This is my Blogger and Facebook alter ego, R. B. Koehl. Below are the other photos in the series from which my profile photograph (that is, a photograph not of me, but of R.B. trying to catch a ribbon attached to a floating balloon) was taken.
We got R.B. and his brother Boo-Boo back in October 1997. The last of our previous cats had died earlier that year and we had gone catless for about six months. We wanted to see if having no cats improved my husband’s and younger daughter’s asthma. It did not seem to make any difference whether we had cats or not. Moreover, all of us were showing the symptoms of extreme cat withdrawal, so when I saw an ad for kittens on the For Sale bulletin board at work, I pounced. The ad had been placed by Susan and Steve, coworkers famous for rescuing and finding homes for large numbers of cats and kittens abandoned near their country home (which is near a dairy farm). One of our previous four cats was Fred, a sweet orange and white cat (so wonderful that he converted at least two cat haters that I know of into cat lovers, or at least Fred lovers). That made me partial to orange and white cats, so R.B. was one of the two kittens we chose (the other was Boo-Boo, a tuxedo cat described by Susan as “the runt of the litter,” so of course my husband had to pick him).
R.B. is not the brightest bulb on the marquee. You can tell him not to do something a million times and he never learns. He is a good mouser, though (as was Fred). Several times he has escaped out the back door when it was left open by children or workmen. Then the outside frightens him so much he has to go hide under the deck and meow. He tries to act macho when he sees birds, squirrels, and other cats outside, but he can be pushed around, especially by Pipsqueak, his little sister.
R.B. is R.B.’s original name, that is, Steven and Susan named him that. They had named his mother Rene, so he was “Rene’s Baby,” or R.B. We always say it stands for “Really Bright.” We believe that R.B. illustrates a theory we have about why cats chase their tails. According to our theory, the remnant of a primitive brain – a single brain cell – remains in a cat’s tail. When this brain cell tries to have a thought, it makes the tail itch. The cat tries to catch the source of the itch, but its little walnut-sized brain does not have much more wattage than the single brain cell, so the cat is often unsuccessful at this endeavor. Everyone who has seen R.B. chase his tail (and chase it, and chase it…) agrees that this theory just might be true.
To make up for his intellectual shortcomings, R.B. is really photogenic.