Saturday, May 19, 2007

Rest in Peace, Ringer

Ringer, my friend and cat for 18 years, had to be put to sleep late Saturday morning. We adopted him 18 years ago this month at the age of three months (I was eight at the time). He was the kind of cat that made you want to have a cat, even if you weren't particularly fond of cats. He was a trusting, loving soul that left an impression on all who met him. No matter where I went or how long I was gone (hours, days, months), he was always there at my parents' house to greet me when I came back. There are so many stories, so many memories. He lived as full a life as a cat could ever expect and then some, and he was loved through all of it. A true blessing.

Five years ago this month, he had a stroke. We pulled him back from the brink, and he made a full recovery. Every moment after was a miracle. It reached the point where it seemed that he would go on forever. But a blood clot robbed him of his ability to walk (he was already showing symptoms when I saw him on Sunday). He stopped eating. This time, I could not save him. All I could do was hold him, say goodbye, and end his pain. It's hard to say goodbye to something that's been with you for 3/4 of your life. But when I saw him Saturday morning, I knew it was time.

Rest in peace, Ringer. I couldn't have asked for a better cat.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am really sorry to hear this. He was a great cat, and I'll miss him too. I'm glad I saw him one more time last Sunday. He seemed almost immortal after all he'd gone through. Your parents' house won't be the same without him. Take care,

5/21/2007 8:35 AM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

I wasn't really sure how to write this post, though I knew I wanted to. Every time I'd write about a memory, I would think "well, if I mention that, I have to mention this". I ended up keeping it relatively short. So I'm thinking that I'll post memories in the comments section here. That way, I'll have a nice little online memorial to Ringer and I don't have to subject my readers to countless blog posts about him.

5/21/2007 6:38 PM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

I was eight years old when Ringer came into my life. Our vet had called my parents, knowing that we had previously owned a Siamese (who lived to be 16), to ask if they would consider adopting another. A 3-month-old Siamese cat had been dropped at his office, and he wouldn’t place a Siamese with someone who didn’t know what they were getting themselves into. I remember coming home from school to find my sister already playing on the floor with him. His first hello was a long, loud, uniquely Siamese cry that left him breathless. I fell instantly in love. He came with a lavender collar with a little bell on it. We named him Ringer because he rang the bell when he walked.

5/21/2007 6:40 PM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

When my sister was in second grade, she brought him in for show and tell. When she let one of the other kids hold him, the teacher said that if she let one kid hold him, she had to let everyone else hold him. So she passed him to each child, and each child passed him back. And he loved it. I think this may be where he learned to "lap share". If three people were sitting on the couch, he would sit in one persons lap for a while, then move on to the next person and sit in their lap for a while, then move on to the next person.

5/21/2007 6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I would housesit at your parents' house, I'd sit and watch T.V. and Ringer would sit on my lap. After an hour or so, I'd want to get up but I waited because I figured he'd wake up soon and get food or relieve himself. Hours later, I had to displace him. He could always outlast me.

5/22/2007 8:14 AM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

Mom plays music when she cleans the house. Before Ringer went deaf, he would meow when he heard the music. Mom would then pick him up and dance with him for a little bit. When he seemed satisfied, she'd go back to cleaning. Dad called her "Dances with Cats".

5/22/2007 8:54 AM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

We used to joke that Ringer thought he was a dog: he would come when called (he even came when you whistled), he loved people, and he even liked his belly rubbed.

5/22/2007 8:57 AM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

Ringer injured one of the claws on his back foot when he was a couple of years old. As a result, he had to where an Elizabethan collar while it healed. It messed with his peripheral vision, so whenever he took a step, he would look to one side. As he walked, his head would bob back and forth as if the sides of his head were connected by strings to his feet. Even if he only took one step, his head would turn to that one side. It was truly a bizarre thing to witness.

5/22/2007 9:02 AM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

At one point, Ringer grew fascinated by flushing toilets. He even frightened a guest when he tried to follow her into the bathroom so that he could watch the water swirl around in the toilet when he was done. Once, my mom, sister, and I were all in the fourth quadrant hallway when we heard the guest bathroom flush. All the humans who were home at the time were standing right there. We looked down the hall, and there was Ringer, coming out of the guest bathroom. (Too bad we never taught him how to use the toilet).

5/22/2007 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are beautiful thoughts about our beautiful cat.


5/23/2007 9:53 PM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

When I would cuddle up in the sick blanket, Ringer would sleep in the bottom and warm my feet. For some reason, he preferred being completely enveloped by the blanket to having it partially covering him, even though I always tried to get him to sit in my lap so he could stick his head out to get some air.

