introducing: cat royalty

Photo by Alice Zheng

Photo by Alice Zheng

By Alice Zheng, Columnist

The Royal Cats showed up in my life out of nowhere.

One day, I was napping on my couch. As I was dozing off, I heard a tiny little meow. I woke up immediately, thinking perhaps it's the neighborhood tom outside my window. I peeked out of the window, nothing. I got up and went outside, still nothing. I came back and texted my friend "I swear I just heard a meow. Is this a sign that I should visit the local shelter?" My friend texted back, "OMG! I was just looking these two cats that are looking to be adopted!"

I looked at the picture. I thought

No way. I like my furniture. I like my rugs. I’m going away for Christmas. There’s no room in my life for cats.

Then I thought, "Maybe I'll just call this person and find out more." I called. They were on a farm an hour away. The guy was free the next day. I could go see them if I wanted. I thought, "I'll just go take a look. No commitments, just a look." My friend, helpful devil that she was, said that I could borrow her cat carriers just in case.

A day later, I owned two cat carriers and two cats. Another week later, I had three cats. The three of them hung out in a pack at the farm. I couldn't just leave one of them.

Nobody knows what the Royal Cats were doing on that farm. They probably wanted to blend in with the Commoners. They failed.

Her Excellency, photo by Alice Zheng

Her Excellency, photo by Alice Zheng

This is Her Excellency Lady Truffle Bitealot-Pickapart. The ancient family of Bitealot-Pickapart is renowned for their ability to pick apart all things, be they live plants, door stoppers, yoga blocks, random bits of beach flotsam (salty + fishy = tasty!), or bag handles (duh). Her Ladyship is particularly good at nipping at pant legs and ankles when she's hungry.

Really, it is the most refined way to say “Feed me, slave!” A lady would do nothing less.

To the delight and admiration of her serf, Lady Truffle specializes in high jumps and mid-air 180 degree twists, particularly when tempted by her favorite toy, Da Bird. Or Da Mouse. Or Da Squirrel Tail. Or really, anything that can be made to fly.

Her Ladyship enjoys sleeping in crates, baskets, boxes, things with enclosed sides. She keeps herself clean with much grooming throughout the day. Being dirty is so uncouth, a hallmark of peasantry.

His Highness, photo by Alice Zheng

His Highness, photo by Alice Zheng

This is His Highness Prince Ikura Dirtybutt, brother to Her Ladyship, but, alas, a world apart in sophistication. Unlike Her Excellency, His Highness has trouble keeping himself clean. His Highness was born to be held aloft, petted, and revered. His Highness was not born to lick his own butt.

Grooming makes oneself vulnerable.

Lady Truffle is most easy to push over when she's bent over her own tummy. That is the perfect moment to launch a sneak attack.

His Highness is a womanizer and attention hog. He rubs himself on pant legs and faces. He is an expert at positioning himself in the path of attention and diverting said attention towards him. His Highness firmly establishes himself in the cockles of the heart of his serf with his signature panting-purr. *pant pant purrrr* Like this, see? Now strike a pose, manspread, 70 degree lean to the left. Scratch me. Purrrrfect.

His Lordship, photo by Alice Zheng

His Lordship, photo by Alice Zheng

This is His Lordship Count Aji Scaredypants. His Lordship is perfectly calm in the face of many things, except for shadows, sudden movements, footsteps, music, tall things, tall things moving towards him, tall things moving away from him, being held, random humans who have no business being in the house, and air.

His Lordship is happiest under the protection of the bed.

A Count has many enemies. His safety demands the utmost attention of his guard.

Despite his scaredy-pants nature, Count Aji is valiant when it comes to protecting the pack. When Prince Ikura screams his head off while getting his nails clipped, it's Count Aji who dares to come to his rescue by hissing with teeth bared in attempt to scare off the impudent perpetrator.

His Lordship has two favorite things: food and catnip. No exposed food shall be left unconsumed, and catnip is a perfect form of entertainment. If his Lordship had opposable thumbs, he would probably become a catnip farmer and develop various strands with names like “Green Dragon” or “Amnesia Nectar.”


These royals have one thing in common with one another—they are made of pure love. Whether cuddled together on the couch, playing hide-and-seek in the bathtub, or meowing loudly waiting to be fed, they give their love freely to each other. They teach their humble servant about what is real: love, trust, and magic. Because they are cats. And they are royalty.  

Alice Zheng is an author, photographer, meditation practitioner, and senior research science manager at a large e-commerce and cloud computing company in Seattle. She is a recovering perfectionist and over-achiever. Her life's mission is to be a bridge: between science and spirituality, between technology and business, between the inner and outer worlds. Alice shares glimpses of her quest for more beauty and ease as a regular contributing columnist for Lucia.