In Memorial: Ringo

In Memorial: Ringo

ringoI have known & loved many, many cats in my life.  Each is wonderful in his or her own way.  But Ringo was one of the most magnificent and well-loved cats it has been my privilege to know and care for.

Ringo was loved by all who met him but was not seriously considered for adoption for several years due to his age and illnesses.  But, much to our joy, he was adopted by a wonderful couple in early February of this yeat.

This afternoon, I had the sad honor of being by his side as he left this world to begin the next stage of his journey.I can still remember when Ringo came to Tabby’s Place in May of 2006.  He was 14 years old and had been abandoned by his owner when Ringo became diabetic.  Ringo always appeared very fragile.  In addition, he added heart disease and inflammatory bowel disease to his diabetes.

Despite this, he amazed everyone (especially the vets) and thrived in the Lounge, where he received plentiful human attention.

Ringo’s new family stayed in touch with us and sent us the video to the right a short while after they adopted him.  Certainly, no cat was more loved.

A few days ago, his family called to say that Ringo was doing very poorly.  As with many elderly cats, his kidneys were starting to fail.  While this problem often lends itself to medical management, Ringo’s advanced heart disease was a significant complication.

After several days of treatment, it became clear that Ringo was failing and was ready to leave.  The owners kindly invited me to be there when they let him go.   When I arrived, I spent some time with dear Ringo, mostly stroking his gorgeous head and passing on ther goodbyes and good wishes of everyone at Tabby’s Place.

I miss him more than words can tell.  I will never forget him and his amazing spirit.  Goodbye, dear Ringo.  Say hi to Tabby for me.  I lool forward to being with you again one day.

41 thoughts on “In Memorial: Ringo

  1. Ringo: you were obviously much-loved. I’m sorry I never had the chance to meet your magnificent self.

    Jonathan: You were very courageous to be involved in this. Ringo was blessed to have you as a friend.

  2. That memorial to Ringo really got to me in a major way. I hope when My Sweet Albert passes to the great beyond I can write a piece as good as the Ringo memorial.

  3. Hi Everyone.
    I’m Ringo’s mom. Today is so difficult. The loss so overwhelming. The grief so deep. Nothing fits. Nothing feels “right.” How can it? Ringo isn’t here and I have nothing to do for him. The minutes pass and my heart and mind tell me that it is time for this and time for that. Not that Ringo needed a lot of care, but there were “things” to do at certain times. I’ve been through this many times, and I know that I will feel better at some point — that I have to get through these initial days with all this grief. But for yesterday and today, and probably a number of “tomorrows,” I will feel so lost and sad. As will Jim, Ringo’s dad. I hope to write more another time. Now, it is time to play with Annie, our youngster who just the last few days was willing to touch her nose to Ringo’s nose. Never enough time.

    1. Stacey:

      For what it’s worth, there are many of us who know the feeling you describe. We are your family, your support group, and I hope you’ll post here to let us know how you’re doing.

      I’ve never been a believer in the “time heals all wounds” thing because these sorts of wounds continue to hurt. You will, however, get used to having them and there’s something to be said for that.

      Pets and love to Annie.


    2. Fred,
      Thanks for your encouraging words. We definitely know that we are not alone — so many good people who know what this is (in this crazy world with all the turmoil, suffering and pain, while this palls in comparison, the grief and sadness are still very real for all of us who care about the animals who cannot speak for themselves — and didn’t ask to be at the short end of every stick humans create).

      I believe that while the wounds get less acute, they don’t disappear completely — there’s always a dull ache, even amidst the smiles as we remember the good times. There’s always a big sigh after the smile. Wistful? Maybe that’s the word:
      1: full of yearning or desire tinged with melancholy
      2: musingly sad : pensive

      I hope to write more — longer than a blog. So many thoughts — all jumbled, I write them down. Writing helps me get through grief. And then, reading that months/years later is so satisfying.


    3. Stacey
      So very sorry to hear of Ringo’s passing. What a story about him. He certainly had a great life in his very senior years with you. I know you miss him and hope you have the support of friends at this time. Take care. Thinking of you and Ringo.
      Warmly, Debbi A

  4. Stacey and Jim: Life is SO fragile! Ringo was a cat among cats and doubly blessed — to have been at Tabby’s Place and then to have been adopted into such a loving home, with people who cherished him and loved him and helped him with the “final act of love and kindness.” It is never easy to adopt older/health challenged cats (but then again, when does life offer a guarantee?) — but it is ALWAYS worth it! Ringo knew you loved him and even though your time together was short, it was incredibly special and NOTHING can ever replace that! And the fact that you so generously invited Jonathan to be present when Ringo passed — what a special and generous gift. We never get over the hurt of losing our special cats — but to not have loved them? THAT would have been the real tragedy! Know that so many of us understand, keep you (and Ringo) in our hearts and are here for you to help you through this sad time. And know that Ringo will be waiting for you again someday!


