Ruby:A Cat Story

Born 14 December 2003 - Died 13 May 2007

Ruby was my Seal point Ragdoll cat, may she rest in peace.

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Baby's story Ruby's Sister whos died of an even rarer ailment.


If you are a pet lover you will understand this page. If not, please try to understand we are all not like you. Pets are companions providing love that is not conditional, the only problem with pets is that they do not live long enough. To lose one in the prime of life is heart wrenching. Ruby, our 4.5 year old Seal Point Rag Doll died of Polycystic Kidney Disease. Born to our Ragdoll cats, Caesar and Neffertiti she was one of 5 kittens, all female. They were actually born in our bed, a wonderful midnight experience for my partner Meredith and I. By the way, the bedding washed out easily. Watching 5 kittens grow was an absolute delight. They quickly developed individual personalities. Ruby was a Seal Point with a tiny black nose, who was as boisterous as any of them. She was also the noisiest with a tiny high pitched sort of "yeow". Some of the kitten games were an absolute joy to behold and if I could have kept the 5 of them as tiny kittens forever I would have. I doubt I would ever have tired of them. Some special memories remain. 5 of them asleep in my lap as I sat in a chair, with the kittens in a big ball of contentment, which was how I felt. Many times laying on a bed and 5 kittens romping over me as they played. I often laid on that bed in the room they lived in, when they were from about 6 weeks till we started sending them to owners that met out approval. They were some of the happiest moments of my life. The absolute pleasure of those harmless, wonderful bundles in full play around and over me. Ruby was perhaps the major personality of the bunch, which was saying a lot as they were all wonderful little creatures. I remember when she was about 6 weeks, laying on a bed as the kittens madly played with each other, Ruby separated from the group and decided my hand was a good thing to hunt down. Mind you I would have encouraged it. With mincing dancing steps she launched her attack, and I rubbed her tummy as soon as she was in my hand. Within an amazingly short space of time, she was almost asleep, purring loudly. All her life there was little difference, she purred loudly, the loudest I have ever heard and just loved to be rubbed. Ruby was also born with a time bomb, her kidneys were doomed to fail. It is a generic disease, and somehow Ruby had obtained a maximum dose.

2 weeks old, I think Ruby is the black eared kitten facing away from Neffertiti


2 weeks


3 weeks, Ruby top left, Baby top right.

When born she was normal size with normal appetite, there was one runt of the litter, named Baby, who was the most determined cat of the lot with food, but Ruby was about the middle of the bunch, she ate she slept she played.


5.6 weeks

6.5 weeks


7 weeks

As kittens get larger you know that they have to go to a good home. I delayed as long as possible selling them, and at 12 weeks they were advertised. 2 went quickly to good homes, then a woman wanted a Seal Point. We had 2 Seal Points, Ruby and Alice. I loved them both but Ruby was special to me so I hid her. Naturally I was found out and Meredith, my partner, demanded I produce her, which I did under protest, but there was no way I was going to sell her. The woman seemed to prefer Ruby and I told her in no uncertain terms that she was not for sale. Alice went and I refused to sell the remaining 2 kittens, Ruby and Baby, the runt, a mitted blue point.

They both duely grew into cats. The most delightful cats you would ever wish for, they were happy times.

8 weeks with Baby and golf ball

9.5 weeks with Baby

10 weeks

Ruby was a talker, if she could not find me, she would walk around the house with her specific 'yeow' asking where I was and if I called to her she stopped the noise and came to me. I would wake of a morning with Ruby and Baby on top of me, but after maybe 2 years Ruby gave up the practice. Baby still did it to this until shortly before she died of Feline Gastrointestinal Eosinopilic Sclerosing Fibroplasia. I would still find Ruby asleep on the bed beside me and with a few pats the amazing loud purring would start up. Showering or going to the toilet was a real community thing. The 4 cats would always be in attendance and if you tried locking them out of the bathroom, there was hell to pay.

11 weeks

11.5 weeks Ruby top left, Baby next to her.

All in the Cat Tree 11.5 weeks Ruby Bottom Centre.


