Pippin: A Loving Tribute to Our Beloved and Quirky Feline Friend

Our sweet cat Pippin passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, June 20, while Irene and I were away. She died in her sleep of uncertain causes, and I miss her in ways that are difficult to describe.

I’m writing this in the hope that a few notes about Pippin will help me rationalize my feelings.

Pippin’s arrival

Irene found Pippin as a kitten specifically for her mother. This didn’t work out for various reasons and we had to decide whether to ‘send her back’ or make Pippin part of our own household. And of course the answer was obvious- Pippin became ours.

Pippin herself was a wonderful kitten. She was a Siamese by appearance, but very little like one by behaviour. I’ve talked about this in the past shortly after we adopted her, and I’ll add a bit more detail in this post about how she developed as an adult when I describe her character.

Quirks and character

Most of Pippin’s kitten behaviours carried into adulthood. Her play remained enthusiastic and a bit graceless in contradiction to her Siamese-like appearance. And she never really talked very much either- strike two for her resemblance to a Siamese. She did, however, possess the softest fur I’ve ever touched- possibly a result of her Siamese + Balinese blood lines.

Pippin retained her ‘foot fetish’ throughout her life: she continued to follow me to bed at night periodically, licking my feet as opportunity presented itself. Normal play for her involved chasing or being chased by another one of our cats in a thundering race. She also regularly ‘hunted’ Irene’s stuffed animals: one of the few times Pippin meowed was when she was carrying a stuffed lion or zebra around the house.

Pippin’s ‘inelegant’ behaviour included the way she stomped around the house. She somehow managed to make as much noise as a small dog as she walked, as if trying to make everyone very aware of her movements. It was unusual enough that I thought something might be wrong: the couple of times I asked the vet they found nothing wrong with her feet or legs. She just liked to stomp instead of float silently.

Pippin also enjoyed bothering our Roomba robotic vacuum. She would lie down in its path instead of getting ‘up high’ like our other cats, and seemed largely unbothered when it bumped into her. I think she enjoyed expressing her superiority over the robotic interlopers.

Pippin was also a regular cuddler, curling up with many of her feline housemates over the years. Her favourite cuddle-buddy by far, however, has always been Iris. This friendliness didn’t always work out, however. One of her best friends early on was Samira- but they had a falling out, and Samira developed a hate for Pippin for unclear reasons.

Health and her passing

Pippin’s health was pretty good throughout her ten year life. The only issue arose in early 2023 when she was diagnosed as diabetic.

We were able to treat Pippin’s diabetes with twice daily insulin injections. With the help of a continuous glucose monitoring device (a Libre 2) we were able to somewhat optimize the insulin doses at 2 units twice a day. This didn’t make her glucose levels ‘normal’, but any increase in the dose drove them too low.

Everything was going well. Pippin’s last checkup was about a month ago and everything looked good. Our fantastic neighbours looked after our critters while we were away, and our house sitter Jessica was doing fine with the daily insulin doses. Pippin was happy, playing and cuddling with Iris and Coco as per usual.

Pippin and Coco: June 17, while Irene and I were away- kindly shared by Jessica
All of our cats: June 17- kindly shared by Jessica

On Thursday morning, just a couple of days before our return home, Jessica found Pippin deceased. Pippin was in a sunbeam on the living room floor- there was no sign of a struggle, and no obvious cause.

We had a limited necropsy performed on Pippin’s body. The results were constrained due to the fact that she had been stored in a freezer for a couple of days.

The results were not fully conclusive. All of Pippin’s organs looked healthy with the exception of her pancreas. Pippin’s pancreas was completely ‘abnormal’: no normal looking pancreatic cells were visible. Without additional testing the vet couldn’t be 100% sure, but the structure could have been cancerous. And apparently failure of the pancreas in this way can result in blood clots: the vet felt that such a clot was likely cause of Pippin’s sudden death. The failure of the pancreas could have also caused her diabetic symptoms.

Carrying forward

Pippin was a wonderful friend who died too early. When I got home I immediately cuddled our cats and spent some time crying. The vet re-assured us that we did nothing wrong, and that Pippin’s death likely was quick and largely painless.

I expected to have more years to spend with Pippin, but life is often unfair in this way. I felt terrible that our house sitter Jessica had to go through this, but I’m trying not to beat myself up too much for being away when it happened.

What I can say is that Pippin was loved. Not just by Irene and I: she cuddled with most of the other cats in our little family, and I think that means something.

2 thoughts on “Pippin: A Loving Tribute to Our Beloved and Quirky Feline Friend”

  1. I miss our little Miss Pippin and all funny little things she did like coming under the covers when I first went to bed. My furry toe warmer!

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