12Fam075On a recent visit to my brother’s house, one family member I was looking forward to meeting was Orpheus the cat, commonly known as ‘Orfi’. My brother and sister-in-law got him from a shelter when they first moved into a shared apartment when they still were students. He was about a year old then and had spent all his life indoors. He was also extremely active and never settled down for a cuddle with a stranger.

Now, sixteen (!) years later, Orfi is a dignified old gentleman. He stopped being an indoor cat the minute my sister-in-law first took him to her parents’ farm during the holidays. He’s seen his share of fights, as one of his ears attests, and for years he was the terror of the local mice population (unfortunately, of the bird population as well).

He is either rheumatic or has a back problem, because sometimes he moves quite stiffly. At such times, he spits at you if you want to pet him. But he is still endlessly patient with my small nieces. And when he’s feeling well, he comes to sit on your lap to be petted and will stay there all evening, purring loudly.

I am not much of a cat person generally, but I adore Orfi. During this visit, I took a number of photos of him. Although he is doing well on the whole, I am always a bit worried when I leave that this may be the last time I have seen him. So I try to enjoy my visit with him (and the rest of the family!) as much as I can.

– Rike Horstmann