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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Enter Rufus and Feats

So we've decided that the best thing for Grady is to consider another cat or cats to keep him company. I have to tell you - my heart was really heavy over this despite knowing that it was the right thing to do.

I was out one weekend running errands when I see a sign - "Cat Adoption Today", it said. I followed the arrows to a local public library, parked and went in. There were a ton of enclosures set up on tables that had been pushed together to form a very large "U" in the room. There were different people attending a particular cat or cats, and it was quickly apparent to me that a bunch of different rescues were participating in the event.

I went to each and every enclosure and chatted with the cats there. I paid them each attention, believing that each is so worthy of attention, affection and love. I wasn't especially looking for anything in particular - no particular breed, age or gender. No specific colors. Rather, I was looking for "it". I knew that if "it" was there, I would find it and the ony way was by spending time with each cat.

I made it all the way around the U to the very last enclosure. There were two cats in there - tuxedoes. They were sound asleep. I bent down to peer in and the one with more black on his face than white opened his eyes, looked at me, and then reached a paw out through the bars and touched my face.

I almost cried.

I peered at his friend in the enclosure, another tuxedo kitty with more white than black on his face. He was substantially more subdued. One of his eyes was runny, and he frankly looked pretty miserable.

"They're brothers," said the man minding this group of enclosures. "Their mother was killed when they were 2.5 ounces. They were the only survivors and they've been bottle fed."

"How old are they?" I asked.

"Seven months."

I took his card because the event was winding up. I called him the next day and said that I would like to bring my husband by to meet the brothers. We picked a time and he sent me an address. By the time we got there a few days after the event at the library, they had let the two brothers out in the shelter (which was actually the entirety of their basement, converted for feline care). As we walked towards the door to the basement, I could see the first one - the face-toucher - with his paws up on the door looking out. We came in and my husband met them and it was a done deal. There was no way these two boys didn't belong with us. We filled out the paperwork, paid the adoption fee, and scheduled to have the boys dropped at hour house a few days hence so that they could get the last of their shots.

"I get to name them," said my husband. In a moment of insanity, I had apparently promised him that he had naming rights to the new cats.

"Well, what will their names be?"

"Rick James," said my husband (who is a fan of funk music).

"Which one will be Rick James?" I asked.

"Both. They'll both be Rick Jmaes," he said.

"Bobby. We cannot name both cats Rick James. They'll get confused. Why not something like Rufus and Chakha?" I was thinking of Chakha Khan and Rufus, of course, of Tell Me Something Good fame.

"No - they'll be 'Rufus' and 'Featuring Chakha Khan'," he said.

"Feats for short," I insisted.

Hence Rufus and Feats.

They came to us on a Wednesday before Christmas in 2007. I converted my stepson's old bedroom to the new cat room, knowing that Rufus and Feats would have to be medically isolated and then tested by my vet, and then furthermore neutered and recovered. I wanted to do a slow, careful introduction of the two brothers to Grady, always reaffirming Grady's "top cat" status in the household.

By the end of January 2008, Grady was sitting on my lap watching the brothers race wildly through the house, flinging toys and being generally nuts. They were always great with Grady - respectful and never aggressive. I will always credit Rufus and Feats with the year and half sweet Grady lived after his CRF diagnosis.


  1. For me, tuxedo cats have tractor beam eyes... if you make contact with one at an adoption fair, it's all over for you.

    Hence—my Cammi cat. I wasn't looking for a cat that day, but I made the mistake of making eye contact and she (or my departed CRF cat Elliott, also a tuxie) instantly crawled into my head and said "Take this cat home TODAY, she will make a difference in your life."

    And she has. Best spur-of-the-moment, I don't need another cat adoption ever.

  2. I think you're right! Hence the way I wound up with FOUR tuxedo-ish kitties. And Grady's the Tuxedo King, Grande Sire of the whole brood - gone in body, alive in memory.

  3. The part about the little kitty reaching out a paw to touch your face brought tears to my eyes...what a wonderful adoption story :)