Whenever I’d hear that old Carly Simon song, Anticipation, I’d think of the ketchup commercial. I never paid enough attention to the lyrics. Now I get it! Carly was telling us to stop waiting for the ketchup to come out of the bottle and enjoy what we’ve got right here, right now. Carly was telling us to be more like Carly – the Calico cat, that is.
When I first met Carly the Calico cat, she was keeping busy on the main floor of her carpeted kitty tower in the cat room at the Shelter of Hope. But upon seeing her beloved caregiver Clayton, she was out of her castle and into his arms in a whisker’s twitch! The housework could wait. Never put off ‘til tomorrow who you can hug today! And so began my introduction to the feline philosophy of a cat wise beyond her years.
Optimism springs eternal for two-year-old Carly. If life hands you a dusty old ball of yarn, you sneeze a little and then you roll with it. Who needs fancy cat toys when you’ve been blessed with plenty of imagination? Perhaps that’s how she got herself through what happened about a month ago. That’s when she found herself alone in an unfamiliar place.
Clayton was arriving at the shelter for work one morning when he spotted this adorable smudge-faced Calico fluttering about the property like a fallen leaf tossed in the breeze. She was clearly not a street cat, much too refined. And yet, she was all alone. The thought crossed Clayton’s mind that this pretty little thing may have been left here intentionally. Perhaps the shelter’s comforting name was the deciding factor for her estranged owner.
Shelter of Hope is the municipal pound for Cobourg, Port Hope and a couple smaller townships within beautiful Northumberland County. About an hour east of Toronto, this is an area worth the drive. The rolling hills of farmland changes beautifully with every season but is especially breathtaking in the fall. Picture a field filled with bright orange pumpkins.
It was a lovely day for a drive to the shelter from my farm just east of Cobourg. I took the scenic route of Highway 2 through town and as I headed west towards Port Hope, I watched for Theatre Road. Only a stone’s throw past the old Port Hope Drive-In Theatre (now home to a funky flea market on Saturdays) is this charming little shelter tucked back from the road. This is the place our leaf-coloured cat has been calling home ever since Clayton gathered her up and brought her inside.
Rural shelters like this are so special. They may be small in size but they’re big on everything else. There’s such a sense of family amongst the staff and volunteers. I felt that homey feeling the moment I walked into Shelter of Hope.
Instead of state-of-the-art architectural design to wow visitors, they’ve got snapshots of the animals covering the walls. They’ve got the current number of dogs and cats adopted so far this year proudly displayed on a back wall. And they’ve even got a memorial stone nestled outside the front door with the name ‘Romeo’ emblazoned on it. Romeo was a stray cat who quickly became the shelter’s Welcome Ambassador until he passed away a couple years ago. No animal is ever forgotten here.
Carly won’t be forgotten either when she finds her real home. How could they forget such a patchwork quilt of a cat? But there’s much more to her than a pretty coat and a playful imagination. She’s perfected the fine art of Eskimo kisses and could certainly out-snuggle even the snuggliest of cats. She’s also the longest lasting lap lounger the world has ever known. Clayton recalls the day Carly lounged the lap of a visitor for practically his entire visit. No such thing as out-warming your welcome with Carly.
Despite her longevity with lounge acts, I expected a challenge with the photo shoot. How does one ever get a cat to pose for a camera? Carly, however, knew exactly what to do and enjoyed every minute of it. She’s so vain. She probably thinks this article is about her.
Carly the Calico cat is an approximately two-year-old spayed beauty lapping it up at Shelter of Hope in Cobourg, www.petfinder.com/shelters/shelterofhope.html, 905-885-7808. Anticipation is over-rated. Don’t waste another moment without Carly in your lap.