Full name: Orion “Ori” Riendeau
Owner: Danielle Riendeau, Editor-in-Chief at Fanbyte
Nicknames: Tiny Baby, Teeny, Little Baby, Warrior Princess, Stinky Princess, Teddy Bear, Bunny.
Age: 5, but she perennially looks like she’s about nine months old, on account of her petite size.
Likes: Cuddling, being pet behind her ears, soft tummy rubs, sitting on laps, attacking her cat sister, playing, making “biscuits” on blankets/my lap, jumping surprising heights.
Dislikes: Getting her teeth brushed, eating the same food two days in the row.
Talents: Quite a little wrestler for being such a small cat, supernatural ability to tell when her mom is feeling bad and offering comfort, does happy flops on the floor with dramatic abandon, has the cutest little chirp.
Weaknesses: Picky eater, has hairball issues, kind of a hot mess sometimes.
Ori is a tiny little cat that I adopted when she was a five-month-old kitten, in the summer of 2016. She’s been one of the brightest spots in my life ever since, through some of the hardest years of my life (2018-2019, if anyone is keeping track), through the weirdness of the pandemic, through happier days and sunnier times.
Through it all, she’s been here for me, and I for her, and she’s been a positively ideal companion animal.
Ori likely had a weird life before we got her: she was probably the runt of her litter, and definitely a stray. When we met her in the animal shelter, we had to briefly speak with an animal behaviorist because she was a “rough player” so we had to learn to discourage her from nipping. It wasn’t hard, and it went well — and she developed a hilarious, sisterly relationship with our other cat, Finn, right away. They chase each other around the house and wrestle a couple of times a day, and otherwise chill out near one another. When it’s cold in the house, they even snuggle!
Even on the first day in the nursery, it was apparent what an absolute sweetheart she was. Ori loves to cuddle and play, and she has accompanied me every time I’ve been sick or had a panic attack: she will find me, wherever I am in the house, and offer grooming and cuddles. She’ll wait by me and check on me until I’m feeling better, which is… honestly the kindest thing an animal can do. I know a lot of folks subscribe to the stereotype that cats don’t care about humans, but Ori is proof that some kitties really are attached, and, in their special cat way, notice and “care” about their human.
We’ve had some medical scares with Ori — I never knew hairballs could be so awful until I met her, and truly, she is a messy little lady sometimes. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I love all of my pets very dearly — I have become a total animal person in my thirties, after never having had a pet in my life until I moved to NYC in 2015 — but I admit to having a very special bond with Ori. Maybe because she’s so loving and fierce and so tiny, and I see a little of myself in that. Maybe it’s because she spends hours curled up with me each day. But this tiny 6.5-lb fluffball is an important and joyful part of my life. I’m so glad to have her around.