Lion El Ritchie, who always went by his last name, was believed to be born sometime in 2005. He started in Arizona, subsequently went to Maryland, possibly Ohio, and then Minnesota.
He entered the Chase household in 2008. We were his third or fourth owner (roommate?).
There was already a furry mammal occupying the house, Boomer, a 55-pound male Britney Spaniel. At first, Ritchie hid in the basement from him. It didnít take long for him to
figure out that Boomer was a little skittish and had little experience with cats. From that point on, Ritchie owned him. Boomer loved his dog house, but as these pictures below show,
Ritchie could come and go as he pleased. I didnít ever see him go in it again, but the point was made.
Ritchie was an unusual cat. Rather than hide, as cats tend to do when visitors came, he would run up to greet them. He would come when he was called. He wouldnít do it over and over
, or if he was busy eating or something, but still much more than most cats. When we lived in Minnesota, he would look out the front window, very interested in the birds, and also
blowing leaves, which perhaps he mistook for birds.
Then came the day when we moved (back for Ritchie) to Arizona. Ritchie largely determined our travel plans. We had to stay at hotels that allowed animals, and we conservatively estimated
that Ritchie should not be in the car longer than 9 hours at a time. I drew the short straw, so he rode in my car, and Monarch (Boomer had passed away, so we now had a pug-like animal)
rode in Stephís. Within those cat-based parameters, we had to drive 4 days, and take the through-OKC route.
Cats arenít typically thrilled with cars, but he did OK at first. He got increasingly less enthusiastic to leave the hotel with each passing morning. By the final day, he had to be coaxed
out from under the bed with food. I had him loose in the car which wasnít a problem the first three days, but on this last day, he got restless a few times, and started jumping on
my lap, and then down by my feet, while I was driving.
The next morning, he didnít realize we had arrived at our new home, and now had a whole house in which to hide in. We searched all around, but could not find him anywhere. Thinking he
may have got outside when moving some of things into the house, we searched the neighborhood, and were ready to put up ďlost catĒ posters. We did one last sweep of the house, and
finally found him, all the way in the back of a sliding cabinet drawer in the kitchen.
He took very well to life in Arizona. He liked looking out the window at the birds and rabbits, and weíd let him out to the walled-in back yard. He would lie in wait,
hoping to get a gecko or bird, but alas, I donít think he ever succeeded. Iím sure it was the thrill of the hunt that he enjoyed. He also lost weight, going from a peak of 18 pounds,
down to a still rather large, 12 pounds. When we had band rehearsals at the house, he would come and hang out (kind of get in the way) when we were setting up, but would
run for the hills once the instruments cranked up.
Towards the end, we knew something was wrong when he didnít want to eat. If there was one constant with Ritchie, he loved his food. Prior to that, there was never a time where
he didnít finish whatever was put in front of him. Except for the lizards, rabbits, and quail in the backyard, we will all miss our friendly, affectionate, friend.