17-year-old Calvin the Cat started out life as “Jane,” named after Jane Austen.

As a wee kitten, he was dumped in a bookstore parking lot, and store owner Heidi Sampson brought him inside and fed him. Sampson said said she “tried to get rid of him, but after about two weeks, all anyone wanted to know was where the cat was. Somewhere along the way, his gender was ascertained and he was renamed Calvin.

At the time, the bookstore was named Half Price Books of the Ozarks, but when Sampson incorporated in 2000, she discovered a preexisting Half Price chain.

We needed to come up with a name, and by that time, almost anyone who came through the door had two questions: Wheres Calvin? and then Im looking for this book, Sampson said.

“Calvin’s Used Books” was born.

Locals love to drop by and visit the gregarious tabby. I love going in there to get some books and hang out with that cat, Branson resident Leslie Gilmore said. He is so friendly and cuddly.

The store is Calvin’s permanent residence, and he’s famous for leaping from the top of one shelf to another. He’s also an incorrigible lap cat.

If he wants to sit on you, he will, Sampson said. If he asks permission, he thinks people will say no, so if youre on the ground its an open invitation.

At 17, Calvin is in good health and shows no interest in retirement, although he’s a little less rambunctious than he was in his youth.

One of his favorite games is to hide and scare people who dont know he is there, Sampson said. When he was younger he would hide in the bookshelves and jump out at unsuspecting customers.

His most endearing trait? Keeping the dogs in line. He has never hurt anyone, but his patience isnt what it used to be when dogs come in the shop, Sampson said. He likes to pop them on the nose to let them know they are in his house.

Calvins Used Books is located at 1819 76 Country Boulevard, Unit C, in Branson, MO.


[LINK: Branson Daily News]