Before we had kids, there were the cats. They were the first and only non-human animals that lived with us until just a few weeks ago when the bunnies came to our home. Japanese Bobtails were a breed known for their intelligence, powder-puff tails, and regal personalities. I chose these kittens because of their different pet dander — they didn’t seem to aggravate Hub’s animal allergies. I in turn would have some lovable animals at home again while I studied engineering, to dote on while he was away most of the time working on contract assignments.
That, and it was love at first sight. (Allergies aside, he really had no say in the matter.)
Roi was the male of the two we brought home, and he was the sweetest cat straight away. Even as he grew older, he had a very forgiving and subservient nature, leaving the dominating to the Queen, Keiko. Keiko ruled the roost, but when she wasn’t around, he was always right there, purring very audibly (we could hear him from the other room) and vying for attention.
When the kids came along, the cats took the back seat, as many pets do in a growing family. Being strictly indoor cats, they were perpetually reminded that mini-humans were both fun and irritating. There was little escaping the poking and prodding of little hands whenever they were in the play zone.
Thankfully, he took all of this in stride. He seemed to enjoy being “caressed” by young children, as evidenced by his kitten-like sucking of his own paw. He never once bit or scratched a child; he would merely meow nervously for me to come and rescue him if things got a bit out of control. I always did. After I took a picture, of course.
He lazed around a lot.
When the children were younger, they could not resist playing with and pulling on his powder-puff tail.
And he seemed to thrive on abuse, both from the kids and from the other cat. He loved stretchy hair ties as his cat toy. I found them everywhere — he would steal them from my bureau — as both cats would play a game of keep-away with them. I would find literally dozens of them under the couch when I cleaned.
He couldn’t resist a faucet. No matter where he was in the house, if he heard water running, he would appear in an instant. He would drink from the running water and commence with this tremendous suck sound, as he would suck on his own tongue for effect. Occasionally, he would slip as he jumped up and kersplash! right into a full tub of water. Cats don’t really like water, you know.
One of the most entertaining things to do was to put the faucet on a slow “drip” and just watch him wait. And wait…
In the evening, if we couldn’t find him, the first places we would look were the kids’ beds. It was as if he’d been crowned their protectors for the night. Roi took his job seriously.
Sometimes he would get some free preening. Here, my oldest daughter had just eaten…well, something off his hind end. From the look on her face, it doesn’t taste particularly good. I hope it’s not what it looks like.
Only three of our four kids got to know this beautiful little soul. He died of an unknown illness when he was only 6 years old — perhaps he’d eaten one too many hair ties; we never could determine the cause of a sudden and fatal paralysis.
I hope that there is a faucet dripping for you, Roi, no matter where you are. We were blessed to have you in our lives, even if it was for such a short time.
RIP, Roi. Your tenderness will not be forgotten.
1999 – 2005
View all of these photos hi-res at SmugMug.
All photos were taken with an
Olympus 3000C (2001) digital camera.