Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Story of Rufus

Oops, I missed a blog day. I was occupied. I got to spend a night away with my husband. It was very nice and relaxing. :-)

Today I feel like writing about my kitty cat. I have always loved cats, but it wasn't until I got married and my husband and I started acquiring more and more kitties, that I became attached to them and interested in why they do what they do. Cat behavior became even more of a passion for me after my 30th birthday. (As a side note, most all of our kitty cats are rescues, they are spayed/neutered, and they STILL HAVE THEIR CLAWS! If you don't know why I'm against declawing, check out this site . . . The Truth About Declawing .)

For my birthday, my husband got me a new gray kitten. When he came home, he was barely a ball of fur, but he could purr SO loud. (I love purry kitties.) We knew that he'd end up being a big kitty, though, because his paws were HUGE.

Hunkahubby brought him in to me and my heart melted. I carried him with me all around the house all the time. I think part of the reason I became so attached to this cat was because of all that had happened that year. My grandma had died, I'd gotten a new job, and we'd moved to a different city away from any support system we used to have. I believe God had a hand in bringing this kitty to me at a time when I needed something tangible (and fuzzy) to hold on to.

We struggled with a name for this kitty for several days - when Hunkahubby suggested "Rufus" - and it just FIT. He was SO a Rufus. He showed us his artistic talents very early on - and would sometimes freak us out in the middle of the night by playing 'haunting' melodies on the piano. ;-)

The funny part about this is, even though I LOVE cats, they only seem to tolerate me. My Dad even has a cat that hisses at me when she sees me through the window. But cats LOVE my husband. And everytime we got a cat that was meant for me, it would turn traitor on me and become Hunkahubby's lap cat instead. But Rufus was mine from the very beginning. He tolerates everyone else, but loves on me.

My birthday is in December, so Rufus came right before Christmas. Hunkahubby got me a fuzzy blanket for our bed. It became Rufus' blanket very quickly. It was a faux fur blanket and I think Rufus thought it was his mother. He would knead it and suck on the fur whenever he laid on the bed with me. It was SO cute.

As he got bigger, he started doing funnier things. For some reason - he loves oven mitts. He would stretch up and OPEN THE KITCHEN DRAWER and pull out the oven mitt and carry it around in his mouth! We thought we were going to have to babyproof the house for our cat!!

We also developed a morning ritual, I would get up in the morning and go into the bathroom. I'd sit down and he would meow at me and then stretch up until his paws were on my knee. He'd then stretch one paw up and pat me on the cheek until I leaned down and he would give me a kiss. He is so cool . . .

The next year, we rescued another kitten and named him Max. Rufus was our first boy kitty in the house, so we decided he needed another boy to balance things out. I think Rufus thought that Max was his child. From the beginning he would bathe him and love on him. I had never seen cats who weren't biologically related act the way these two did.

I bought a few books on cat behavior and was very enlightened. I thought I would share a few things that I've learned.

When a cat walks up to you (or another cat) with its tail raised, that is cat language for "hello!"

If a cat lays its ears back or flat to its head it does NOT like what you are doing. WATCH OUT!

And for those NON-cat lovers that wonder why cats always come to you when you don't want them near you . . . cats do not like people to stare directly in their eyes. Many people who don't like cats will avoid looking at them. When you aren't looking directly at a cat, it does not see you as a threat, so it comes over to check you out! So - if you want the cat to go away, get up in its face and have a staring contest . . . if you dare. :-)

Some people think I'm crazy because we have five cats and consider them part of our family. I feel like it is something I am supposed to do. Proverbs 12:10 (NLT) says "The Godly care for their animals . . ." And I truly believe that God gave us animals for many different reasons - but we have been entrusted to care for them while we are here on this earth. I know that many a dreary day has been turned around by a cat that would not allow me to feel sorry for myself.

So today, let's thank God for our pets. (And especially ones who let us dress them up without clawing out our eyes.)

"God is good to one and all;
everything he does is suffused with grace.
Creation and creatures applaud you, God;
your holy people bless you.
They talk about the glories of your rule,
they exclaim over your splendor . . ."

- Psalm 145:9-11 (The Message)