I had built a large cat enclosure linked to the house by a cat door. This enclosure had full sized trees in it with bark, ferns and grass on the floor. It was maybe 40 square metres so there was plenty of space. The cats loved the trees and the 2 kittens always slept together. Baby grew into a reasonably substantial cat. Ruby stayed small, but she was the most delicate beautiful thing, from her China blue eyes, to her magnificent ruff around the neck, to her fluffy tail. Combing the fur was always a nightmare, she did not get many knots but she did hate them being brushed out with a constant wail of protest. Our nuclear cat family settled down to a happy existence, they were mostly fed on a diet of raw kangaroo and premium pellets and had not a worry in the world. They seem to sleep about 20 hours a day, the rest of the time at play, on a lap, in the bathroom or just enjoying life in a cat way. Ruby, when she wanted it, demanded my lap. At the breakfast table and in front of television were the most common times. She expected her beautiful soft fur to be stroked and rewarded with loud purring. She made herself my cat, no one else could cuddle her which is pretty unusual for a Ragdoll. She would happily lay on her back as I stroked her tummy with one hand and tickled the back of her neck with the other, she rarely tired of that.

We moved when she was 21 months. The first thing I did was build an even larger cat enclosure and the transmission was seamless. The new place has tiny lizards and Ruby was the huntress. She would bring one, totally alive, into the house, announcing to the world that she had one, with a very peculiar sound, that I have never heard at any other time. Most of the lizards survived. She would drop them in the family room and the other cats would occasionally play with them, but they invariably ended up alive under furniture. I regularly cornered them and put them in another safe part of the garden minus their tails. Sometimes I would be sitting in a chair and notice movement out of the corner of my eye, sure enough another tiny tailless lizard needing to go outside. Rag dolls are not the killers some zealots portray cats as. Cicada season was another hunting time, she regularly came in with them protesting. I suspect most did not survive due to damaged wings and legs, although I put the live ones outside. I never saw her catch a bird or a mouse. Neither did I see any evidence of it. The cat enclosures are open to the sky but generally devoid of the sort of shrubbery birds might like, and the Ragdoll's are hardly great hunters, based on the observations I have made.

Ruby was an incredibly athletic cat. She was the only one to ever make it onto our kitchen window sill, which involved not only quite a large leap but a delicate landing. I saw her do it once and could not believe what I saw. Sometimes she would "eyow" outside the bathroom window or kitchen window and I had to loosen the fly screen to let her in. Both window sills are about 2.4 metres off the ground, she would leap from other items but they were long leaps.


Mum, dad in centre and 3 kittens with Ruby in middle


Baby and Ruby asleep in a chair. about 18 months old. They did this a lot particularly for the first 3 years.

Asleep in the sun, typical Ragdoll pose


Mostly she slept on our bed, which is king sized to accommodate us and the pets. Sometimes she slept in the strangest of places.

Zoe licking Caesar, you can see Ruby watching in the background, late 2007

The happy family asleep on our bed, a pity it did not last. Caesar, Baby, Neffie and Ruby at the back.

Ruby - 3 years old.


Her ducks had to be lined up to enjoy life. Both kittens eventually came into season, and as they had no hope of meeting any male except their father who by this time was not intact, they carried on like a couple of absolute sluts, yowling and howling for a male cat. They also came into season at different times, driving us nuts, so they were quickly neutered. Baby took it well and was up and about the next day. Ruby took herself off to die. She sulked for about 4 to 5 days refusing to eat and we became quite concerned. Eventually she came out of it returning to normal. Jessica, Meredith's Maltese cross dog died early in 2007, she was 12 but developed liver problems and despite massive vet bills and the best of care, had to be put down. Meredith grieved for about 2 weeks then bought Zoe a Maltese Cavalier cross about 10 weeks old. Ruby in her inimitable fashion decided that she wanted nothing to do with the new pup and for a month became a hermit, mostly living in the laundry shelves not socializing with the family and generally pretending that if she kept this up the pup would disappear. The other cats treated the pup with Ragdoll like disdain, for example if the pup decided to jump on them they would just lay there trusting that the pup would finally get bored and go away. Many times we saw Zoe endlessly jumping on a ragdoll, barking and making a nuisance of herself, and the cat just took it. These events could also take some time but the cats generally did not run and indulge in chasing games, nor did they claw, spit or generally do any harm to the pup. Caesar, the Father, in particular was very tolerant, after a heavy session of Zoe playing with him, he would be quite wet around the face and neck. Yes Ragdoll's are that good and placid. But not poor Ruby, she would run when chased which delighted Zoe no end. You would often see Zoe and Ruby racing at top speed around the house. After awhile I am sure that Ruby was quite happy with this, as instead of climbing somewhere out of Zoe's range she would stay on the floor, only jumping to a higher spot when tired of the game. Right up until she died she was the only one who would run for Zoe.

