Calvin is one of our patients and this is his amazing true story!
At age 16, JK’s first job was a summer construction job in southern San Diego. While installing fences, a large, white, female cat would sit and watch him until he finished his work. Eventually, in an attempt to get his attention she would use her claws to scale his body and would then perch on his shoulders. She was an extraordinarily affectionate cat.
Soon it became apparent that she was pregnant, and her appearance was unhealthy and malnourished. He was concerned and brought her canned food for the ensuing month every Monday thru Friday. Each day she would eat ravishingly from his hand.
One day she did not greet JK upon his arrival. This continued for approximately two weeks. Finally, on a scorching hot afternoon JK decided to search for his feline companion. He discovered her hidden near a dumpster with 5 newborn kittens… two white kittens, an orange tabby kitten and two siamese kittens. (Apparently female cats are capable of simultaneous impregnation from several different male cats).
She was unable to nurse the 5 kittens, walk or hunt for food. It appeared that the mother was surviving on garbage scraps. JK was concerned not only for the mother, who apparently belonged to a neighbor, but for the starving kittens as well.
JK made the decision to save the kittens and allow the mother to care for herself. He carefully wrapped the 5 kittens up in his t-shirt and brought them home for his mother to nurse back to health. He knew that she could not refuse or resist the suffering creatures.
His mother bathed the flee infested kittens and set up a nursery in the bathroom. She fed each of them by hand until they were strong enough to eat on their own volition. At the approppriate time she had all 5 spade and neutered. The two white cats were named Romeo and Juliet. Romeo was handsome and large. Juliet was clever with small, delicate facial features and eyes that looked directly into yours, as if she understood your every thought. However, after their first visit to the vet they discovered that Juliet was a boy…thus Juliet and Romeo were renamed. Juliet became Calvin and Romeo was renamed Hobbs.
JK and his family kept the two white male kittens (Calvin and Hobbs), and took the other three to the Humane Society where they were quickly adopted.
Calvin and Hobbs lived with them for 8 years. Jk had gone to college, graduated and returned to San Diego for Law School. He married his college sweetheart and consequently moved to Irvine…where they both practiced law.
His parents divorced. His mother was left to care for their two ninety pound dogs as well as Calvin and Hobbs (each weighing in at 20 pounds). Unfortunately, his mother was moving into a small rental and could only take one pet. She reluctantly found a home in San Diego for the 2 cats with a friend of a friend. ..who promised to love them dearly and call if her situation changed.
In 2011, JK and his new bride, Meg, made the decision to volunteer at the local animal shelter. The second day of volunteering JK walked by a cage with a large, gray or white (difficult to decipher due to the dirt), male cat that was about 10 years of age. He looked so familiar that JK had to take a second glance.
The cat had all the same characteristics of his old pet, Calvin. He had a long, slender face, scar on the nose, small black patch on the forehead, same attitude and personality, extremely affectionate, same size, same age. The signs were all there. Could Calvin have appeared years later in an OC animal shelter …where JK just happened to be volunteering? Calvin had been adopted in southern San Diego, at least 150 miles south. Could it be Calvin? It seemed impossible. It was difficult to be certain. This cat was emaciated, sick, dirty and difficult to identify.
Three days later, on Mothers day, he informed his Mom of the situation. Since she knew Calvin best, she insisted that she must to go see if it was him. JK resisted, remarking that it was probably not Calvin and it would be upsetting to her. However, JK’s mother was relentless and after several hours JK conceded and they drove to the shelter.
Upon viewing and playing with the cat, his mother was 100% certain it was him. She insisted that she pay for a vet to check the cat and the adoption fees. She wanted to adopt him and bring him home…or preferably sneak him into her condo where pets were not accepted.
There was still some doubt with JK and everyone else that this cat could actually be Calvin. It was difficult to recognize him in his current state. Yet JK’s Mom was adamant and insisted that even if it were not Calvin…the cat must be adopted and removed from his deplorable conditions (a tiny cell of a cage.. not large enough to stand properly).
As JK already had two cats in an apartment that allowed NONE, he knew that he could not adopt him. To make the matter worse, his mom had just signed a lease which also excluded owning any animals.
On Thursday the 12th, JK’s mom asked him to physically check on the cat and inform the shelter that she wanted to adopt him but could not do so until the following week. JK contacted the shelter to relay the request from his mother. He left a message that his Mom would either donate the adoption fees and/or pay to adopt the cat. When JK heard back from the shelter employee, she informed him that Calvin was in very bad shape and was scheduled to be euthanized the following day, Friday the 13th.
Needless to say, JKs Mom paid the adoption fees and begged him to pick up Calvin immediately. She instructed him to drive the cat to RSF as soon as possible. JKs Mom agreed to bring Calvin to her home, despite the lease restrictions.
She paid a visit to Petco and a palatial experience was awaiting Calvin at his new home. Additionally, she scheduled an appointment with Calvins previous vet.
On Friday the 13th, JK went directly from his law office to the shelter. He picked a very sickly Calvin up and drove him to All Creatures Hospital in Rancho Santa Fe. His Mom and the vet were there to greet the suffering cat. After a thorough examination, the veterinarian informed them that Calvin was indeed on the brink of death. He was suffering from an upper respiratory disease, two ear infections, a bladder infection, he was anemic, severely dehydrated, had a hematoma on one thigh, and to make the matters worse, he had not eaten in days as he could not smell his food.
It is also worth mentioning how amazingly sweet he was while the vet examined him. The vet was drawing blood and prodding him in numerous places, sticking thermometers in his bottom and the entire time he was affectionate and purring loudly as he rolled from side to side begging for attention. He knew he was in good hands again.
Calvin was placed in intensive care at the All Creatures Hospital for three days. At the end of the third day Calvin was not eating, and the staff was unable to release him until he was capable of eating. JK asked the vet to leave him alone in the room with Calvin. While sitting with him, JK remembered that Calvin had lived with his brother Hobbs his entire life. They had never been separated. It was their practice to fight over the same bowl of food, in spite of the fact that they each had their own bowl.
JK brought the bowl over to Calvin and bent down on his knees, pretending to eat out of the bowl. When Calvin approached him, JK gently pushed him away from the bowl with his head, pretending to fight for the food. Within seconds Calvin was pushing his head into JK’s head and ferociously consuming the food as if it were a competition. Success. Calvin was released and returned home to JK’s mother’s condo.
It took Calvin a few weeks with multiple medications and TLC to recover from his weakened state. Soon he was chasing the laser lights and playfully engaged. Calvin was back to his old self, and so grateful to have been saved.
He kisses and rolls on command, he hugs with both arms and lies down and purrs near anyone who welcomes him. He is happy to be home with his original owner, and is perhaps one of the most affectionate, loving, communicative cats to bless any persons life. He never stops purring and speaking. He sleeps with JKs Mom and affectionately embraces with one paw.
Calvin had been rescued twice from death by JK and his Mom. He has definitely cashed in on two of his cat lives. But what are the chances of this happening? What a tragedy it would have been to kill this wonderful creature.
There are many other Calvins in shelters waiting for someone to save them from execution, so that they may reward their owner with love, loyalty and affection.