Chapter 20, In Which Ripley
Goes Forward, Alone
I have been avoiding starting this new book of the diary.
March 19, 1998
It has been almost a month and I still cannot believe that Austin
is gone. It was only a year ago yesterday that Eugene was diagnosed
with cancer and I was blinded to any other possible tragedies. I
know Gener is gone now, but I am shocked that so much has transpired
in the last year. Even "Uncle" John, who has taken such
good care of our boys each summer, has now been diagnosed with cancer.
Fortunately, John is doing well and has an excellent prognosis.
I can hardly wait for him to come back this summer and meet Ripley.
I used to wonder if I would lose interest in the Feline Diabetes
web site once Austin went to Rainbow Bridge. Never in my wildest
dreams did I think we would have another diabetic cat!
And what a surprise: Ripley is still not Austin. She is more like
Eugene, but not Eugene either. Of course not, I know, but don't
want it to be. I sounded so harsh about Ripley at first. She has
now been with us for two months. Paul, who loves all animals unconditionally,
seems nuts about her. He was thrilled because when he went to bed
last night, hours before me, Ripley came upstairs with him and slept
for awhile next to him on my pillow. My brother, Patrick, claims
to disdain Ripley but there is a mutual admiration society there.
And I am working hard with her.
Today is warm, 60 degrees, and partly sunny. A perfect day for
Austin and I to have coffee on the garden bench. Rather than mope
too long about that, I decide to put a harness and leash on Ripley
and introduce her to the outdoors. So far she has only been on the
front and back porches. We don't know if she has ever been an outdoor
cat. She is declawed (front paws) and missing a canine (feline?)
tooth, so I worry about her survival skills outside.
Ripley was frightened at first as I carried her to the bench but
she jumped down, explored everywhere to the end of her leash, then
plopped down on the earth behind the bench - on top of the beginnings
of one of my carefully nurtured prize hostas. How cat-like. The
plant will be fine, I am sure. I did some weeding while she was
contented with the small world allowed by her nylon restraint. There
was no fine old cat purring contentedly beside me as I sipped my
coffee. There was no sleepy old tabby supervising my weeding. But
there was a fine little cat, a beautiful little cat, happy to be
outdoors in the spring with mom.
We'll be doing this again.
April 17, 1998
Of course I can't expect otherwise when I use the internet to post
my diary and my very public web site, but it seems everyone knows
that I have been in a blue funk. What I call the whim-whams, just
a non-motivated state. And I can't really figure out why. At least
I am getting lots of novels read and lots of gardening, never a
bad way to pass the time!
I obviously haven't updated this diary, haven't updated the Feline
Diabetes site in weeks, and in fact didn't even turn on my computer
for a solid week. Many wonderful internet friends have emailed to
find out if all is well. I apologize for not answering, for not
updating, but two especially nice messages arrived today and I realized
that I must at least write something in the diary. Thank you, all
you wonderful animal lovers and friends out there, for caring enough
to take the time to ask about the Price-Jagodzinkski menagerie.
Ripley is ruining our reputation at the vet. While Austin and Eugene
were much loved, I picked up Ripley two days ago after a day-long
stay for a glucose curve. She was brought out by a wary vet tech
who said that Ripley was so bad that they were unable to obtain
one of the data points at all, even after sedation! I was so embarrassed.
And then Miss Ripley, Princess of the Universe, once again took
her normal astoundingly smelly dump in her carrier on the way home.
Even with the windows and sun roof open, I nearly passed out from
I am sure that Ripley is reliving horrors of losing her home several
times, staying at the SPCA, etc. and that is why she is such a little
wild woman at the vet. She is such a sweetheart most times at home.
She has become a good little indoor-outdoor cat, playing outside,
coming home when I call her. And she will even occasionally sleep
on Eugene's old pillow, by Paul's head. She now always at least
sleeps on Paul's feet. She rarely bites anymore. I forgot and starting
playing roughly with her yesterday, in the manner that Austin and
Eugene loved, and she turned around and cried to remind me that
this is not her style, instead of biting me viciously as she has
in the past. I apologized and hugged her. She even sat in my lap
for about 30 seconds and twice has sat on the boys' garden bench
for a few minutes when I put her up there. And she is so very, very
smart. I am impressed by that.
We need a few more months to convince her that we love her very
much and she has a permanent home now. As soon as she realizes that,
we will get her a kitten to keep her company, someone to boss around
and to train in her likeness! And maybe this kitty will adore me,
as Ripley is definitely Paul's cat.
Chapter 21, In Which Ripley Is the Princess
of the Universe (and of our hearts!)
June 3, 1998
I knew it was bound to happen sooner or later. I am no
longer angry at Ripley for not being Austin or Eugene. The
boys' memories are still very strong, and the thought of
Austin can still move me to tears. Ripley is not a very
physically affectionate cat but she tries in her own way,
usually by condescending to give up some of her precious
time to allow us to rub her back for long minutes.
|Taking time to smell the flowers
She leaps, she chases bugs, she curls up in the sinks and looks
precious, she still only drinks from faucets, she is afraid of the
wind, she loves to follow us around. Ripley is a wonderful cat.
Now we just need to convince the vet of that!
Today I was speaking with the elderly neighbor who lives behind
us. This was our first conversation since last fall and he wanted
to know if we had a calico cat. As if on cue, Ripley trots up and
gets a formal introduction. Turns out the introduction wasn't really
necessary as Miss Ripley apparently pays regular visits to Herb.
She goes to his door, stands on her back legs and yells to be let
in, and Herb obliges. He says she then carefully and methodically
inspects the entire downstairs of his house then trots upstairs.
Herb has never followed her up but says she stays up there about
20 minutes, then comes downstairs and asks to be let out. The routine
never varies. He is most amused by this and seems to enjoy her visits.
She is a strange little cat.
The elderly neighbor across the street has volunteered to learn
how to give insulin shots so that we can go on vacation and not
have to board Ripley. Bob is very intimidated with the process,
as we all are at first, but he is determined to learn. What a good
neighbor. Today is the 11th anniversary of the day we gave a young
stray cat to Bob. The cat had been taken in by us but was not overly
compatible with our boys so we decided not to keep him. Bob took
the cat, named him Michael, and Michael grew to a very handsome
and terrific feline, and a best buddy to Bob. A perfect match if
there ever was one.