Rusty the Cat: 12 Years Young (And Merry Christmas!)

I’m positive that even smartest of our feline companions (or even canine, for that matter) do not have a notion of birthdays and celebrations. So, I realize that Rusty is blissfully unaware of his age and surely isn’t expecting anything from us on that day. I mean, not more than he usually expects, daily.

But since we, humans, anthropomorphize, of course my vSO and I feel that we need to do something special for Rusty’s birthday, so again and again we’re trying to find him gifts. How do they call doing the same thing and expecting different results? Yeah, I know.

In almost 12 years I know our cat, he exhibited almost no interest in the cat toys bought at a store. We went through soft and crunchy and bouncy and… (you got the picture) toys with the same result: at best, Rusty would sniff it and, maybe, bat it once or twice – to never touch them again. In the worst cases – like an iPad-navigated running sphere promised to amuse your cat for hours – Rusty would be scared of it and try to hide every time we attempted to play with him.

I rarely react to ads, be that TV, radio or online pop-ups. I’m even less inclined to believe any of those infomercials promising you miracle devices that help you to lose weight, while growing hair and learning a new language. But somehow, I let my guard down while playing one of the games on my phone: they showed how enthusiastically cats played with that toy… And it was just $14.95… (clip below might take some time to load)

Rusty playing with a Toy

To be fair, Rusty might have played with it for longer, had they thought through the mechanics. In a couple of minutes, he figured out that he needed to catch the wire, not the bird. Besides, even if he catches the bird, once he pulls it, the stand falls, and it stops flying. There are stickers on the bottom to stick the base to… not sure, what to, but even if I could figure it out, the issue is that both an ON/OFF switch and the opening to change batteries are there, on the base. So, Rusty played with it a couple of times with my help to reposition it every time after falling, but then both of us got tired.

So, the only store-bought cat toy that manages to hold his attention for quite a while is a simple plastic spring. He went through 20+ of those. We do not know for sure what happens to them in the end: after a day or two of playing, we never see them again. I suspect that once we replace a refrigerator or a stove, we’ll find a plastic springs cemetery. Meanwhile, for this birthday I ordered for Rusty the next set of those springs. They are supposed to be delivered before Christmas – not that Rusty would care one way or the other.

Cat Toy

Below is a collection of pictures of Rusty – one picture from every year of his life. But if you want more, just filter posts by the Category “Four legs good” to see all photos of Rusty that I used in the blog, as well as all the posts about the cat who keeps bringing endless joy to my and my vSO’s lives.

Happy Birthday to our Christmas cat and Merry Christmas to all my friends and readers who celebrate this holiday.

Rusty and Christmas 2020


38 thoughts on “Rusty the Cat: 12 Years Young (And Merry Christmas!)

  1. Merry Christmas from our cats to Rusty! Cardboard boxes are always the absolutely best toys, and close second are fishing rods with fluffy fish on the end of the line – except that some of our felines reckon that you should run off with the whole thing (and possibly hide it somewhere). These photos are lovely, thank you.

    Happy Christmas to you too.


    • Hi to your cats! :)

      We actually bought for Rusty that fishing rod-type toy. He wants us to keep playing with him while he’s “lying in wait.” Unfortunately, he can do it for 5 minutes (or maybe longer – we usually give up earlier).


  2. My cat was also mostly interested in paper bags, boxes or sometimes a catnip toy. All other toys I got him he just ignored.
    Sadly he is gone and as much as I would like another cat, my boyfriend is allergic, so no new cat. Happy Christmas to Rusty and you.


  3. Wishing a very merry, calm and healthy Christmas to you and your vSo dear Undina and of course best wishes to Rusty the birthday boy. He’s bringing joy not only to you but also to me and other reathers thanks to the stories about him that you share with us.
    Rusty as a kitten looks adorable but I think as a mature cat he looks much more handsome and cute.
    I hope he enjoys the treats from me ;)

    Take some rest during your Christmas break and I hope new year will be much better.


    • Thank you, Lucas!

      Rusty does enjoy the treats, though I’m sure he thinks they just materialized because he strongly wished for more treats :)

      As much as I liked him from the first day, I also prefer Rusty as an adult cat: kittens are not my thing.


