope you will become great friends.

  4. I can't fathom people who abandon their pets like. Meanwhile, we are having a cat infestation in this neighbourhood, and I'm sure you would be glad to help out.