Ruby, on left with Caesar and Baby. Note how much smaller she was than the others. Ruby and baby are 3 years old.

The 2 sisters at 3 years of age.

With "Ella" my son's dog.

Time marches on and you think you have the perfect existence. A happy family, perfect pets, a great life. But every living thing dies eventually. After Jessica the next pet was not due to reach old age for a number of years. The cats were totally protected in their enclosure and the house. Baby did get sick for awhile, but a change of diet fixed that, resulting in all the cats having the same dietary change, ( mostly Science Diet Sensitive Stomach, with raw Kangaroo for Ruby and Caesar) but they seemed happy with it. Actually baby's sickness was the start of Feline Gastrointestinal Eosinopilic Sclerosing Fibroplasia. which was to kill her. In our house we have a mezzanine floor where there is a TV, where I like to go to watch shows that Meredith does not like, or is it to escape the shows she likes. That was Ruby's place to sit on my lap or leg. It was rare that she did not follow me up there. She would sprawl along my leg, I rubbed her, she purred. She also had sharp little claws that would flex into my leg! It did not matter to me I loved those times. She was my baby girl, no one else's. Because she was so tiny she seemed like the perpetual kitten. Baby, the runt of the litter, grew considerable larger than Ruby, at least 50%.

All good times end in the most unexpected ways. Kidneys are marvelous things, they do lots of work and can do so on a small percentage of their capacity, Ruby's were a time bomb.

In autumn the Ragdoll's have their best coat, it is fluffy shining and they are quite beautiful. About the 7th of May 2007 I noticed Ruby did not look quite so good, her fur was dull and when I picked her up she felt skinny. She was also not eating much. She loved fresh kangaroo, but when I gave her some, all she did was lick it a little bit. The next day I took her to the vet. Into a cat cat cage she went and constantly 'eyowed' in the car. In the vets waiting room I took her out of the cage, cuddled her, patted her and she purred, happy that I could do her no harm. The vet's conclusion was she had kidney problems and was severely dehydrated, she immediately went onto a drip. I left her there, this wonderful time with my special cat had ended. They took blood tests and acute kidney failure was confirmed. The vet said that re hydrating her and with diet and care she could live a long time. She was admitted on a Thursday evening, On Friday the blood tests confirmed kidney trouble, but I was assured that 3 days on a drip would bring her back to the point where it could be managed. On Saturday Meredith and I visited her and she spent 30 minutes on my lap. She was pleased to see me but was not the same cat I had left. The vet seemed pleased with her progress as she had eaten and drunk and gone to the toilet the night before. But I had a depleted cat on my lap. She enjoyed my stroking of her fur, but she was very subdued and they typical Ruby 'eyow' had changed to a much more distressed tone. It was obvious she hated it in there but I told myself that it was necessary to save her. On the Sunday morning they ran more blood tests and the results were terrible. The numbers which should have gone back to close to normal had almost doubled. On Sunday I visited her again and the cat I now had on my lap was indeed sick. She still purred but was obviously not comfortable and was going downhill fast. If I was concerned before I was getting really worried now. The Sunday vet was not the one I had been dealing with and started talking about exploratory operations and I started to realize she was not going to survive this. On the drive home I could barely see I was so distressed. Yes I cried, I loved that cat she was something very special to me and I was losing her. She stayed in Sunday night and on Monday morning, my normal vet rang to say he should try ultrasound before opening her up, I agreed and 2 hours later got the bad news: Polycystic Kidney Disease. The kidneys were riddled with cysts and would never work again. Here I made a mistake, I just wanted to cuddle her again and had this rosy vision of her returning home and the two of us spending quality time over her last days. I should have asked them to not bring her around from the anesthetic.

