“Ruthie, here Ruthie, where are you Ruthie?” I chanted outside the car window, on a recent visit, while driving down a Lawrence alley. I was looking for my cat Ruthie who found a new home in Lawrence, Kansas one winter day about 4 years ago.
She was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and first adopted by me when she was a tiny little kitten. We had a good 5 years together. Oh my. That makes Ruthie 9 years old? Wow. I didn’t realize that until now. How time flies when you are having fun.
Anyway, to get on with one of her stories. Cat stories. I never thought I would ever have a cat story. I don’t even really like cats very much. Just my Ruthie. My oldest daughter, Jenny made me, forced me, dragged me to the Golden Valley Humane Society in Minnesota so that I could buy a companion. Actually, I think she and her husband paid for her. I didn’t think I needed a companion, however, my daughter was adamant. They needed me to have better boundaries (not visit their crib so much) so Jenny thought this might help. I had followed them to Minneapolis about 9 years ago while Tom went to graduate school. I originally rented a place across the street from them. Jenny invited me.
Ruthie was unique. Most cat owners describe their cats that way, however, really, she was special. In good ways and not so good ways. Sometimes Ruthie thought she was a dog and when she heard people in my hallway or at the outer door she would run to our door and bark. I love it. She was also very intuitive and when I was ill, she would pounce gently to my side in bed and cuddle up with me. She also had a bit of a personality disorder,,,,not just the multiple personality kind (thinking she was a dog) but she liked to sneak up on people, fly through the air and land on their shoulders. Not cool. Especially when a particular guest was holding a full glass of icy lemonade. Ruthie decided to welcome her to my living room with one of those flying through the air episodes and I ended up with a very flustered screaming guest and a lemonade stain on my ceiling. Sometimes I would take 4-5 day trips and have someone check on her food and water occasionally. When I would return, she would run at my heals bitching me out with her whiny meows, for leaving her. That would last about 3 days.
Tom graduated and Jenny, Benny and Tom moved to Lawrence, Kansas.
So Ruthie and I lived in my brownstone four blocks from Lake Harriet happily ever after until I decided to move to Colorado. I had a long talk with her and told her I was going to have to give her to someone else and I would try to keep her in the family so we could continue our love-hate, co-dependent relationship together. My son reluctantly said he would take her. He lived in Oklahoma.
I went to Petco or Pet Smart, one of those mega pet stores, not sure which and bought her a fancy soft sided mobile home and some dander spray for my son’s benefit. He has had allergy issues since he was a kid. I put her in her mobile home in the front seat of my CRV with the trailer hitched behind and took off for Colorado. This was Thanksgiving weekend. My first stop was Lawrence, Kansas to have Thanksgiving dinner with all my kids, spend the night and then take off for my cabin in the woods. (The owner of this cabin said no cats allowed, or I would have kept her). When I got there, Taft immediately started sniffling, wheezing and complaining about Ruthie.
So I put her outside the house in her soft sided mobile home. Ruthie got out. The weather was not looking so great and I had to make plans to leave earlier for Colorado before a big snowstorm hit. We searched the neighborhood for Ruthie. Jenny said she would put up signs and if she found Ruthie she and Tom would take her to the NO KILL shelter there in Lawrence. She said, that was all she could do. She also had allergies and only liked Ruthie because she helped keep me out of her hair when we lived in Minneapolis together. I could see a look of relief on Taft’s face.
So I kissed and hugged my family and set out on my Colorado adventure. Two weeks later Jenny called me and said they found Ruthie.
Now this is where the story gets really good.
Jenny said that the neighbor that lived behind her came up to her and asked her if she was the person looking for the cat. Jenny nodded affirmatively. He said that when he got up this morning he walked downstairs to the kitchen and there was a cat on his kitchen table. Jenny, laughed and said, yes, that sounds like Ruthie. The neighbor seemed startled and said, what did you say the cat’s name is? She repeated, Ruthie. He then said, today is the year anniversary of my mother Ruth’s death.
The cat on the kitchen table was indeed Ruthie. She had found her new home.