The Sunshine Home
at This Old Cat
Riddler's Tribute Page
It is with a very heavy heart that I say, we lost my dear Riddler earlier today, Saturday, December 19, 2015. Diagnosed with Triaditis, Riddler had been doing well for quite some time thanks to the wonders of modern medicine and the fabulous care given to him by our veterinarians. This past September he was referred to the emergency services at Cornell University Hospital for Animals (CUHA) when the Triaditis symptoms suddenly worsened. They confirmed Riddler had an "Extrahepatic Bile Duct Obstruction" and Riddler went into surgery to have this repaired with a stent inserted into his bile duct, and to have his infected gallbladder removed. The lengthy surgery was quite involved but Riddler pulled through thanks to the extraordinary care of the surgical team at CUHA. Unfortunately they also found "Cholangiocarcinoma", a rare form of cancer and one with an aggressive biological behavior with a poor prognosis. But Riddler carried on.
After ten days at CUHA a tired but happy Riddler came home! He was doing well after the surgery, just about a fully recovery by the end of October. For the cancer Riddler started going to the Holistic Center for Veterinary Care for acupuncture and herbal treatments and that was going well, too. But he took a dramatic turn for the worse a few short days ago -- lethargic and in some pain,vomiting up blood most likely from a ruptured blood vessel inside his gut -- so I made the heart-wrenching decision no pet owner likes to make. Riddler had put up such a noble fight but this morning he had no more fight left in him. He looked into my eyes and told me, it was time. He went peacefully with Drs. Jeff and Beth Jamison, his dear friend Vivienne, Debbie and me at his side.
I am so grateful for the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine team: John Loftus, PhD, DVM, Resident, Companion Animal Internal Medicine, Sharon A. Center, DVM DACVIM, James Law Professor of Internal Medicine, Marina McConkey, DVM, Resident, Small Animal Surgery and staff and students that cared for Riddler. I am grateful for everyone at Livonia and Honeoye Falls Veterinary Hospitals for all the love and care they have given Riddler. My sincere thanks also to Dr. Cynthia Lankenau, Holistic Center for Veterinary Care, Riddler so much loved his trips there.
Finally, I am especially grateful to the infamous "Cat Team" -- because without you I would never have been able to have these last two and a half joyful years with Riddler -- and to Dr. Beth Jamison for everything that she has done for Riddler and for me.
For those of you that don't know Riddler's story, please read on...
Born at an Abyssinian breeder in the UK, Riddler's first owner purchased him as kitten. Her job took her all around the world and he normally went with her until, while she was stationed in the Middle East, he was diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus. She shipped Riddler back the States and eventually he came to The Sunshine Home @ This Old Cat in January 2012 to board until she returned to the states a year later -- and it was love at first sight. He immediately bonded with me and I with him! During this stay with us he also was diagnosed with a syndrome unique to cats called Triaditis. Triaditis is an inflammatory process that involves the liver (cholangiohepatitis), the pancreas (pancreatitis) and the small intestine (irritable bowel disease or IBD). We almost lost Riddler but thanks to fabulous veterinary care at our vet, Livonia Veterinary Hospital, by the time I flew Riddler back to his first owner in Florida in January 2013 he was looking pretty good.
Riddler's first owner was scheduled to move to China that Spring and kept us updated on him for a while but the updates stopped in May. In July we discovered she had moved to China but apparently did not take Riddler with her. Fearing the worst I began scouring the internet, sometimes for hours at a time each late night. Eventually I found Craigslist ads in Orlando: "Free Cat - Craigslist May 13, 2013 - Riddler is a 10 years old (birthday July 20, 2002) Abyssinian cat, 'usual' color. He's a very affectionate and talkative. Riddler is declawed..." I was shocked! Shock turned to relief, however, when upon further searching I found Riddler up for adoption at a pet rescue shelter in Sanford, Florida (30 minutes north of Orlando). Relief then blossomed to out & out jubilation when, after completing the pet rescue's on-line adoption application I got a phone call from one of their volunteers telling me they would love to have Riddler come back home to me! Hurray!!
I purchased my round-trip airfare and was set to fly to Orlando and be reunited with Riddler forever & ever! Unbelievably, my excitement turned to disbelieve when the owner of the pet rescue group called me out of the blue and told me she had overruled the volunteer that had approved the adoption and that Riddler was NOT going anywhere!
Over two weeks of letter writing, begging and pleading with this person and all she did was dig her heels in deeper. Never a firm reason why I suddenly couldn't adopt Riddler from her organization. Just mostly illogical rants and raves. As I kept the pressure on, always taking the high road with kindness, the volunteer worked on a Plan B. A friend was interested in adopting Riddler but after I spoke with her and explained my experience with Riddler she agreed that he would get the best care with me. So after she adopted him she chose to sign him over to me -- and I immediately flew to Orlando that night, picked up Riddler (who, by the way, just about jumped into my arms!) and brought him home the next day, Tuesday July 30, 2013 -- by far one of my best days ever!
Our veterinary hospital threw a "Welcome Back Riddler" party for him and life was great. Riddler immediately settled in as if he had never left. "Awesome" best describes my time with Riddler. He has given me so much comfort and joy and it has been a true pleasure and an honor having him here as my four-legged companion. I will miss you, Riddler, my friend, my good buddy. Rest in Peace.
