“Blind cats are sometimes euthanized at shelters, so I wanted to give this one a home,” says San Francisco-based photographer Josh Norem when asked how Rufus, a 12-year-old visually-impaired feline, came into his life. At the time Josh was involved in the rescue system and already had another blind cat, so without hesitation he agreed to give Rufus his forever home. Now the portly feline has become his latest photographic muse — not least when he’s squeezing into dinky cardboard boxes.
Asked about the extent of Rufus’s blindness, Josh plumps for the phrase “pretty blind.” For reference, he adds, “He often times can’t find food that is right in front of him, and he will run into new things on the floor if he hasn’t ‘seen’ them before. He is able to navigate really well, though, despite occasional setbacks.”
Some of those setbacks take place when Rufus assails cat towers. Josh says he’s seen some “hilarious dismounts” after he reaches the summit, which resemble something close to a controlled fall and involve Rufus “using his claws to attach himself to the side while he’s falling.” (Josh adds that Rufus has never suffered any physical harm from his escapades.)
Rufus’ sense of the world around him carries over into the way he engages with toys. He’s a fan of the classic Cat Dancer, and Josh says he’s developed a knack of catching his toy prey by hearing and following the whoosh sound it makes while zipping through the air.
When it comes to a star turn, Rufus has trained himself up to become a master of the cardboard arts. Despite his stocky physique, Rufus has cultivated an advanced appreciation of feline physics, which sees him smooshing and squeezing into dinky boxes that would no doubt impress even Maru.
“Rufus is a perfect example of ‘If I fits, I sits,'” says Josh. “He loves boxes and small beds, where he can squeeze into them. I’m sure he just likes having the container wrap around him as it feels safe, but he always jumps into a new box the second I put it down.” Then with a quizzical tone he adds, “How he knows it’s there in the first place is the big question, but I suppose he just smells it.”
Talking about Rufus’s character, Josh says he’s an “incredibly sweet” cat who will start purring even before a petting session has commenced. (He’s also prone to hopping up onto a computer desk and sleeping next to the keyboard.)
Part of Rufus’s affectionate side also involves the endearing habit of nuzzling up to someone in order to put pressure on his nose. “I don’t know why he does this,” says Josh. “When he sleeps with me at night he’ll wedge his nose into my arm or any body part near him, just to put that pressure on it.” Then as if summing up Rufus’s personality, he adds, “I guess he just likes the way it feels.”
Need a little more Rufus in your life? Make sure to follow his latest adventures over at his Facebook page, and tell him Catster sent you!
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About Phillip Mlynar: The self-appointed world’s foremost expert on rappers’ cats. When not penning posts on rap music, he can be found building DIY cat towers for his adopted domestic shorthair, Mimosa, and collecting Le Creuset cookware (in red). He has also invented cat sushi, but it’s not quite what you think it is.