    1. Karen,
      Thank you. There was no question for us that Jonathan and anyone else from Tabby’s Place belonged with Ringo yesterday — Ringo belonged to them just as much as us. We all needed to be with him — to honor him as he honored us with his presence in our lives. A friend has said that to experience joy, you have to experience pain. Boy, is this a painful road to travel to get back to at least some of the joy.


  5. Dear Stacey and Jim,

    As you know, there are no words I, or any of us, can say to make this better. Please just know that, as we cherished Ringo, all of us at Tabby’s Place love you and will hold you close to our hearts and prayers as you grieve this extraordinary soul. You are forever a precious part of the Tabby’s Place family.

    I am grateful that, for the last springtime of his life, Ringo knew the sweetness of having his true, much-awaited, very-much-worth-waiting-for forever home. I do believe his time with you was meant to be, and that you will see him again.

    Ringo was one of the first cats I met when I first started at Tabby’s Place. I will never forget the delight in his huge, glass-green eyes every time a human friend entered his suite, and his determination to greet us, lumbering over joyfully even through the diabetic neuropathy that made his gait awkward. I loved his rumbly purr; his joie de vivre; the way he’d suddenly rewind to kittenhood in the presence of the right wand toy; his funny habit of chomping on noses in the midst of lovingly head-butting people; the way he’d start kicking his back leg gleefully if you rubbed just the right spot on his belly; and, most of all, his infinite gentleness. I know I am better for having loved Ringo. I will miss him always, and look forward to being with him again, too.

    Jon, thank you for penning a tribute that can only be described as perfect. Thank you for making Ringo’s happy golden years possible by giving him his life-saving second chance at age 14. I am so grateful to know that you, Stacey and Jim were all with him as he left this world.

    You are all in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you all for loving this one-in-a-zillion cat so deeply and so well…


  6. Angela,
    Thanks. How lucky I’ve been. My Moses was a one-in-a-zillion cat (Maine Coon tabby — mix; rescued as a kitten from….a brook). And now a second one-in-a-zillion cat. What you wrote could have been about Moses — our ambassador, our dignified and regal gentle giant (no cliches — just the truth). Everyone who met Moses said the same things — even the vets. Truly special. Not once but twice. Perhaps my Moses sent us — got us to look one more time at the Tabby’s Place photographs. There was Ringo, that once last search in the photos.

    Ringo played a little for us — an empty film cannister connected to a shoelace. Pounce on it, try to grab it, But then tired.

    Ah yes, springtime and warm weather — our long-awaited goal was coming close. Last Sunday we set up our large “outdoor cat cage” — to give the cats protected time outside. That was to be our gift to Ringo: protected time outside (if he wanted it). Now, we see the empty cage — I can’t bear to look at it. Our Andy loved it, staying outside until late, many warm nights last year.

    We hoped that maybe Ringo would love it too. Last week, finally, a few warm days, so I started by taking Ringo outside for a few minutes on the front walk (knowing that he could not run from me). He was apprehensive, to say the least. But looked around — and kept looking back at the door.

    Then, on Friday (yes, one day before…), I called him to the front door, he lumbered over there, and sat (thinking?) while I held open the storm door, waiting for him to decide: in or out. Finally, he stepped outside on his own. Quickly, though, he wanted back in — looking back at the door. But, progress, I thought. We’d have him for some time, and he’d enjoy the warm weather outside — protected in the cage and the “fenced corral” we would once again set up so that he could freely walk on the back walk. Empty cage. No corral to be built.

    How wonderful that there are people who care about these little ones. Thank you!

    1. I’m Jim Ringo’s Dad. Thank you Tabby’s Place for giving Stacey and I the opportunity to care for Ringo. It was an honor to be trusted with caring for Ringo. He was truly one of God’s amazing creatures. I felt connected with him the first moment I walked into the employee lounge and saw him. Today hurts so much. From having experienced the loss of a loved one before, I know each day will be better. I also know that from time to time old friend grief will come again.

