RIP Ralph: Cat reunited with family after 14 years has died

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By Karen Harrison Binette



17-year old Ralph the cat has died, just one week after returning home to the family he hadn’t seen in 14 years. He was surrounded by love in his final days.

We shared the story of Ralph’s homecoming Tuesday in our post Cat returns to family after 14 years.

Ralph recently turned up as a stray and was reunited with his family by the Animal Rescue League of Iowa after a Polk Couunty Animal Control officer brought him to the shelter, where staff found his microchip and, with some effort, traced him to his family.

Ralph’s family welcomed him back with open arms and said they were happy to have him back in their lives once more and to provide a loving home in which he could live out the remainder of his days.

Sadly, those remaining days proved to be quite short, but his last two weeks were spent surrounded by love – one week at the shelter and one week back home with mother and daughter Rita and Jill.

Ralph originally joined the family as a kitten, when he was a gift to Jill from Santa when she was a young girl. Jill and Ralph were closely attached to one another, and the little girl and her cat were always together when she was at home.

Jill Petticord, now in her early 20s and a mom herself, told KCCI Channel 8 News for their story on the reunion: “I am just glad that he gets to finish out his life with me and not somewhere out on the streets and I can make sure that he has a good ending to his life.”

Ralph passed away at the emergency vet Wednesday evening after efforts to revive him with CPR were unsuccessful, according to an update by KCCI.

The Animal Rescue League of Iowa shared the news at Facebook last night, writing: It’s with heavy hearts that we share our beloved Ralph passed away tonight. It took 14 years for him to find his way back to his original family and only 1 week to say his final goodbye. We don’t know what his life was like during those 14 years but know he felt nothing but love during the week he was in our care and in the week that followed with the family that so desperately hoped their time together would be longer.

Our thoughts are with Ralph’s family as they grieve this profound loss on the heals of such joy.

If you would like to help more cats in honor of Ralph’s memory you can do so at and reference “Ralph”. We will send all messages onto his family.



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