Thursday, January 13, 2011

Happy Birthday to the Originak Rikki

January 13, 2011 is Rikki’s 30th Birthday.  Not Rikki’s Refuge.  The original Rikki the Cat’s!
Rikki, born Jan. 13, 1981, was a new breed - a Balinese, a  Siamese mutation, same body shape, grace & disposition, but with silky long hair.  My daughter gave Rikki to me in April 1981.  He was greeted by our 11 year old Siamese, who let Rikki know, “I’m top cat.”  Rikki, who was always happy, was satisfied to be “bottom cat”.

The only thing Rikki ever regretted was not having wings!  He would climb the drapes, walk across the valence and look for something high to jump to, like the top of the china cabinet.  He darted this way and that in perpetual motion.  My husband said, “He darts around like a mongoose”.  So Rikki was named after Rudyard Kipling’s Indian mongoose story, “Rikki Tikki Tavi”. 

Rikki was 4 years old when the Siamese cat died at the age of 15.  Rikki was lost.  Who could he follow around?  Rikki needed a companion cat.  My husband suggested a kitten - so “Rikki could be boss for once.”  When the kitten cried for its mother, Rikki laid down and the kitten suckled Rikki’s paw while Rikki washed him.  Although Rikki was a bachelor, the kitten could not have had a better mother.  The kitten grew up to be “top cat”.

Rikki would get up on my knick-knack shelves, and with a graceful paw movement would push a cat statue off, then lean over and watch it fall to the floor.  This was great fun and Rikki would stop only temporarily when I said, “NO NO”.  Rikki always hated water far more than the typical cat.  One day while playing this game, I wet my fingers and tiptoed near enough to flip my fingers so a few drops of water hit him.  He never played that game again!

My children grown and gone, my husband’s business keeping him out of town, Rikki was my loving, loyal, joyful companion.  With me almost always - he slept with me, sat on my lap if I read or sewed, rode on my shoulder out to get the mail.  Rikki never did a mean thing to a person or another cat.  He was all softness and love.  All he ever wanted in life was to be hugged and loved.

Rikki died in my arms in September, 1996 of kidney failure.  He had become like a toddler in his illness - never letting me out of his sight.  My grandson said, “Rikki was all love without a mean bone in his body.”

I still grieve for him, crying as I write this.  What could be a more fitting memorial for Rikki, always so full of kindness & love, than to give comfort & love to homeless and unwanted animals.  So I donate this land for Rikki’s Refuge as a perpetual memorial to Rikki for the love and happiness he gave me for 15 years.  And so others, less fortunate than Rikki, may know love in their lifetimes.  I know Rikki would approve. 
       ------Rikki’s Refuge’s Benefactor, Louise A. Hilliard, August 14, 1998

Celebrate Rikki’s Birthday with a Gift

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