Sunday, October 16, 2005

Who killed Calvin the cat?

I was riding my bike home from work last week when I saw this Lady Diana-like shrine set up down the street from my apartment building.

Before I skidded to a stop and jumped off my bike to take a closer look, I knew something horrible had happened to Calvin.

The explanation, right there in large black type, confirmed my worst fears. Calvin was dead -- killed by a hit-and-run driver on October 7.

I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. I didn’t even know his name was Calvin. I just knew him as the beautiful, friendly cat that lived on the corner of Cardero and Comox streets. He was always outside, usually writhing on his back in ecstasy while having his stomach rubbed or his ears scratched by some random passerby.

Calvin was my kind of cat. The kind of cat that thinks he’s a dog. Not only was he unafraid of strangers, he went out of his way to nuzzle his head against the leg of anyone who walked by.

If you stopped and stayed for a while, he’d wrap his body around you and purr like a purr-machine (okay, that’s not a very good analogy but I couldn’t think of anything better).

If Calvin could talk, he’d say, "Here I am. Love me."

The spontaneous outpouring of flowers and poems and teddy bears and photos for the laid-back little guy is a testament to how many lives he touched.

I rode the rest of the way home that night with tears in my eyes. Calvin had a special place in my heart because his affectionate and trusting nature reminded me of my own cat, Buddy. Well, technically Buddy was our neighbour’s cat but she spent more time at our place. So I think of her as mine. In her heart, she knew who her real owner was (me).

Goodbye, sweet Calvin. You will be missed.

Photo credits: My friend Dominic took these pictures of Calvin’s shrine this afternoon. He called today, asking if I needed anything like lozenges or ice cream to ease my strep throat. I told him I needed someone to take some pictures of the shrine because I was too sick to leave the apartment. (Actually, I didn’t want to leave the apartment because it was pouring rain but I didn’t tell him that.) So out Dom went in the pouring rain to snap some frames. He doesn’t even like cats. What a guy!

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