      I appreciate all the message’s … to see that Ringo was so blessed to have had so much love in his life. I have learned that Tabby’s Place is no ordinary place … yes there are many other places where cats are kept awaiting adoption … but at Tabby’s Place I have felt that each and every cat experiences the love of the staff, volunteers and supporters.

      Our time with Ringo was much too short … and therein lies a lesson … never put off sharing your love … never be in a position to say … “If only I knew I wouldn’t have tomorrow …”

      Peace and Blessings to all the staff, volunteers and supporters of Tabby’s Place.

      From Ringo’s Dad.

  7. I was one of the many lucky and oh so blessed people who could claim membership in the group more lovingly called Ringo’s Sponsors while he was at Tabby’s Place. He was ever so handsome and had such a soft loving look in his eyes in every picture in every monthly update. I will always be grateful for those updates and how beautifully and detailed they were written. I was never able to meet Ringo “in person” as I live in Gilroy, California. I would count the days though until the next update came in my e-mail. Ringo was the epitamy of the Maine Coon breed – so soft and gentle with ever so much love to give.

    Ringo – please say hi to my Madison Marie for me. She’s that absolutely beautiful Maine Coon tortoiseshell I’m sure you’ll encounter at the Rainbow Bridge. Please tell her that her mom and dad and brothers and sisters all miss her and still love her ever so much.

    And, thank you so much for letting me be one of your grateful sponsors.


    gilroy cat mom

  8. Today we visited Tabby’s Place. We needed to be with the people who knew Ringo. It was as therapeutic as we’d hoped it would be. Talking to the people who could give us more information and stories about Ringo and being in Ringo’s previous home (his energy still there) — just so wonderful and comforting. I needed to go back to the lounge — where we first met Ringo. To see his couch and his window.

    And, of course, we visited with some of the other special needs cats — so friendly and loving the attention.

    Eleven and 1/2 weeks ago we went there, full of excitement — the first time to see Ringo, the next day to take him to his new home. How fortunate we were to have found him and to have had the chance to love him.


    1. Jim
      Real nice meeting you today. I was talking to you as I petted Albert the black cat in the lobby and what you said about not waiting to tell somebody you love them is true, but hard to remember.

  9. Hi Everyone,
    Due to YouTube rules, Jonathan could not include the song that we put on Ringo’s “video” (shown above). So here are the lyrics. Maybe, when you view the video, you can think of these lyrics (or better yet, find an online version [sung by Faith Hill] and play it while you view the video).

    There You’ll Be
    Songwriters: Warren, Diane;
    When I think back on these times
    And the dreams we left behind
    I’ll be glad ’cause I was blessed to get to have you in my life

    When I look back on these days
    I look and see your face
    You were right there for me

    In my dreams I’ll always see you soar above the sky
    In my heart there’ll always be a place for you for all my life
    I’ll keep a part of you with me
    And everywhere I am, there you’ll be
    And everywhere I am, there you’ll be

    You know you showed me how it feels
    To feel the sky within my reach
    And I always will remember all the strength you gave to me

    Your love made me make it through
    Oh, I owe so much to you
    You were right there for me

    In my dreams I’ll always see you soar above the sky
    In my heart there’ll always be a place for you for all my life
    I’ll keep a part of you with me
    And everywhere I am there you’ll be

    ‘Cause I always saw in you my light my strength
    And I want to thank you now for all the ways
    You were right there for me, you were right there for me always

    In my dreams I’ll always see you soar above the sky
    In my heart there’ll always be a place for you for all my life
    I’ll keep a part of you with me
    And everywhere I am, there you’ll be
    And everywhere I am, there you’ll be

    There you’ll be

    1. For sure. Amazing how appropriate the song is, considering that Ringo wasn’t with us very long. But, maybe he was — maybe there’s such a connection between Ringo and my Moses. So many similarities (breed, color, personality, eccentricities).

      Today I’m angry. And the sadness feels greater today than yesterday. Difficulty focusing on work — my mind drifts and all I want to do is write about dear, sweet Ringo.

  10. Stacy & Jim
    When I visited Tabby’s Place in early April, Ringo was already with you but he was still a topic of conversation, you could feel the love, your time may have been short with him but it is obvious that there was much love being shared and that memory will go on forever. You were special people who were there for a special needs cat. After the sadness and anger, you will be happy in the knowledge of having known and cared for Ringo.

    1. CCL,
      Thanks. All that you wrote is true, we know. At some point, the tears will not well in my eyes as often and my throat will not constrict as often.

