Orange Cats in My Life – Part I: Found and Lost


Usually in this blog I write not-a-review life stories about perfumes. This one is a life story that has no perfumes connection whatsoever.


Do you know how children usually ask parents to get a dog and parents are reluctant since they know it will be an extra chore for them? When I was a kid in my family roles were switched: my mother used to bring home homeless dogs to live with us (luckily one at a time) and I tried to dissuade her (without any success). So even though I was always more of a cat person it had never even occurred to me to ask for a cat.

The first cat appeared in my life after I got married. One morning my mother in law knocked at our bedroom door (we lived together at the time), peeped inside and asked unsurely: Did you bring home a kitten last night? We woke up completely, looked at each other, back at her and asked: What kitten?

As we deduced later (though we weren’t sure), a little kitten sneaked into the apartment the day before and hid. I’m not sure what would have happened to him had one of us stumbled upon him that night. But he was smart, lucky or just scared and showed up when there was no chance anyone would get spooked by that scrawny white and orange lump of fur. It was late autumn, cold and unpleasant outside and we just couldn’t throw him out there.

I named him Rizhik.

Lactarius deliciosus (Rizhik)

He was a funny kitten. He loved to lie on my lap with his belly up. He cartoonishly followed his reflection in the polished wood to the end of the reflective surface and tried to peek quickly around the corner to see where it went. He used to purr so loudly at night that my vSO would through him out of the bed.

He grew up, became an outdoor cat, stopped chasing his reflection and didn’t purr anymore. We moved out and Rizhik stayed at the parents’ place but whenever we visited he still liked spending time with me.

One winter he disappeared. Not as mysteriously as he came into our lives: he just went outside, as usual, and didn’t come back. We didn’t know what happened to him.  But it was a very bad winter in the country – economically- and weather-wise. It was rumored that homeless were eating stray dogs and cats…

Months later we saw on a street a cat that looked exactly like Rizhik. We followed him as he was running away (as cats usually do); I kept calling his name, he stopped for a second, turned his head as if recognizing my voice and then he was gone. We tried looking for him again – with no luck.

We chose to believe that he just found a place where he was happy and decided to stay there.


Image: from the Wikimedia Commons


43 thoughts on “Orange Cats in My Life – Part I: Found and Lost

  1. Such a bittersweet story. I once had a dog, “Daisy” that showed up on my doorstep one day when she, we figured was probably 8 weeks old. A cute little, black dog, we already had 2 other dogs at the time and work was stressful. We took her to the Humane Society after posting signs to see if anyone was missing a dog. When we got to the Humane Society there wa a group of “thugs” looking at puppies and we decided we couldn’t subject this puppy to a life living with “thugs” for lack of a better word. So we took her home. She ended up being the sweetest dog…always happy, always content and always wanting to please her Dad. Thanks for triggering my old memory of my dear departed Daisy! :)


  2. I think I told you I had a ginger & white cat called Rusty. He was my first cat, had him from a kitten and I loved him heaps. He got Dunlop Disease on a main road near us and a neighbour found and buried him. He was a super cuddly and playful cat.
    Portia xx


  3. Oh, Undina … you are a very natural story-teller. With the emphasis on the word “natural.” The quiet, soft-spoken, straight-forward way you relate things is incredibly lovely and more moving than I can say.

    Oddly enough, after growing up on a farm with lots of animals, I have no pets now (because my husband is allergic to cat dander, etc). But three years ago, a wild baby bunny started following me around the yard while I was planting flowers. He was incredibly tiny and I would speak to him in a baby-talk light voice. Soon it got to be that he would come looking for me … the entire summer … and if I happened to be reading outside and didn’t see him, he would snort until he got my attention. Sadly, he died crossing the road in the late fall of that year. I saw it happen, and there was nothing I could have done to stop it. All I could do was bury him.


    • Suzanne, you’re very kind – as always. Thank you.

      That’s a great story about a bunny! I read it to my vSO and we laughed.

      It’s sad that he died but what would have happened with him in winter? Do you have rabbits around when it’s snowy?


