Rikki oil portrait
 

Rikki

Rikki is a product of a small democracy.

Since 1982 it was a rule at Driftwood Sands Condominium that we could keep one cat or one dog. The rule was often broken and violations winked at, but a rule it was. Cynthia and I determined that if we ever had a second cat again, we would do it openly and honestly. That meant some months of tracing Robert's Rules of Order and chasing after votes.

In the end it came dramatically down to one vote, and we won.

At the time we had one cat, Jazz, and we weren't confident that he'd welcome a housemate. (The rule adjustment had taken a very long time, and Jazz was set in his ways.) We sought no cat but rather decided to let any new cat find us.

That took about a day and a half.

Cynthia took Jazz to the vet for his annual checkup. There in the waiting room, pathetically caged together, were several kittens that needed homes. Over the course of the next several days her cellmates were adopted, but not the black-and-tan tabby who would become Rikki.

Finally Cynthia could resist no more.

Rikki (Tikki-Tavi Attack Kat)

Named for a Steely Dan song, not Rudyard Kipling's mongoose, Rikki is nonetheless protective of us, and no gnat, nor mite of dust passing through a sunbeam, nor minuscule ghost will sneak past her guardianship. She's the fastest indoor cat I've ever seen, quite astonishing. You think you're about to grab her, and she disappears like a little trout in a cold stream. Finally catch her, and she turns into an unclutchable eel. As Jazz does, she moves far too fast to brake or change her trajectory before she glances off some hard surface, and a responsible owner would have her tested for concussion.

Not chronologically a kitten anymore, she acts pretty reliably like one. If she's doing something you don't want her to do — the list is ever-growing, but usually involves chewing — all you need do is toss a cat toy (or wine cork, or balled scrap of paper) over her head, and she's off.

Rikki stretched out

Copyright 2019 Bruce Kula