      Maybe this is part of the anger: feeling deprived of knowing and caring for Ringo for longer — knowing that we could not give him all that we wanted to: more love, and comfort, and “perks” (like going outside in the nice weather). That he would not experience all that while he was in his “on-earth form.” We are comforted knowing that he is not suffering now, but we wanted to give him so much more. He deserved it (they all do). And for us, angry that we would not be blessed with him for longer.

  11. Stacey – You are so right about there being a connection – a very special blessed one – between cats. Years ago I had an orange tabby cat named Chuck. He was such a very special one-of-a-kind kitty. He passed away in 1978 at the age of 18-1/2 years. Chuck was my very best friend while growing up. After I lost him I asked God that if he ever gave me another cat to please make him like Chuck. In October 2002 Tobias Bartholomew McPud (aka Toby) became my new son (an absolutely gorgeous silver tabby). He is so very much like Chuck in many ways. The most special way though is how he asks to be held. He stands up on his hind legs and puts his front paws against my knees – EXACTLY the way Chuck used to. God really did answer my prayer – he gave me my Chuck back.

    gilroy catmom

  12. It’s been a week since Ringo’s decline. Last Thursday morning Ringo didn’t eat. I called the vet that morning and I asked her if “things” can change that quickly and she said “yes, they can.” We went immediately to the vet. The worst had happened: that quick downward turn. Ringo’s kidney values were terrible — almost double what they were 8 days before (already too high). “Intensive care” began that day: subq, injectible Pepcid, syringe feeding and syringe hydration. But, by Saturday morning, our boy let us know that we had to let him go.

    We think back to last week — the good days, Ringo’s good appetite, his interest in his surroundings. Just so hard to believe — so fast. We miss Ringo so much.

  13. A winter memory. Feb. 5, 2009 — a middle-of-the-winter day where you saw only bare trees. But Ringo entered our lives and the dreary winter wasn’t so dreary; excitement was here in the form of a special cat named Ringo. Now it is May, with spring scenery: all kinds of foliage and colors. But Ringo has passed and the spring excitement has been diminished — as have our lives been diminished. When we look out the windows and see spring foliage, it feels like such a long time ago — 2/5/09, a season ago, a lifetime ago, a Ringo ago. How different this might feel if our 11 weeks with our beloved Ringo had spanned June to September — with the same view out the window at both ends of the timeline (maybe the foliage would be a little drier and worn out from the summer heat but still green). But now, we have our winter memory — in the form of our dear, sweet Ringo.

  14. Stacey & Jim
    Easy for any of us to say hang in there, but just remember, you had time with one beautiful and wonderful cat. He was really loved, just look at all the wonderful comments about him. Today for the first time, here at work 3 of us (all cat lovers) were able to put a laptop next to my computer and play the video along with the faith hill song and what you did was an unbelievable tribute to Ringo. There were no dry eyes by the end of the tribute. Bless you and just remember all the fond memories of Ringo that you will carry in your heart forever.

    1. CCL,
      Thanks for your encouraging words. We know that we were part of something so wonderful. The slideshow and song were from late Feb/early March — our “tribute/welcome” to Ringo in his new home. Little did we know that it would be so important so quickly. We are so glad that you were able to synch the audio and video.

  15. One week later. Still reeling from Ringo’s quick decline and passing. Today we kept things low-key, keeping this Ringo’s day — thinking about him even more than usual (is that possible?). Remembering our big boy who graced us with his presence for 2 1/2 wonderful months, despite the ups and downs — his, and ours as we worried about him, and tried to keep him happy and comfortable — loved him. His last Wednesday (4/22/09), he stayed on my lap for probably more than one hour. His head on my hand. He seemed so content then, but perhaps he was already slipping away.

    We pet him around his head and neck. Careful to stay away from other areas that he does not like.
    Brush and comb his handsome head, neck and chin — even sneaking in some gentle strokes in the long hair places he does not like (pain? something else?). Oh, why can’t you tell us so that we can help you?
    Our evenings and nights include some “couch time”: he ambles over to the couch and meows his distinctive meow (barely audible, but raspy).
    One of us picks him up and gently puts him on the couch (any time we pick him up, we try to put him down front-feet first, figuring he has more strength and less pain that way because of his back leg neuropathy).
    I pat my leg to encourage him to be my lap cat.
    Usually he stays only for 5 minutes or so.
    He manages to jump down (front feet first).
    Off he goes to one of his places, to sleep the rest of the evening, until bedtime.
    Sleep well, dear sweet Ringo.

