On our honeymoon over ten years ago, I told J that I wanted to look at cats when we got back home. Our lease permitted them, and now that our lives seemed settled, I wanted a pet. So, the day after our honeymoon, while J went to work, I headed to the humane society to check out cats.
Looking didn’t last long. I saw Pippin, or rather Malone as he was called then. Our eyes met. We bonded. Boom. I fell in love with him. We snuggled. We played. I put a hold on him, and dragged J kicking and screaming to meet him later that day.
J did not want a cat. Not one teensy little bit. But, he loved me. And I loved Pippin. So, he relented. We paid our deposit. And then, the next day, I got to go pick him up.
At the time, I didn’t know the wisdom of cat carriers. The humane society sent him home with me in a cardboard box with ventilation holes. Pippin protested the box. All the way back to our apartment he frantically worked at breaking free, wailing all the while. He succeeded at the very moment I was carrying him through the entrance to our apartment building. Jail break! He dashed up the stairs, and I sprinted after trying to scoop him up.
Since then, he’s sat on top of my books and journals as I worked, eager to be near me. Back in the day, before J’s cat allergies made him weezy, Pippin would sleep wrapped around my head. I’d wake in the middle of the night as I felt him tugging the band out of my hair with his teeth. He loved to steal ponytail holders and squirrel them away all over the house.
While I watched tv or read books, he’d walk around my shoulders, purring and trying to nibble my ears. That one was weird. And usually got him evicted from the couch.
No partially full glass was safe with Pippin. Anytime he could find one, he relished knocking it over. Not to drink anything. Just to be a stinker. I’ve lost count of the glasses he broke.
Pippin’s been dolled up in ladybug, pumpkin and duck outfits. He rocked a Christmas sweater for a few Christmases. Sadly, I can’t find those photos. He especially hated the Christmas sweaters. He’d sit there glaring like he was mentally promising to poop on my laundry later.
Pippin went on adventures with us. We brought him in his carrier to farmers markets. We put him on a leash and took him on picnics — including one incident during the Back to the 50s car show where he managed to escape his leash and nearly ran away. We watched the old cars cruising up and down Snelling. Pippin was not pleased with the noise.
We even paid to take Pippin with us on a plane trip to Chicago since I didn’t want to leave him home alone. Pippin wasn’t thrilled. And this was the moment where we learned that Pippin wouldn’t swallow liquid medication. He’d rather let it slowly foam out of his mouth, then swallow and just get rid of the taste. He yowled the entire plane ride. I’m sure the other passengers thought we were delightful!
He and Colby came with us on road trips to Chicago, including one incident where Colby tried to jump out the car window into a tollbooth while J was paying.
His best buddy Colby, our orange tabby, died about six years ago. These two were always next to each other all cuddled up. They preferred to share a single cat bed. When we came back from the vet without Colby, Pippin’s look of utter devastation totally destroyed me. And that’s when we went and picked out Clyde. Pippin was thrilled to have another friend in the house.
Clyde was not thrilled to meet Pippin. Not one bit. Clyde made peace with Pippin after Wally came to our house, and they joined forces against the dog.
Over the past ten years, Pippin’s been my cuddle bug and shadow following me around the house. And it still feels weird that he died nearly two weeks ago. Some part of me still expects him to pop out of the basement, even though I know better. Life in our house just feels strange without this ornery guy around.