Riddler had so many friends, so many people from all around the world that knew him and loved him. Here are some of the messages that have come in for Riddler:
Dear Paul & Debbie,
We see a lot of really great animals in the course of our lives but every so often one comes along that truly touches our hearts. That was Riddler. He went through being "on the street", in the "pound", numerous visits to the veterinary hospital (several resulting in IVs and lengthy stays), major surgery, and yet he still seemed to view the next moment in his life with full confidence that it would be the best yet (he was certainly tuned in to the "door" of opportunity). If only we could have half his resilience and optimism... I know his passing leaves a huge hole in your lives. One that will hopefully, one day be filled with memories instead of sorrow. Sincerely,
Dr. Beth Jamison, Livonia Veterinary Hospital, Livonia, New York
I am sorry for your loss Paul & Debbie. Through just a couple of meetings he entered our lives as well. Riddler is a special cat. As you said - gone from our lives but forever in our hearts. This is a tough time for us. Please take care of yourself.
P. Das, Sydney, Australia
Such a beautiful video, Paul! Sorry Paul and Debbie. It is reassuring to know he passed away peacefully, surrounded by so much love. RIP, Riddler, much loved angel.
A. Bharadwaj, Sydney, Australia
Oh what a handsome boy! I'm so sorry for the loss of your special one. How lucky you were to find each other. You are very welcome for the gift bag. You and Debbie and your four legged....AND two leggers Are very special to us. Thank you for your friendship... Take time for the two of you. Big hugs to both of you.
W. & B. Wheeler, Naples, New York
Oh Paul I am so sorry. Riddler has often been in my thoughts. What as handsome boy indeed, with such personality and presence! It is always so hard to lose such a vibrant and beloved soul.
My thoughts and heart are with you and yours... Sending warm and comforting thoughts your way. Riddler will always be in my heart too. All you do for cats is a tribute to Riddler's memory. May time heal your heart and bring peace and happy memories.
K. Tasso, New York, New York
My heart and soul are so sad for your loss. I lost my beloved grand dog, Oliver, on Thursday. The grief is consuming. I hope Ollie and Riddler got to meet at the Rainbow Bridge. They are both such pure souls. Much love to you all.
J. Martin, Tampa, Florida
I am so, so very sorry. He was a special cat - an ambassador for his species.
C. Cullen, United Kingdom
Paul, Words can never express my sense of sympathy. You are an exceptional individual and Riddler could have asked for no greater companion than you and your wife. With deepest sympathy,
Dr. Cynthia Lankenau, Holistic Center for Veterinary Care, Colden, New York
Paul, I am saddened to hear the news that Riddler is no longer with us and so no longer able to brighten your days in the direct way he has been able to for so many years. A ray of sunshine in your house has faded into the peace of night. Having met you and he I am heartened to have born witness to the incredible cat that he was and I am proud to have played a small role in keeping him comfortable in the twilight of his years. Em shared the links to your organization with me and I feel blessed to have been included as a partner in your efforts. He was a very special boy and my interactions with him as a patient and you as a client will inspire me for the remainder of my career. Thank you sweet Riddler for bringing us all together.
B. Davis, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, DVM Candidate, Boise, Idaho
Paul, I'm so sorry to hear of Riddler's passing. He was truly a special cat and I will always think of him (and you) when I don my cat angel pin. It's always too soon to lose such a dear, dear friend, but I'm so glad that you had the last couple of months with him. We got to see him when he came for his recheck a few months ago, and he looked amazing at the time! I love sharing his story and telling friends and colleagues about your amazing set-up at This Old Cat. All the best, and my condolences,
E. McCabe, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, DVM Candidate Class of 2016, Hamilton, Ohio
Paul, I'm so sorry to hear about Riddler. He was a truly special cat that always brought a smile to my face.
I hope you're doing okay. You gave him a wonderful life.
D. Eddy, Mendon, New York
We are so lucky to be blessed by such special souls during our lifetime. It makes it that much more difficult to say goodbye, though. My heart goes out to you and Deb during this difficult time.
M. Nisbet, Wayland, New York
I'm so sorry to hear about Riddler. He was a great friend to Tubby and made Tubby feel
at home. Poor Tubby. He must be wondering where his friend went. I hope he finds someone
else to be really close with. Rest in peace, Riddler.
K. Yerrmosu, New York, New York
Paul & Family, It is an honor to work with people that give so much for their pets well being. You were fortunate to have Riddler and he with you. Please recall the more memorable days you all spent with one another. Regards,
Dr. Sharon Center, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca, New York
Paul & Family, I'm very sorry to hear of Riddler's passing. He was such a wonderful, charismatic kitty. I know he will be missed by many. Take comfort in all the fond memories I know you have of him and, thank you for sharing some of them with us. He was so lucky to have such a caring & devoted owner who gave him every chance. With Sympathy,
Dr. John Loftus, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca, New York
... seeing your story and video took me right back there and
I was overcome with happiness and grief at the same time. I saw Riddler doing just what Ares (our Abyssinian cat) had done to me for so many years and it broke me and warmed me like it probably does to you. Thank you for sharing that little piece of happiness with me and the world ...
Mac H. and family, Brisbane, Australia
Note: You can read the full text of Mac's heartwarming email posted here .
All of Riddler's feline friends will miss him dearly, including Tubby, Red, Rose Petals, Edith, Rex, Champagne,
and especially Sylvester (pictured below), Riddler's BFFF (Best Feline Friend Forever):
I wish to thank all of you for your kind and comforting words. It means so much.
If anyone else would like to have your message posted here for Riddler please send it to me:
(and be sure to include your hometown and tell me you'd like it posted on Riddler's page).