  16. Today is our 3 month anniversary with Ringo. We are told that animals do not view time like we humans view it. How lucky they are. Time…sometimes, our enemy as we re-live our sadness by remembering events good and bad; sometimes, our blessing as our sadness and memories are dulled by time’s passing (this is when we want it to pass more quicklly: to dull our sadness quicker).

    But we also question time: we want to “re-wind” — why why can’t we go back to February 5th? That day, full of excitement, as we drove to Tabby’s Place to take home our Ringo.

    Time….our eleven weeks with Ringo were wonderful.

    As I try to do with each cat’s life and passing, I try to find the cat’s gifts to us mere humans. Yes, their very existence with us is a gift. But what is that special gift: that gift that allows us to honor that wonderful being? Jim and I realized that Ringo’s special gift to us is the knowledge that we can do more: we can ask another Tabby’s Place special needs cat to grace us with his or her presence in our home and lives. Through us, this is how Ringo can thank Tabby’s Place staff and volunteers for their gifts to him. For us, this is how we can honor our Ringo, and extend our time with him.

  17. I think your outlook on the loss of Ringo and your thoughts on how to honor his memory by giving another Tabby’s Place special needs cat a loving home is fantastic and I praise you for it. You are right in a certain way Ringo’s spirit and will lived in the hearts of all the staff and volunteers at Tabby’s Place. Just as they have Cherny’s Garden, perhaps Jonathan should consider dedicating an area to Ringo, perhaps a suite or maybe “his lounge”. Bless you for what you are wanting to do.

    1. CCL,
      Thanks. Today, there’s a tiny seed of peace in me as I think about Ringo needing to go — on his terms. And, maybe this next step, continuing his work, is Ringo’s way of helping that seed grow.

      “Ringo’s Lounge” — that would be a terrific way to honor and remember Ringo.

  18. I think that you continuing Ringo’s work in his honor will nurture that tiny seed into the biggest garden anyone has ever seen. He may not be here physically to admire the results, but you know he will be well aware of what you have done in his honor, and be proud of you for it. Also I like the sound of “Ringo’s Lounge” – has a certain Ring(o) to it. Since you know Jonathan (I have never had the pleasure to meet him), why don’t you mention it.

    1. Thanks. I will ask Jonathan to name the room “Ringo’s Lounge.” I expect to see Jonathan on Sunday when we take our first step in nurturing that seed: we are adopting Crystal. We didn’t expect to do this so quickly after Ringo’s passing, but when things happen a certain way, it’s often best to follow that flow — as we learn from these wonderful beings (and all our non-human friends).

      Interesting….Annie stays away from the special pad we placed on the living room floor for Ringo (one of his favorite spots).

  19. If your heart says to do it now then it is time, I’m sure Ringo would approve. Remember this is the first step in continuing his work, Crystal is one lucky girl. Annie staying away from Ringo’s special pad, it is like she still sees it as his space and respects that. I hope Jonathan approves of the lounge idea.

    1. Thanks. In a way, Crystal will be Ringo’s. He will be bringing her to us. Maybe he is her guardian angel. He needed to be in our lives so that she could be in our lives.

  20. I see what you are saying and that is a beautiful way to look at it. Where ever Crystal goes, if you listen real carefully you will hear a second set of paws.

    1. Sounds wonderful: “a second set of paws” (and now Ringo can walk — no more “hocking”).

      This morning, I heard Ringo meow — no mistaking it for something else making a similar sound.

  21. Although Ringo is in God’s safe keeping at the Rainbow Bridge, Ringo will be in your heart forever and as long as he is there you will always see and hear signs of his presence.

  22. Today is Mother’s Day. A day to remember all mothers and their children. Soon we are off to Tabby’s Place — to bring our next little one home.

    In memory of Ringo and to welcome Crystal, Jim and I scattered some flower seeds that we collected from last summer’s flowers. Continuity, circle, call it what you will, it feels good to be connected to all living things that have touched our lives. We scattered the seeds in the woody area behind our house. It is not ours but it is a little sanctuary for the wildlife. Not planted, just scattered, but hopefully, the seeds will grow and give us some color and cheer this summer as we remember all our little ones. We will plant some flower seeds in the usual beds, and nurture them and think of our Ringo.

  23. Many thanks to the people who donated “gift baskets” to Tabby’s Place in Ringo’s name. And thank you to everyone who has contributed to this blog. All your efforts help us feel better — believe me! Jim and I appreciate everyone’s kindness during this difficult time.

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