By now you should know that I have a cat named Rufus. His full name is Rufus Legolas Hartman, he's a domestic short hair, and he's a little over 2 years old. I found some old photos and thought it'd be fun to tell the story of the first few months after I got him.
Growing up, we had all sorts of animals. The first ones I remember are Sunny, a golden retriever, and Corey, a shih tzu. There were lots of cats - Snuggles, Mitsy 1, Mitsy 2, Garfield and Barney, and probably a few I don't remember... Sweet Molly our little terrier/shih tzu mutt was a crazy girl who chased airplanes, ran fast like a bullet, and barked at birds flying overhead. We had Miss Piggy the guinea pig, a few rabbits, canaries, Buddy the cockatiel, and an endless array of awesome fish. There was just the two of us girls so we preferred fuzzy, soft animals versus scaly reptiles.
As an adult I had a bunch of betta fish, and then I got Henry the hamster from my cousin Jessie when her hamster had babies. I'd always wanted a hamster, and Henry got a sweet Habitrail Ovo cage to roam around in. But Henry was tiny and liked to bite me and I was always afraid he'd get lost in the apartment and he really didn't like to cuddle... When Gabi and I lived together, she adopted Paxton and Paisley, sister cats who were soft and little and loved chasing Henry in his ball, but who weren't super cuddly and were skittish with strangers. A while after Henry the hamster died (RIP lil buddy) and after Loren and I broke up, I started thinking about adopting a cat. By that time I was living alone on Mar Vista, and while I had a busy social schedule and was always at work or the gym, I really wanted a pet. The only problem was that my landlord didn't allow animals, although he didn't allow them at the Allen Ave apartment either and we got away with having Paxton and Paisley. I knew I couldn't have a dog because they need to be walked regularly, they bark loudly, and they need a lot of attention. Cats, on the other hand, take themselves to the bathroom, they meow but usually only when they want to be pet or are hungry (versus if someone delivers a package), and you can leave them alone at night without worrying too much. I am a big proponent of adopting animals, I think that animals that are rescued are more loving... somehow they realize that you saved their life. I looked a lots of pictures on various SPCA or similar websites, and I really loved grey tabby cats, or silver tabby cats. Of all the cats in my life, I've had calico, black & white, orange tabby, grey, and white & grey. I don't usually care for purebreds because of the inbreeding, the cost, and the fact that somebody probably bred the parents on purpose and we already have enough dogs and cats that needs homes. Male cats are supposed to be more affectionate, so I knew I was looking for a male silver/grey tabby cat. I couldn't pursue getting a cat through an adoption or rescue agency because most agencies verify with the landlord that pets are allowed. I knew it was only a matter of time until somebody posted about kittens for adoption via Facebook, so I just sat back and waited.
Finally, on June 5th, my BFF Jennifer's sister-in-law Teresa posted a photo on Facebook of three kittens that needed a home. Teresa and John had two cats that weren't fixed and one thing led to another and boom, they had kittens! I saw a cute little white and grey face and I knew that this was my chance!
June 5, 2011 - the first time I saw the cutest kitten ever.
I contacted Teresa and she said that the white one was indeed still available. We arranged a time for me to come visit so I could meet the kitties and see if I connected with one or the other.
My first time meeting Rufus
I went over to Teresa and John's house one day when I needed to be in La Verne, and got to see all three little kittens. Teresa and John have four boys, and the boys had been playing with the kittens which was awesome for the boys and the kitties. There is something magical about kittens, especially when you're young, and having four boys around meant that these cats were sure to be socialized with humans! The two youngest boys were there when I visited, and we all visited and watched the kittens play, and eat, and sleep, and I learned that the one I was interested in was named Joey Harry Potter. Considering that I'm a big Harry Potter fan, I took that as yet another good sign. I hugged Teresa and promised I'd be back when JHP was weaned and ready to go home with his new mama - me!
A couple weeks later, Teresa called me up and let me know that Joey Harry Potter was ready to go home. I had bought all necessary supplies; litter box, litter, scoop, cardboard scratching post, kitten food, cute flower food bowls (he might be a boy but I'm sure not), and a soft-sided carrier. I put a fluffy old towel in and drove to La Verne to get my new cat. Teresa answered the door with a smile, and let me know that one of the boys was having a little bit of a hard time understanding that JHP was going to a new home (FYI - I don't want to put kids' names on the blog, just for safety's sake, so I usually refer to my friends' and family's children very generically). I promised to post photos on Facebook and text her photos from time to time. The sweetest part was when Teresa's son brought me JHP and said goodbye, it was so cute because he had tears in his eyes but was brave and came up to me and put JHP/Rufus right into my hands. Little boys are so adorable.
I drove home and we settled in. Rufus meowed a bit, lonely for his siblings and mama, but he calmed down and got used to his new surroundings. I put his litterbox and food in my room for the first night, so that he didn't have to go far and wouldn't get lost.
Rufus' first night at home with me. Look how little he is!
