On January 13, 1981, a Balinese kitten was born. Twelve weeks later he met his new family and lived happily with them for 15 years. They named him Rikki after the darting mongoose in Rudyard Kipling’s “Rikki Tikki Tavi.”
From the beginning, Rikki was a special cat who gracefully assumed the role of companion, confidant, counselor, and friend. He was quick to please and always loyal. Rikki lived his life to love and be loved.
Even among his family’s cat hierarchy, Rikki gladly accepted the role of “bottom cat” although everyone knew he could be “top cat” in an instant. But power and prestige were not what Rikki was about. The only status he needed was to be a valued member of his family, and he was.
It seems fitting then, that years later the way Rikki lived his life would inspire the establishment of a sanctuary based on the same values that exemplified Rikki’s life.
When Rikki died of kidney failure in September, 1996, his family was heartbroken. Two years after his death, still grieving, they heard about plans to establish a no-kill, all species sanctuary. The land was there, the problem was money. Rikki’s family quickly decided that the best way to honor their cat, always so full of love and kindness, was to enable homeless, sick, and unwanted animals to find comfort and compassion in a safe place. In August, 1998 they made a substantial donation that was used to purchase 330 acres of land in Orange, Virginia. Rikki’s Refuge was now a reality.