Several months after my beloved cat died, my friend Laurie called, saying that a cat had found them. She said that the cat would lay on a small boat they have on their property, until she was brave enough to go indoors. Laurie said that she calls her “Cali” as she is a calico and she also said that her two male cats, Paco and Rufus, were not accepting Cali. She asked if I was ready for another cat. I replied, “no — not yet”. I explained that I was planning a month long driving trip to California and Oregon and did not want to get a cat and then go away. Plus, I still needed time before getting another pet.
Laurie said that she and Karl would check if any of their neighbors knew where she had come from and they would mind Cali for a while.
When I returned from my trip, I asked Laurie and Karl how Cali was doing and they said that Paco and Rufus had still not accepted her, adding “She is very sweet and mellow, perfect for you and all she needs is love.” I replied that I was not sure, as Cali had found them and perhaps she would want to stay with them.
The next day, as I sat in my living room, I gazed at a Steinlen print of a black cat (which my cat had been) and a calico. While looking at it, I thought, “Yes, it’s time.” I called my friends and went to their home to meet “Cali.” It was love at first sight.
She was sitting on a chair and I picked her up and hugged her. She seemed so sweet.
Laurie and Karl said that they had taken her to the vets and she was about 2 years old, had been declawed (which I would never do … but then I wondered how Cali, having her front paws declawed, had managed to stay outdoors, on her own) and was fixed. They had spoken with neighbors asking if anyone knew of a missing cat, but no luck. They did not know how long she had been on her own until finding them. Karl told me that she had been outdoors for a while, but was not feral.
However, he also said that she had killed a rabbit. My only concern was that they have property and their cats go outdoors whereas Cali would have to become an indoor cat. We all thought that my taking her would work as she seemed to want a home and was quite comfortable in my arms.
I told my friends that rather than a calico, she is a tortoise shell so I would change her name. I asked if they could bring her over the next day, so that I could have everything ready.
Laurie and Karl brought Cali to my place early the following morning. She went to the kitchen and ate energetically and then spent time exploring, making herself at home but also staying close to us and eventually napping.
She Needs a Name
Thinking of a name for her, my only criteria was that her name have an “s” sound. A friend, also a cat lover, and I had visited Key West several years ago. We went to Ernest Hemingway’s home, where there are still many cats. I found it interesting that they guide said that Hemingway would give his cats a name with an “s” sound, as he had experimented and found that sound pleasing to cats.
I checked the web for ideas: Shamrock, Sabrina, Shadow (no, as that was my last cat’s name), Sabine, but none of them seemed to fit. Then I thought why not “Jameson” which is not only a favorite drink but it also has an “s” sound. I softly said “Jameson” and yes, she responded. A friend wanted to call her “Jamie,” but I laughed and said, “No, to avoid confusion, let’s stick to Jameson, at least in the beginning.” She has remained “Jameson.”
Once she settled in, I noticed that she was sucking on a soft blanket. I now keep that blanket in the living room for her. It led me to wonder if she had been taken from her mother too soon.
I do not know why she ran away from her original home or perhaps her previous owners moved away and left her to fend for herself. She loves sitting by the patio door, looking out at the birds and squirrels during the day. She likes to play with her toys and sits next to me (or on me) in the evenings. She is a marvelous guard cat at night, watching intently for any movement outside. After a while, she joins me and snuggles next to me in bed.
My friend was so right, “All she needs is love.” And my loving her has made me more aware of the marvelous gifts that cats bring to us: their independence, creativity, intelligence and spirit. When I look at Jameson, I also think of other cats I have known. I marvel at their uniqueness and I thank God that He has given us such joy.