I collected her at 5pm on Monday the 12th of May, She was constantly making that new strange " rooww" sound and obviously distressed. Even worse she did not want to be touched, could barely walk and was almost Zombie like. The vet said with the rehyrdation she should be OK for a few days, but there was zero chance of recovery. To me I needed and wanted more time with her but she was constantly in distress. She climbed the stairs to our mezzanine and parked herself behind the couch is a sheltered, protected position. Meredith and I stayed near her watching TV, then a movie. A couple of times I got her out onto my lap, tried to soothe her but it did not work. At midnight we went to bed. I put water and pellets beside her. At 2 am I checked and she was in the same position. Next morning, Tuesday, she had moved, sitting on top of our 37,500 litre water tank which is in the cat enclosure. There is a leaning tree with branches against the top of the tank and she had climbed to the top. She was in exactly the same spot and pose, just before I took her to the vet, the previous Thursday. I actually had to climb a ladder to get her off the top of the tank. As Tuesday morning was quite cold and dewey she was cold and wet. I wrapped her in a towel and cuddled her, but she was not there. In obvious distress she could not be consoled, would not sit or lay on my lap and made her way up the stairs to behind the couch again. There she stayed and I rang the vet to make another appointment, her last. Some time that morning she moved out into the cat enclosure and lay under a low wattle bush, Baby lay next to her. The vet appointment was at 3pm, I went out to collect her but she was at the back door, still making that "rooww" sound at regular intervals.

Meredith drove us to the vet. There was no need for a cat cage, she lay on my lap making that sound, she did not struggle, my badly dehydrated Ruby was not really there. In her place was a shadow of a cat that had been through too much and just wanted it to end. We were shown into a room, given a few minutes with her then the Sunday vet came in, found the anesthetic opening, in the leg, from Monday morning. I stroked her fur, he injected green fluid into her, an overdose of anesthetic. She relaxed under my touch, her head dropped and she was gone. I howled, blinded with anguish and pain. Meredith was little better. We wrapped her in a towel and left by the rear door, tears streaming down our faces, I held her on my arms, stroking the beautiful soft fur, my eyes running. My heart leaden and in major pain. I had lost my beautiful Ruby, my very special little cat. She was gone and in peace. She physically looked better, no stiffness, her face relaxed, no stress and no pain. We buried her beside Jessica in the backyard. I cancelled all activities for the rest of the day, and sat down to write this, I just had to get it out of me. The story of this special cat. Tears streaming down my face and I could barely read the screen.

So if any of the cat haters in our society read this please try to understand we are all not like you miserable people with your hollow hearts and empty lives. I love animals. This cat was really special to me and her memory will remain, part of my heart. I loved her dearly and will miss her badly. I know that I will get over it and I do have other pets that I love just about as much, but I feel so bad because she should have died of old age, not at 4 years and 6 months less one day. Worse still is that we could lose her sister and at at least one of her parents to the same affliction, not to mention the total of 6 other kittens they have had, yes there was a second litter. The vet said that in his 8 years since graduating this is the first case he has seen, I really do wish that he had not seen this one at all. If we had gone straight to an ultrasound it would have prevented a lot of suffering in the end but the young vet did not expect to have such a case on his hands. We will now get the other cats tested, at least they will not have to endure what poor Ruby endured.

Rest in Peace Ruby, you were a very special, wonderful cat that I loved dearly, you will be sorely missed.

She is buried next to Jessica. On the day she died the leather belt I wear when I make easels broke, it was worn out. I bought it 41 years ago. I buried it with Ruby, so she has something from me with her, as I thought it a strange coincidence it broke the same day and it had to mean something.

If you are going to buy a long haired kitten from a breeder, particularly a breed with Persian in its ancestory, you need to ensure that this terrible genetically transmitted disease is not on your pet. It can be detected by an ultrasound. I sincerely trust that none of her brothers and sisters have it.


Caesar the father was tested and does not have it. In 2011 the other 3 ragdolls are still happy and healthy. Baby Died on 8th October 2011 from Feline Gastrointestinal Eosinopilic Sclerosing Fibroplasia. It was also devcastating. Click on her name anywhere in this report to read her story.


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