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 . . .