When our cats, Calvin and Hobbes, turned one year old, my daughter wanted to have a birthday party for them. It was so sweet and lovely. We invited Grandma and our dear friend, Maria, who is an animal lover. My daughter made a birthday sign that we hung low on the wall so the two felines could see it; we showered them with kitty toys and gave them savory treats.
It was just one of the many moments when I appreciated the impact these furry little creatures had on our family.
We adopted the brothers, Calvin and Hobbes, from the Humane Society Silicon Valley when they were just weeks old, and I can’t imagine our home without their playful yet peaceful presence.
But there was a time when we didn’t have cats. We had fish for awhile, we unsuccessfully tried a puppy and then there was a cute little hamster named Skeeter who’s now buried in our backyard.
My husband was allergic to cats — or so we thought until Mr. Bojangles wandered into our lives. This cool, fat orange tabby cat was new to the neighborhood but cruised around like he owned the place.
It turned out that Mr. Bojangles belonged to our neighbor’s sister who had just moved in for a while. Mr. Bojangles didn’t appreciate the busy household, complete with barking dogs, so he took to wandering the neighborhood. I noticed him one day when I pulled into our driveway and he walked right over as if we were old friends, flopping down for a rub. I didn’t think anything about it until he started turning up at our house — regularly.
My husband often works in the garage so he noticed Mr. Bojangles too. At first he kept his distance, trying to avoid the watery eyes and multiple sneezes that had plagued him in the past. But Mr. Bojangles’ quiet persistence and constant presence finally led to my husband interacting with him. To his happy surprise, he didn’t have any allergic reaction. After a bit of research, we learned that people can be allergic to some cats and not others and can even gain and lose their allergies. Who knew!
So Mr. Bojangles became a constant companion to whoever was around. First he hung out in the garage, then our backyard and the next thing you know, he was snoozing regularly on our daughter’s bed. Our neighbors obviously noticed the shift and checked in to make sure this new arrangement was okay and to confirm that we were feeding him properly. It was a win-win and made us realize that we could have our own cat.
This led us to the animal shelter where we found Mr. Butters, a sleek orange cat who was a few years old and needed a home. We brought Mr. Butters home and introduced him to Mr. Bojangles. The misters got along just fine with Mr. Bojangles teaching Mr. Butters the ways of our home and our neighborhood.
Many months flew by until one day, we learned that Mr. Bojangles was moving — to Arizona. Our hearts were sad and we asked about the possibility of Mr. Bojangles staying with us, but of course they wanted their cool cat back. We cried and cried when we handed Mr. Bojangles back and watched him disappear down the street.
Then, a couple of weeks after Mr. Bojangles headed to the desert, Mr. Butters disappeared. He was just gone.
Our daughters were distraught and we plastered the neighborhood with Lost Cat signs, posted queries online and checked the animal shelter multiple times. We tried to stay optimistic and hopeful but as the weeks dragged on, we realized we might never see Mr. Butters again. And we didn’t.
We like to think that when Mr. Bojangles left, Mr. Butters must have gone off looking for him. We hope they found each other.
Our home was empty of animals and our hearts were heavy.
But we realized the misters had stumbled into our lives for a good reason — giant Mr. Bojangles taught us that our house wouldn’t be a home without cats.
And that is so true. After we wiped our tears and said our goodbyes to Mr. Bojangles and Mr. Butters, we were ready for more furry friends. So we headed to the Humane Society to find the two perfect kitties for us. We walked into a room filled with black and white kittens and two little fellas came right over to greet us and snuggle. We knew we had found our new family members and we named them Calvin and Hobbes. They make us laugh with their happy antics, they comfort us when we are sad and they make our house a home.