  4. Any post about Rusty is an immediate love. And adding multiple pictures of his handsomeness is just what this world needs right now. That first pic of him as a baby…heartmelting! Wishing your family the best this holiday season. And hope that you are safe and healthy throughout this new year. xoxoxox


  5. Rusty is clearly far too human and far too clever to bother with toys meant for cats.
    I love his baby pic! He looks just as knowing as he does now.
    Happy birthday to the handsome boy and Merry Christmas to you and your v.SO.


    • Happy Birthday to Rusty and Merry Christmas from me and my doggy Yei! Love to see all his pictures! He is adorable! Enjoy the festivities! 🎄


      • Thank you Perfumelover67. It brings me joy to share pictures and stories about Rusty with my friends here.
        Happy holidays to you and Yei (do you have any pictures online to share?)


    • Thank you Tara.
      We even thought at some point that he didn’t like those toys because they smelled of a pet store – so we would keep it in the garage for a while for it to lose any “foreign” scent. Nope. But all the boxes, scrapes of paper, etc. – that’s what he wants to play with.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy Birthday to Rusty! I have two indoor cats and I’ve been feeding two strays for four years. One of the strays – I reached out to try and pat her, and she let out a big loud purr and bumped her head into my hand.

    Rusty is gorgeous and that picture of him in the small basket is great. Merry Christmas :)


  7. We went through this with our cats, too, and in the end gave up and let them play with their balls of aluminum foil, feathers, and cardboard boxes. And of course the occasional laser light pointer exercise followed by some catnip relaxation. Now we have dogs and I do miss having a cat, even if to mostly be ignored by it. Best wishes to you and Rusty for a lovely holiday season :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you VerbenaLuvvr.

      Rusty used to play with foil balls as well, but he can’t stop: he starts tearing them up and eating. So, no more foil for him :)

      I heard that cats could be very independent and antisocial. Not Rusty. He enjoys our company and usually insists on being somewhere close and the center of attention. We don’t mind.


  8. Happy Birthday to Rusty and Merry Christmas to his humans! He is the handsomest cat out there and obviously too smart and cool for cat toys. I look forward to the day when you find the plastic spring crematory!


    • Thank you MMKinPA. Wherever that resting place for springs is, it has a new member as of yesterday. We need to ration his access to these new toys – so that they last at least a couple of months (it’s a 12-pack :) ).


  9. Happy Birthday to Rusty and Happy Holidays to your and your family. Rusty was such a cute kitten, but he looks his best now. He’s a very majestic king now. I enjoyed your Instagram posts leading up to his birthday.
    Rusty shares a birthday with Dr. Fauci. :-)


    • Thank you rickyrebarco.

      I agree that as a mature cat Rusty looks even better than he did as a kitten. I hope he stays healthy and keeps looking royally (unless he starts goofing around, which he still does from time to time).


  10. I agree with Tara that Rusty does look very knowing as a kitten. Such a nonchalant and self-confident pose. Happy Birthday to him and Happy Christmas to you all! I loved the notion of a ‘plastic springs cemetery’, haha, and enjoyed watching Rusty batting the bird around. Cats so often show disdain for toys and devices they are supposed to interact with. Truffle goes nuts for grape stalks – she is a complete lunatic chasing one around, and waits patiently for me to eat enough grapes to release a twiggy sprig from the bunch!


    • As a kitten, Rusty was much braver and more fearless. Now he’s much more cautious. I was joking that now, when his life is so great, he values it much more.

      It’s interesting about grape stalks: you’re the second person from whom I heard the same story recently – and I’ve never known cats like playing with those. I think it’s because we never have grapes at home. I can imagine Rusty being also interested in those.


  11. Merry Christmas, Undina & family, also to all your readers. Long-time Rusty fan here: sending Happy Birthday cheek scritches and happy returns.


    • Thank you hajusuuri. Rusty got recently a new food supplement to fight hairballs – he absolutely crazy about it. I wonder what they put in it… :)

      I gave up on buying mechanical toys: Rusty will ignore them or hide from them.


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