“Gray ones are trouble,” we would say to ourselves, watching Rupert climb the Christmas tree or jump up on top of the refrigerator from the counter.
And he certainly was trouble. He was a feisty gray tabby from the minute we first saw him and his sibling Ingrid at the foster home in 2009, where we’d gone to adopt a pair of kittens. He (and another gray tabby) were careening about the room, literally running sideways on the wall, bouncing off furniture and each other. He was super cute, so we adopted him and Ingrid together.
We knew that Rupert would never fill the void in our heart left behind by Tangerine and Sebastian, who had died within weeks of each other not long before, but having him in the house certainly brought us joy and laughter. When we put up our Christmas tree in 2009, he zoomed up like nobody’s business. We would look at each other and comment that he’d slow down in a few years.
And eventually he did, though he was always a lovebug. When he wasn’t tearing around the house, he was likely sitting on our laps and purring. Every day at suppertime, he would yell at us about how he was starving and the other cats were starving, couldn’t we see how starving he was, how he hadn’t eaten in eight years since the day before. He wasn’t a big fan of being held, unless it was in a very specific way, and would squirm and let us know that he had things he had to do! Like run up and down the stairs.
He was a good friend to the other kitties when he was at his prime, and would put up with a lot from the foster kittens. (When we got Sherman a few years later, we joked that Rupert had taught Sherman all about being a troublesome gray cat.)
He started vomiting regularly a year or so ago, and wasn’t feeling too well. The vet would give him shots of cortisone every month or so, and that seemed to do the trick for awhile. Then we put him on a daily steroid medicine, and that helped as well. But he continued to lose weight, he started peeing outside the litter box (a good sign that a cat is not happy), and he had horrible diarrhea. He stopped eating some days, would eat more others, but he wasn’t yelling at me at supper time anymore. The vet had initially diagnosed him with inflammatory bowel disease, which can lead to GI lymphoma, which is likely was Rupert had at the end. It’s difficult to detect, but he was clearly not happy, so we knew it was time.
The vet was compassionate and kind. Rupert did not like the first shot, but he went to sleep quickly and calmed down for the last time.
Now, his legacy lives on in Guffaw, who was a foster kitty that we wound up adopting a couple of months ago. Guffaw is a gray cat and therefore trouble, and he learned a lot from his mentor.
Thank you for the laughter, the love, and the memories, Rupert. You were a really good guy, and I will always love and miss you.