  4. Nicely-written, Undina. A cat has nine lives and Rizhik is enjoying his in a happy place.

    Over the years, my family had cats (torties and calicos and one gray tabby) and dogs (all mixed breeds – with the favorite one being a German Shepherd / Chow-Chow mix…he had all the markings of a German Shepherd but his legs were short!). None were rescues.

    Hugs to you and of course, the handsome Rusty!


  5. That’s a moving story. I hope it was exactly like you’v written – that Rizhik has found a better place to stay so he never came back to you.
    In my family we never had cats or dogs earlier but one Easter many years ago dad found a dog that was tied to a trie at the edge of the forest where he worked back then, he took the dog home and she’s with us until now.


  6. I agree with Suzanne; I always like it when you tell us stories, whether perfume-related or not (so the format for your blog is perfect!). About this one, I can just say I am so glad you have reason to believe he was alive and hopefully happy.

    You have reminded me of our family’s ginger cat, which mostly became my brother’s cat over time. He was a hilarious cat, always up to something. He once drank some cold medicine my brother had left out (it was the kind you serve in a cup, like a drink), and there was nothing to do but watch him bounce around the house, completely high on whatever was in the stuff!


  7. I like your voice too. You tell stories straight and without artifice which makes them all the more touching.
    Rhizhik is a free spirit, I like to think he is just fina and enjoying life. :)


    • Thank you, Birgit. Sometimes I wish I could write more like you, Suzanne or Vanessa… But even if I try it sounds artificial, I do not recognize myself – so I keep writing the way I can and go and read everybody else’s blogs ;)


  8. This is a wistful story indeed, and I shall choose to believe Rizhik went on to find another family. Great name, btw.

    I had a beloved ginger cat called Saffron, who had the most unassuming, saintly nature of any pet I have ever owned. Sadly he accidentally hung himself on a fence, and I have never put a collar on a cat since. : – (


  9. What a sweet story. It reminds me of a cat a friend of the family had. It was an indoor cat that she let roam in her backyard whenever she was out there. One day, she turned her back and the cat was gone. For over a year the friend tried searching for it, posted fliers, checked the shelters, she had finally resigned that she’d never see it again then just out of the blue one day she found it skulking around in her backyard. I guess it just wanted to have an adventure.


  10. Orange cats are the best (though I am personally more of a dog person). We had plenty of cats growing up, but never an orange one. When I was still living at home after college, we had a stray cat that hung out in our backyard and had several litters of kittens there. She was wild and would not let us pet her, but we would put out food sometimes and try to find homes for the kitties, but shelters generally won’t take feral cats. One litter, she had a long haired orange kitten, among others, who was very friendly and just adorable. I begged my Mom to let us keep him and we did. Took him to the vet for a checkup and kept him inside with the rest of the animals (dogs and cats). You would never know he was a wild kitty – he is the biggest love bug. My Mom had him for many years, then she remarried and moved in with her husband who did not like cats. Now he lives with my brother nearby, so I get to visit with him all the time.


  11. Strangely, every single cat I have had has been orange one way or another. We’ve had three completely orange tabby toms, two orange and white boys and one ‘naughty tortie’ tortoiseshell girl who was loopy and lovely.
    They have all been real characters.


  12. Pingback: Orange Cats in My Life – Part II: A Grin without a Cat | Undina's Looking Glass

  13. LOVE!! I tried to imagine him as kitten following his reflection. So cute!
    I love reading your posts even though I’m not always able to comment. You’re writing is always a breath of fresh air. I was just recently telling my husband how I love hearing your opinion about perfumes because you never sugar-coat anything..:)


  14. Pingback: Orange Cats in My Life – Part III: Love from the First ‘Awww…’ | Undina's Looking Glass

  15. Pingback: Orange Cats in My Life – Part IV: Those that have just broken the flower vase… | Undina's Looking Glass

  16. Pingback: Orange Cats in My Life – Part V: The Ones That Got Away | Undina's Looking Glass

  17. Pingback: Rusty the Cat: On Boxes – Undina's Looking Glass

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