Sunday 1 April 2012

Rascally Rupert: A cat like no other

It has been raining here for several days and nights. Maybe it's a cruel April Fool's Day joke but this morning the rain has let up and glimpses of blue sky can be seen! Hopefully this means the end of this dreary, soggy spell. However, I'm not getting my hopes up just yet only to have them dashed - I'll wait with my fingers crossed to see how the day unfolds.

Needless to say, the weather has confined me to my studio. Not a bad thing at all, given it's pretty much my favourite place to be. I've been photographing a coloured pencil work-in-progress that I'll feature in a future blog, but today I'd like to introduce one of my own four-legged companions - one who has offered much entertainment and artistic inspiration over the 16+ years he's spent with me. I'm talking about Rupert, my elderly gentleman cat (and I do use the word "gentleman" loosely).

"Prince" Rupert at rest.
I adopted Rupert when he was about 6 months old. He had been rescued as a wee kitten, half-drowned, half-starved and near death, from a roadside ditch. His rescuer nursed the foundling back to health but a few months later suffered a housing crisis and was forced to re-home most of her animals. Having met and been charmed by the young cat with the big personality, I offered to give Rupert - then named Fraser after the roadside where he was found - a home. Had I known just how big his personality really was, I might have thought twice! As anyone who has met Rupert will attest, he's a feline force to be reckoned with.

Rupert, as you'll see by his photos, is an orange tabby, medium haired - a fairly ordinary looking guy. What doesn't show is that he is quite possibly the most outgoing cat in the world. Those who think that cats are stand-offish, independent creatures have never met Rupert. He craves constant attention, loves everyone, and is completely confident that everyone loves him and will give him their undivided attention any time, any place. He asserts his feelings by pawing at human legs, grabbing at hands, walking on keyboards, shoving his head between pages of books or newspapers, clambering onto laps, and purring at decibel levels that rival a jet engine. Despite frequent rejection (after all, nobody can give a cat their full attention 100% of the time, 24/7), Rupert does not take it personally and always comes back for more. And if there is mischief to be made, he will make it - plus he'll check to see that someone's watching him do it!

My coloured pencil drawing of Rupert in a paper bag.
Rupert was absolute best friends with his younger "brother" Jasper, another orange tabby who joined our household in 2001 and who, to our sorrow, succumbed to cancer last year. They were a great match - Jasper was every bit as timid as Rupert is outgoing, and so despite outweighing Rupert by a considerable amount and having the advantage of youth on his side, Jasper deferred to his smaller, more-assertive older housemate.

Jasper (left) and best friend Rupert (right).

My coloured pencil drawing of the two best buddies.

Jasper and Rupert - together as one.

A photo of Rupert and the silk painting he inspired. Rupert provided
the pose but it was Jasper who became the subject of the painting

When Jasper passed away last April, Rupert was devastated (as, of course, was I). He would roam the house crying as though searching for his lost friend. He was off his food and out of sorts, and I greatly feared for his well-being. To placate Rupert and to bring some joyful new energy into the house, 12-week-old kitten Archie joined our family, thanks to the good folks at the Katie's Place cat shelter. Archie is a topic all to himself and will be featured in a future blog post, and thankfully his presence gave Rupert a new lease on life (again, people who think cats prefer solitude to the company of other cats have never met Rupert).

Rupert and new friend Archie

Rupert will turn 17 in a month or so and for an old geezer he's doing pretty well. He's a bit scrawny due to a thyroid imbalance that's controlled by daily medication, plus he has an ongoing sinus problem that causes him to sneeze mightily every so often (usually when he's snuggled up to me... yuck). He still gets into lots of trouble on a regular basis and manages to keep youngster Archie somewhat in line. For having had a rough start, or maybe because of it, Rupert has gone through life with a philosophy that we could all take to heart:
  • never take no for an answer;
  • have as much fun as you can;
  • get in as much trouble as you can without coming to, or causing, great harm; and
  • be confident that the world loves you
Rupert, the party animal.
The sun is now really, truly shining and the outdoors beckons.


  1. I didn't know Rupert's sad beginnings.

    You're not exaggerating about his antics. As someone who sees him often, he never ceases to amaze and amuse me!


  2. One of my all-time favourite cats!
    I love the photo of Jasper and Rupert together in the one cat bed - and it is heartwarming to see Rupert and Archie similarly sharing a space.
    My Allie could take some 'sociability' lessons from Rupert.