Kitteh contest: Rufus

Reader Phil Garnock-Jones, an emeritus professor of biology at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, sent us a noble and leonine cat:

This is our 8 year old Abyssinian, Rufus; he was a birthday present for my partner Sabrina.  He’s a ballsy cat, but only figuratively speaking, known up and down our street for going into other people’s houses stealing their cats’ food, and beating up any dog that comes up the street. So although he’s a pedigree cat, he’d probably do very well as a stray.  His collar tag has his name and our phone number, so he’s locally notorious; neighbors say “Oh, so YOU’RE Rufus’s people”, with just enough of a judgmental tone that we know they don’t fully approve.  He’s a good mouser and very athletic. Occasionally he gets grumpy and whacks one of us, but mostly he’s very affectionate.  He’ll jump from the floor into anyone’s arms—you have to catch him—and will smooch, with his arms around your neck.  More often he picks on our other cat Lila, who is a lilac Abyssinian, half his weight, and very sweet, but they cuddle up together at night.

Abyssinians are a bit mad and hyperactive.  Ours still behave like kittens at times.  When they were young they wandered a lot, in at least a 1 km radius of home, but now they stay closer unless we deliberately take them for a walk.  Then, they’ll trot along with us quite happily for a kilometre or two.

Although the kitteh contest has long been closed, readers are still sending me photos and short but interesting descriptions of their cats.  If you have one, by all means send it along.  I can’t always promise to use it, but I haven’t rejected one yet . . .


  1. Scote
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    “He’ll jump from the floor into anyone’s arms—you have to catch him—and will smooch, with his arms around your neck. ”

    Oh, a video of that would be cute. 🙂

    • Posted May 31, 2011 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Yes, please try to make a video of that…

    • Posted May 31, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      Yes! Yes! Video of jumping into the arms and kissing! Third vote for that!

      He is just a gorgeous kitty–love the shot of them sleeping in side-by-side baskets. Sweet:-))

  2. Posted May 31, 2011 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    What a gorgeous cat Rufus is.

  3. Posted May 31, 2011 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    He is such a handsome cat. I think Abyssinians are so beautiful.

  4. Posted May 31, 2011 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    That’s an outstanding display of synchronized napping!



    • Laura Norder
      Posted May 31, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Interesting that they both curl up clockwise. I wonder if they always do that? Beautiful kittehs, both.

      • Diane G.
        Posted May 31, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        Only in the Southern hemisphere.


  5. Diane G.
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Such a handsome fellow and what a great write-up! One wonders if anyone has ‘forgotten’ to catch him when he jumps? All the Abyssinians I have known have definitely been memorable–as if breeders have been selecting for personality as well as looks.

  6. Posted May 31, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    One of my cats was an Abby. The hugging and leaping into one’s arms seems to be a typical behaviour.

    Mine, Israfel, loved to hug and would let me hold him like that often. He’d rub his cheek on my neck and drool.

    He also loved to lie across my shoulders like a live stole.

    Izzy was very athletic and could leap higher than other cats I’ve had.

    He was one of my last cats and died very suddenly right in front of me and my daughter. We do miss him.

  7. JBlilie
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Very fine looking kitteh!

  8. daveau
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Abbies are beautiful, but a bit high-strung. Lovely, happy kittehs, though. Congrats to all 4 of you.

  9. gayle
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    I love Abbies! My Millie is a half Abby, but has all the Abby characteristics. She is definitely her own cat!

  10. salon_1928
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Abbies are my all-time favourite. If only my wife would let me have one…

  11. Marella
    Posted May 31, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Gorgeous cat. I had an Abby a long time ago, he was one tough cookie too. He used to catch rats, but he obviously liked the crunchy pointy end the best, because I used to find the fat back end of a rat with handy tail still attached for putting in the bin, lying on the garden path quite often!

  12. Dominic
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 1:31 am | Permalink

    …and Rufus’s dad Professor Phil is a weed taxonomist among other things!

    • Phil Garnock-Jones
      Posted June 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      You can tell that from the state of our lawn in the 3rd photo.

      • Diane G.
        Posted June 3, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        That must mean I’m a dust and pet hair taxonomist.

    • Diane G.
      Posted June 1, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for spurring me to click on the good Professor’s name–warmed the cockles of this one-time botany major’s heart. 😀

      He’s almost as interesting as Rufus.

  13. articulett
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 4:39 am | Permalink


  14. Phil Garnock-Jones
    Posted June 1, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Rufus says thanks for all the comments. I’ll have a go at making the video; Jerry’s said he’ll post it. @Diane: if you forgot to catch, I think he’d cling on like vecro, possibly drawing blood, so I haven’t done that experiment. @Marella: Lila likes the pointy end, Rufus likes the blunt end, but get this: they never eat the whole mouse between them. Something to do with respecting each other’s property I guess.

    • Diane G.
      Posted June 1, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

      I haven’t done that experiment.

      And you call yourself a scientist!


      • Phil Garnock-Jones
        Posted June 2, 2011 at 12:34 am | Permalink

        There are limits! If you met Rufus, you’d understand. It takes 2-3 vets to give him his shots.

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