5/23/2007 10:04 PM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

When Ringer had to go on antibiotics, we gave him treats after giving him his medicine. After the first couple of doses, he would actually REMIND us that it was time for his medicine by sitting in my chair at the kitchen table and meowing. And one person could give him his meds without having to hold him down. Good kitty!

5/23/2007 10:10 PM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

My mom uses a heating pad for her back in the mornings. In his later, more arthritic years, Ringer would sleep on the heating pad as soon as she was done with them. The picture with this post is actually of him sleeping on a towel that has been placed over the heating pad.

5/23/2007 10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ringer used to try to get dibs on the heating pad while I was putting the towel over it. He was the world's tamest cat. He was even good with very young children.


5/24/2007 10:47 PM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

Diana was 4 weeks old when we got her (probably a bit too young to be adopted). Her mother was a blue-point Siamese just like Ringer, so she pretty instantly grew attached to him. Ringer didn't seem to know what to think at first (especially since she kept trying to nurse him), but they eventually became very close friends.

5/24/2007 10:56 PM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

When I was in college, Ringer got into a series of fights with something (we weren't sure what). His last fight resulted in a single injury to the base of his tail (apparently, he finally figured out the best strategy was to run away). The injury healed funny. As a result, whenever he tried to wag his tail, it would jerk instead of sway. Gradually, it got to the point where his tail would spin kind of like a helicopter when he got excited. It took several months, but this "helicopter tail" did eventually go away.

5/27/2007 9:19 AM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

Ringer was not the greatest of hunters. I remember watching him and our white cat, Mark, tracking the same squirrel. Mark was a tremendously skilled hunter who learned to capture critters with two bells on his collar. When the squirrel looked away, Ringer scampered forward several feet. Mark... lifted his left front foot. Needless to say, Ringer ended up alerting the squirrel to their presence and it got away.

5/27/2007 9:24 AM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

Back when canned meat was a breakfast treat rather than a dietary necessity, I taught Ringer to stand on his hind legs to get his food. It got to the point where he would stand just to touch his nose to my finger, whether or not food was involved.

5/27/2007 9:27 AM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

Because the wind kept blowing the cat door open, we built an airlock shaped like a house. We even made the colors mostly match our own house. Ringer and Diana would sleep in it during warm weather for the sauna effect. During inclement weather, they would sit in there and wait for the weather to get better. The two of them even waited in there during Hurricane Isabel.

5/28/2007 11:33 PM  
Blogger Diana said...


5/30/2007 1:38 AM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

I remember sitting on the top bunk of my bunk bed once when my mom plopped Ringer down next to me. My little sister had put him in a red dress that I wore when I was two. It actually fit him very well. He didn't try to tear the dress off, but he had this "why me?" look on his face.

6/01/2007 11:36 PM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

Ringer used to sleep in my bed every night. He even had his own pillow and blanket (to keep him from stealing mine). He was able to get onto the top bunk of my bunk bed by himself (and the ladder has the claw marks to prove it).

6/02/2007 12:05 AM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

Though Ringer seemed to enjoy my first computer (and the heat that it generated), he eventually grew jealous of my later computers and the attention they got that he didn't. At one point, he figured out how to turn off the power switch on my computer's power strip. It did have an unswitched outlet, which I had to move my computer's plug to so that he wouldn't cut power to the computer itself. However, it still gave him the ability to switch off my monitor and all of my other computer peripherals. I had to erect some pretty sturdy barriers on both sides of my computer desk to keep him from getting back there. Poor, lonely, smart kitty!

6/02/2007 12:11 AM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

After Ringer recovered from his stroke, he would meow during dinner. We tried giving him food, but that didn't make him happy. Finally, we let him sit in a chair at the table. He curled up and sat peacefully during dinner. We didn't feed him at the table. He just wanted to sit with us. And so it went during most of the time I was living at home after college. He would cry, we'd offer him a seat, and he would sit quietly in his chair. Diana would occasionally get jealous and sit in one of the other extra chairs at the table. (The cats were not allowed to EAT at the table. If they wanted food, they had to eat in the laundry room. We only spoiled them so much ;) )

6/09/2007 8:40 PM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

Baskin-Robbins used to have ice cream cones in little football helmets. They were the perfect size for Ringer, who generally humored us when we tried to dress him up.

6/16/2007 6:12 PM  
Blogger SpakKadi said...

The neighbor's cat figured out how to jump onto the roof of the "dog house", a room attached to our house that used to house the heat pump. From there, he was able to jump onto the roof of our house. Our cats soon figured out how to do the same thing. Sometimes, we would hear a meow coming from above. We'd look up, and one of the cats would be on the roof, looking down at us. This was particularly disturbing if they managed to get to the side of the roof that was about two stories above the driveway. Thankfully, this was a rather short-lived fad.

6/18/2007 11:05 PM  

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