Kitten Rufus the morning after I brought him home
I did allow Rufus to sleep on my bed when he was little, and I still do. I never bought a bed for him because... why? I had a couch, an armchair, a bed, and a carpeted floor. But I never let him sleep on top of me or up on my pillows. To this day he sleeps on the corner of the foot of the bed, unless it's really cold and then he'll come close and snuggle up with me. He also sleeps on the couch or my chair (when there's not laundry on it). Rufus is not territorial, so if Candace or Lauren slept over, Rufus would still hop on the bed to sleep or would sleep on a chair or couch as usual. He'll even cuddle with someone who is staying at my house while I'm out of town. Rufus is really not picky or skittish when it comes to people, which is great.
Of course, after I brought Rufus home I read up on cat body language, and I was happy to read that when a cat rolls on his back and shows his tummy, that means he feels safe and happy. I was still new at having my own cat, so I was very encouraged to see that Rufus was happy. I'm not good at speaking in meows, but body language I can read. Twitchy tail means he's up to trouble. Poofy raccoon tail means he's freaked out. Paw over the face means the sun is too bright while he's napping. It's easy, really.
Having a kitten means you have to be prepared for them to get into everything. And onto everything. Rufus loved jumping up on my bookshelf and he wasn't graceful about it, so I had to relocate the fragile tchotchkes that I had up there. The votives and picture frames on my nightstand were relegated to the drawer for a while. When Rufus was a tiny kitten, he could barely jump up on anything, but he did what he could, jumping and running around the couch. He figured out how to jump up on the armchair in my room and then he could reach the bed (my bed is up on risers so it's pretty high for a kitten). He'd prowl along the windowsill above my bed, climbing the screens and chasing the birds. The flocks of wild parrots that roam around Pasadena drove him insane. And he kept a good watch out the front window - he even developed a relationship with the nice couple that lived next door to me (which I found out a few months afterward).
Taking a nap is serious business, and it's all about location. Rufus loved sleeping on me. Or at least touching me.
Oh and I bet you're wondering why the name Rufus? Well, in April 2011 I went to New Orleans with my BFF Jamie. While we were there, we ran into one of my favorite actors, Rufus Sewell. I don't usually bother actors or celebrities, but I just had to say something. So I asked for a photo, and then Jamie and I chatted with Rufus and his agent while listening to some amazing jazz. Rufus Sewell was in New Orleans filming Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It's an awesome movie, if you haven't seen it yet. So that's where the Rufus came from.
Me and Rufus Sewell. I'm usually photogenic, but next to this guy? Not so much...
And I know lots of animals don't have middle names, but mine does. If you're not a geek like me, then you might not know who Legolas is. Well, he's an elf in the Lord of the Rings movies, and he's silvery and beautiful and one of my favorite characters, so I knew my little silver tabby just had to be named Legolas. But I like classic names for animals (ahem... Henry the hamster), so Rufus was clearly the choice for his first name. It's still kind of funny to go to the vet with him and have his name called out, "Rufus Hartman, room one!" I get interesting reactions and comments about his name, which cracks me up. And I started tagging photos on Instagram with #rufusthecat, and apparently there are more than one Rufus the cats out there. There's also a cat named Rufus that's a Disney character, but rest assured that my Rufus is not named after a Disney character. Even if my Rufus is quite a character.
I love looking through old photos, Rufus was really such a cute and fluffy kitten. If you ever get the chance to adopt a kitten, you should! Although I'm not sure they'll ever be as adorable as my lil guy...
Just lounging around, his coloring was so much lighter as a kitten.
His nose is more pink now, but he still has the same tabby markings and adorable little white paws. He's mostly grey and tan now, more like his tail.
Kitten teeth - they are vicious. Yaaaaaaawn.
Look at that little face. And those pretty eyes! And those itsy bitsy whiskers.
Just laying around on the top of my couch.
I picked him because he coordinated with my furniture. Ha, just kidding!
Rufus was a snuggle bug from the very beginning, which is exactly what I wanted.
Sometimes, especially if I've been away for a while, I will pick Rufus up and snuggle with him, and then he'll fall asleep like this. He's about 4 times bigger now but still as cute.
I think having a furry friend or a small child is kind of the same to some degree. I had a lot of stuff to do when I took this photo but Rufus was sleeping on my lap so I was captive for a while. I didn't want to disturb him, of course.
My friend Stacey has an adorable Scottish Fold named Maynard who always sits up like a human, she calls it the Buddha pose. I caught Rufus sitting up like this and I had to share the photo with Stacey. Rufus still does it from time to time, but I can't usually get a photo of it.
I always find it interesting how cats can sleep in the weirdest positions. I call it cat yoga.
Rufus still has the most adorable face, and I still have that duvet cover. I know a lot of folks who aren't a fan of cats, and for that I'm sorry. Because cats are pretty awesome furry friends. They have interesting personalities, they clean themselves (no awkward bath time required), and they provide endless entertainment. And thankfully, no morning walks required, because I am so not a morning person. I have loads of stories about mister Rufus Legolas Hartman, and too many photos, I'm sure. But I had to start at the beginning, because you really had to see how cute he was!
Oh, and don't worry, I don't talk about Rufus when I go on a first date with a guy. I might mention I have a cat because I'll pick Rufus over cat allergies any day, but I don't tell stories and I don't show photos unless they ask repeatedly. I'm not a crazy cat lady, I'm just a girl with a cat. I save the cat stories and slideshow for at least the second date.