I lost a very good friend today.
When I was living in an apartment, walking my way to the rental office to drop off my payment, I saw this cute little cat - she was grey striped, and very small - she followed me all the way from my apartment to the rental office and back. I kept stopping to see if I could pet her or see if she had a collar/ID on, but she would never let me get close.
I then went on a week-long vacation, only to come back and see her outside my apartment door - waiting for me - looking more starving than ever. Against my better judgement (one of my biggest allergies has always been to pet dander), I let her in and fed her all that was left in my freezer, having cleaned it out before leaving on vacation - 2 hotdogs, microwaved until just starting to twist, just before exploding. She barely took the time to chew as she inhaled both of them - begging me with her beautiful green eyes for more.
I took her in, letting her stay until I made a decision about her. As I got her more and more food, she began eating 3 cans of cat food a day and growing visibly. In fact, after a few more weeks, she became noticeably chubby. Soon, little lumps began moving around in her tummy. I took her to the vet and he said she was about to pop - 3 kittens. Took her home that night and she wouldn't stop meowing at my bedroom door - I still wouldn't let her sleep with me as I knew my allergies would kill me. She meowed desperately at the door until after midnight, and sure enough, in the morning 3 tiny kittens were born on some socks she had found her way to sneak underneath the couch.
Anyway, she was a very good momma kitty. I tried putting her kittens in a box so she wouldn't have so much trouble corralling them as they began crawling around, gaining independence. Of course, she rescued them immediately by jumping into the 2.5' high box and jumping back out with a kitten hanging from her mouth by the scruff of the neck.
Her only male kitten - Buster - died just as he made it to big ball of fluff size. The vet thinks of an intestinal blockage - probably a rubber band he ate. Life and death can be so random and flip at times.
Her second kitten had pretty black and white stripes. She was adopted by a friend of a friend. The third was Bullett, the runt of the litter, and passed away last year. At least Ripley didn't have to see that. They got along so well when Bullett was a kitten (probably only a year younger than she was). Ripley used to bathe her as often as she could - or at least as often as Bullett allowed her to. I remember Ripley keeping her still with her paw or a quick bite to the scruff, long enough to keep her smelling kitty clean.
Ripley was a very good companion. She knew when to sit on my lap and relax when I needed a friend. She knew when to play - when she wanted to, she simply jumped in the white plastic clothes basket. I then had to get the rubber band attached to the plastic twisty tie and shoot it across the room. She would jump out of the basket and dart across the room, grab it in her mouth and sprint back and into the clothes basket, dropping it at her feet. Once I finally realized she didn't actually bother my allergies as she should have, she loved sleeping on top of me, or stretched out along my side.
I will miss my friend and longtime companion very much. Now Duke will look after Ripley and Bullett, and hopefully they will all be together at my parent's house in heaven. Some day I will meet them there and be at home again.
Good bye, Ripper kitty - take care of yourself.