My parents had to put down their cat today.
We adopted Ripley back in late 2000, while I was still at college: Somewhere in my house I have the kitten pictures my mother mailed me (actual mail!) but I can’t find them right now. He had been found in a field as a very tiny kitten by a PetSmart employee, who handed him over to the rescue group that worked out of the store. My father saw him there, fell in love, and also thought he was part Siamese for some reason. (Well, Rip’s eyes were still blue then. And/or this was a delusion induced by his brain to pick THIS kitten, because his favorite cat ever was a half-Siamese who looked nothing like a Siamese.)
When they brought Ripley home, he spent almost a whole day running around the house like a tiny little hurricane. Normally, cats hide when you bring them into a new territory: Ripley ran. In circles, up the stairs, down the stairs, zoom. So that’s how he got his name. The kitten pictures are HILARIOUS, if a tad blurry.
He was so full of energy that even three of us (granted, I was only at home periodically) couldn’t keep up with him and he was starting to get a little mean. So the next spring, just after I graduated and on recommendation from the vet, my parents got a SECOND cat: Murphy, the giant black one. (Obviously he’s not a kitten there, but that’s literally the only picture I still have of them together.) Ripley had NO IDEA how to process a 6-month-old fluffball in his house – our theory is he didn’t spend a lot of time with his mother/siblings and wasn’t properly socialized with other cats – but Murphy handled him like a champ and quickly became the dominant cat. (In cat dominance battles, the chillest cat wins. Ripley was a sweetheart, but he was never chill.) They never quite became best buds, but they developed an understanding. Murphy died of a mysterious digestion/bowel illness in 2011, but Ripley had slowed down enough to be fine on his own by then.
Over the past few years, he… Well, he got old. All the standard old kitty issues. So it was time.
Ripley was the second cat I ever had, and though I haven’t lived with my parents for years he still treated me like I did. He loved brushing his teeth and hated being picked up or held. He wasn’t a lap cat, except with my dad and only occasionally and for very short periods of time. (He sat on my lap exactly once, when my parents had been out of town for nearly two weeks.)
He’s the only cat I’ve ever had who didn’t really play favorites. (Not until post-Murphy, anyway.) My dad has always been the ‘cat favorite,’ both with Murphy and our first cat, Tom. Aside from the lap thing, Ripley was just as happy to hang with my mother or me as we was Dad.
He once, as a (skinny) kitten, squeezed between the window and the screen in my old bedroom, greatly amusing my father and our neighbor who were talking on the patio below.
Also as a kitten he was obsessed with both the hanging clock in the dining room (which he would knock askew) and the lazy susan on the dining room table, which he used to make spin, sending napkins flying. He wasn’t supposed to be on the dining room table at all, so we got a water bottle. But when you sprayed him? He sat his butt down and glared at you. It was the cutest, stubbornest thing ever.
He was trouble, basically, as all kittens are.
I’ll miss the little weirdo.