Published on April 21, 2020
Calico cat Callie gets her catch
“Callie, short for Calico, was her own cat. She belonged to no one – by her choice. But she had a personality which made the whole neighborhood claim her, and by default, she belonged to us all.
Callie’s life in the San Bernard River community began as many kittens’ lives do. Little David heard his wife, JoAnn, remark how beautiful calico cats were, and if she were ever to have one, it would be a calico cat. So immediately, he started looking and found one just in time for her birthday.
JoAnn, however, wasn’t ready for an indoor cat – she didn’t want the litter box smell in the house. So, when Callie was old enough, she was “fixed”, and a cat door was added to the entry door so Callie could go out to do her business and hunt to supplement her meals.
It was a bit disconcerting to find “fresh food” (sometimes still wriggling) in JoAnn’s kitchen – especially at night – so the cat door was closed at night. Everything went along just fine until one day, a raccoon found Callie’s door and food dish in the kitchen, came in, ate the cat food and was looking for more before he was banished outdoors. The cat door was permanently closed after that.
Now, Callie had to meow to get out and sometimes didn’t make it in time. She was also a bit put off by the closed cat door. She chose to show her displeasure by using JoAnn’s new bedspread as a litter box.
That’s when Callie became an outdoor and neighborhood cat. There was always an extra bowl of food and water at the neighborhood houses she frequented, including ours. Some neighbors took her for shots and gave her worm medicine. We live in a stilt house, and during the wintry weather, Roy fixed a box lined with warm blankets inside our downstairs utility room and added an electric heater to allow her to get out of the cold and wet.
In return, Callie would hunt down any errant threatening snake, gecko or varmint that came into the community. She was never a bother,and people loved having her around on her terms.
Callie especially enjoyed the spring and summer months when those of us living on the river would turn on our lights at night and fish. When Callie would see the lights come on, she would find her way to the lighted dock and curl up under the fish-cleaning table as she waited for the fishing to begin. Roy was only one of the local gentry who cast for bait.
When the cast net came back in, and the bait fish were released into the 5-gallon bucket, there would always be some fish falling on the dock. Those fish were Callie’s. That’s when she fished. She loved catching and eating the fish. Roy and the other area fishermen always made sure Callie had her fill of fresh fish when they were catching bait for themselves.
One night, Roy had cast for bait and started fishing before Callie found our dock. The fish weren’t biting yet, so he had gone into the utility room to work on tackle. Callie sauntered up inspecting the dock for Roy’s contribution to her fish dinner. Finding just a wet dock and no Roy, Callie sat down and started to wash up for dinner.
I stuck my head out the patio door just about this time, wanting to check if the fish were biting, when I saw a boar raccoon about twice the size of Callie stroll onto the dock. He was looking for fish dinner, too. Apparently, there were a few small succulent shad caught between the boards on the dock, waiting to be plucked for an hors d’oeuvre right where Callie was sitting.
The raccoon bullied his way toward Callie. She stopped licking her paws and looked up to meet the raccoon’s gaze. She didn’t budge. The raccoon moved in closer – almost nose to nose.
The raccoon shook off the blows and started forward again. Then Callie let out with a blood curdling hiss, stood up on her haunches and landed even stronger, quicker blows to the raccoon’s head and for a longer period of time. This time the interloper was stunned. He tried to shake off the blows and staggered off the dock, leaving it to Callie.
Roy never saw the exchange. But when he came out from under the house ready to fish, he saw his fishing buddy waiting there. He grabbed up the cast net and dumped the entire contents of the cast on the dock. Callie’s perseverance was rewarded. Oh, and we never saw that raccoon again.
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