Friday, February 17, 2006


A Ritoiley ( pronounced Ri-toy-ley) is something you and your cats invent that you do every day. Cats take a great comfort in schedule and rituals. They like security and routine and comfort and a ritoiley adds to that comfort.

Seamus had the ritoiley he invented which involved running to hide under the bed when he saw us getting ready for the night, trying to grab our toes and then hanging on the foot of the bed with a "Wild thing" face. Then he snuggled up to my neck for the night, dropping his head and then a paw with a great sigh.

Finnegan had ritoileys throughout the day, some of which only he found amusing. To begin with, he would wake us before dawn wanting to climb out the window. You would feel a paw on your cheek and if he got no response a tentative claw. Then more claws in your scalp. This was accompanied by a demanding yowl on a rhythm just enough so you couldn't ignore it. Sooner or later either he'd get to go out or, if I was really annoyed and it was really early (no outs before dawn) I would shut him out of the room and he would yowl at the shut door.

When I got up he loved to walk next to me down the stairs. When I cooked he wanted to sit on the counter and keep an eye on me. And at night he ran for my lap the minute I sat down in front of the TV and I would maneuver my plate around him. When I went to bed he would sit up on my side and wait, then he would let me pull him in close and rest my chin on him. As soon as he thought I was asleep he would move to the foot.

Fergus was very inventive in his ritoileys. He also loved to walk down stairs next to me. He and Silas would sit by the window patiently (no yowling) waiting for it to open,around 7 AM, then he would check in around 9am. If the weather was good he would run in and out the cat door until afternoon nap by 3PM, when the cat door closed. He loved it that I kept his favorite treat in a drawer in the kitchen and whenever the drawer opened he would fly onto the counter, give me three kisses on each side of my face and receive a treat. He also knew that the sound of the garage door meant I was coming home and he would usually be at the house door ( which is glass) waiting. As I drove in I would see him there.

For play ritoiley's he loved getting in his fabric tunnel and I would pick it up and swing it around with him in it. Then I would pick up a long slender applewood stick and whip it around the floor for him to chase ( this is Paw Over Paw). He would chase a ball under the furniture and get very happy when I would take a broom handle to fish it out for him. He would sit waiting for the ball to come flying out. He also loved to play with that ball in the wheel toy and he would bat it around with me.

In the evening he would come up for lap sit and when it was bedtime I would brush my teeth and he would hop up and I would brush his too. With kitty toothpaste and a Sesame Street brush. Then he would run up the kitty tree to the second landing and we'd play a little paw over paw. He slept behind my knees, or if it was cold he would crawl in under the blankets next to my chest.

Brendan often goes into the bathroom at night and watches Olof brush his teeth (Brendan won't let me brush his, I've tried). He loves the evening lap sit and he gets carried in style into the bedroom where he sleeps on a polar fleece covered blanket. Brendan's prayer is "Lord let all my days be normal". He likes to see the days unfold to a nice pattern, the beans sleep, drink coffee, sit quietly with those metal boxes on their laps, watch that thing that makes noise, offer food at regular times, keep life peaceful and good.

Silas amuses himself with his beer cap and milk bottle ring collection. He hides it under the rugs, he bats things around the floor. He likes to go out in the morning and then he is content to hang in his penthouse. Lately the two of them are peaceably sharing the bedroom during the day, Silas in his penthouse, Brendan on the bed. When Fergus was here all three would hang in the sunroom around the woodstove. Silas comes in for a pet and a greeting at about 9:30 PM every night, but he has not added lap cat to his ritoileys, though he tried it one night as if this might be amusing.

Ritoileys are how the animal family shapes the days. A comforting pattern of love and security.

What are yours?


Anonymous said...

Moose loves to snuggle when I am seated at the computer. If I've been here "too long" he will come from wherever he is in the house, meowing. He uses lots of syllables - there is no simple "meow" for him. There is a special tone to his voice when he is coming to claim his snuggle - a warning, of sorts. A snuggle attack warning system.

He is not satisfied with sitting on my lap (I hope he learns this soon, as he is just getting bigger and bigger). He wants on my shoulder. He licks my face, rubs my chin with his little head, and purrs, purrs, purrs... He seldom gets down until I put him down (which I only do after giving him what he wants - else he'll be right back on me, lol).

=^..^= said...

Jack, the blackie with the scratched eye, loves jumping on top of my sister's shoulders and grooming her hair. Jackie became known as her personal hairdresser.

Diva, the runt of the litter, craves undivided attention and must sleep on your neck or on the part of your thigh that is closest to your body. But it isn't enough that she gets the best spots on your body to lie on. You also have to stare deeply into her eyes so you'll not hear the end of it from her.

Bombay grooms my eyebrows and earlobes lovingly. He also lies with me as I bang away on laptop, often ending up sleeping right on top of the keyboard. He is also a deep sleeper, quite capable of sleeping right through a twister and a quake.

Callas is compelled to climb up the grooves of my door to peer into the kithen sink every time I wash my hands. He also climbs and peeks into the utility room whenever I busy myself with the laundry. It's hilarious looking at his tiny head hovering just above the glass bit of the door.

And then there's Dracula who is the largest of the litter and doesn't know his own strength. He often bites the necks of the other kittens too hard and ends up puncturing two holes and drawing blood. Truly like Dracula himself.

~5-Cat Style

The Meezers said...

Miles and Sammy have to play "fingers" with me when I walk down the stairs in the morning. I have a wraught iron railing in the hallway upstairs that goes by the stairs, so the run up to the railing and stick their paws under and try and swat at me. Once I hit the landing and turn for the final 4 stairs, i have to stick my arms all the way up and under the railing so that they can "capture" me.

Patches & Mittens said...

You have a wonderful blog. I come to it daily.

Mittens always lays in the same place by my chest at night. She sits on the end of the bed and watches me on the computer.

Patches gets me up at the witching hours EVERY night (I know, she is spoiled) for stinky goodness. Mittens runs down after me for her share. Then they sleep the rest of the night until 5, no later! They are early bird girls. Patches sits in her Dad's lap in the morning first facing him for face rubs, then turns around. If he is reading the paper she scolds him, and of course, he puts it down. In the evening, she is MY girl on my lap, this never varies.

Such truly wonderful creatures!

Finnegan & Buddy said...

Until I broke my leg last spring, Finny had to be carried down the stairs to his breakfast every morning - I don't know how this started, but he would sit looking pathetic at the top of the stairs if I was carrying other things and couldn't take him. After I started pouring out dry crunchies, he would come down.

Both Finny & Buddy wait for me in the upstairs bedroom window until I pull into my parking spot, any time I have a different vehicle, they will stay there until they see me get out and start toward the house - "is it her? Maybe. Yes. No. Yes!" then they must race at top speed out of the bedroom, down the stairs and beat me to the front door - while I have walked about 15 feet and unlocked the door! Then they are standing on the low wall inside the door, trying to get out or get a breath of fresh air. Finny gets on my shoulders and nuzzles my ear or my glasses and Buddy tells me about his day while I prepare dinner for their majesties.

Don't mess with their routines!

Eponine's Cowboy said...

Getting ready every morning still is a huge chore without my monster. She helped with every step. We certainly had our routine from the moment the alarm sounded and the two times I push the snooze until I walked out the door. And she for sure knew that the garage door meant I was home.