… the Amazing Tuxedo Cat
Sir Randall is an amazing cat. He hasn’t saved anyone from a burning building, nor has he trekked across the country in search of his home, but he is still an amazing cat. He is nine years old, and still wears the tuxedo he had on that day nine years ago when we first saw him in the cage at the animal shelter. The tuxedo is not faded or tattered, it is just as glossy black and brilliantly white as it was on the day we first saw him in the cage with his sister and his mom. That in itself is amazing, but that is not why Sir Randall is amazing.
He has a short tail. Not a bobbed tail, and not part of a tail, just a very short tail. It sticks straight up when he walks, about three inches tall, just sticks up. He sort of waves it as he moves along. We don’t know why his tail is so short, his mom and his sister had normal tails, but his is short. That is not why he is amazing, either.
We named him Sir Randall when we got him because he was born on Randy’s birthday. Randy was my little brother. He died in a car wreck many years before Sir Randall was born. The Sir part came because the little cat was dressed in such a fancy tuxedo. White spats and all. His chest is covered in a bright white, but a bit conservative dress shirt. Not a fussy ruffled shirt, but the kind with embroidered plackets down the front. His jaunty short tail is all black and he has a small white blaze on his face. He was an elegant cat, even when he was a kitten. But that is not why he is amazing.
My granddaughter, Ciera, was six years old that spring, and she picked Sir Randall out. She liked the way he just sat in the cage and blinked at her – as if to say, “I’m an amazing cat, choose me and you will find out why I am amazing.” He opened his mouth just a tiny bit, stuck the tip of is tongue out, and just sat there, never taking his eyes off Ciera. His sister, a pretty little grey tabby, bounced around the cage, showing off her long tail while she tried to get Ciera’s attention. Ciera ignored her and reached for Sir Randall. He allowed her to pick him up and cuddle him in her arms. And that, my cat loving friends, is why he is amazing.
We took him home and from that day on, he and Ciera were fast friends. She would dress him up in her doll clothes, put him in the doll stroller, drag him around as if he were one of her toys. She carried him all over the house, sometimes just picking him up upside down, his head hanging down and that short tail waving in the air. He did not care. He put up with her as if he knew she would not hurt him, and he simply resigned himself to being her version of a stuffed toy – one that purred. As he got bigger, she stopped dressing him up, but she still dragged him around the house as if he were a stuffed animal. When she watched TV, Sir Randall was her pillow. He would lay there on the floor, not complaining, just waiting for Ciera to move her head so he could escape. He seemed to sigh, as if to say, “Oh my. Here we go again.”
Ciera has become a teenager now, and rarely has time for her old friend, but that is OK with Sir Randall, because he has a new friend. Ciera’s little sister, Trinity, is now three years old. From the time she could crawl, she has understood that Sir Randall was an amazing cat. And he has understood that here was another little girl who loved him and needed him. Trinity lays on him when she watches TV, just as her big sister did. She tries very hard to pick him up and carry him around, but he is almost as big as she is, and by the time she gets him under the front legs and stands up, he is still sitting on the floor. She weighs about 33 pounds, and he weighs at least half that.
Trinity tries to put Sir Randall in her doll stroller, but he is too big. She loves to play in and with boxes and tries to get Sir Randall in the boxes with her. Sometimes she is successful, and he just sits there in the box until she lets him go. Sometimes she sits on the floor, holding him under the front legs while he just sits there and lets her hold him. He does not scratch, or bite. He just sighs, looks at me with those liquid eyes of his as if to say, “Oh my, here we go again.” Then he will go limp in her arms, purr contentedly, and wait. When she does let him go, he walks a few steps away, then lays down. He is, after all, nine years old and has lived a long life for a cat. Sometimes he hides under the bed in my room, but when Trinity finds him, he comes out and allows himself to be cuddled, carried, and dragged around. Just as if he were a big stuffed toy.
Sir Randall is the most mellow, amazing cat I have ever had the pleasure of being around. He allows all his cat friends to come in the house through his kitty door, watches as they eat his food, and watches again as they saunter out through the kitty door onto the patio. Then he talks my daughter, Ciera and Trinity’s mother, into putting more food into his bowl. The one and only time he got into a fight, he was injured quite badly and we had to take him to the vet. He got 27 stitches in his side and had to wear a lampshade to keep him from biting out the stitches. The fur over the scar originally grew in white and we thought for sure his tuxedo would forever look as though it was torn. The black grew back in though, and we cannot even see where the scar is now.
All our friends are amazed at how amazing Sir Randall is. They laugh when they see him sitting on his backside in the big chair in the living room, his hind legs splayed out, his front paws folded on his chest and his glorious white dress shirt spotless. He often sits that way right next to Trinity, both in the same chair, both limp as rag dolls while they watch TV. Sir Randall does not run when he sees Trinity heading for him, he just relaxes. Trinity runs when she sees him, though. No matter what she is doing, if he walks across the room and catches her eye, she drops whatever she has, and runs to try and pick him up. “Kitty!” she cries as she reaches for him. He stops, flops down on the floor, and waits for the inevitable. He doesn’t try to get away. He just lays there and allows Trinity to love him because he loves her, too.
He is truly amazing!