FLORIDA – In love just as in life, all things must end — even a love so deep that it crossed species.
So it was between Ruth, a paraplegic tuxedo kitty, and Idgie, the pudgy, protective Dachshund who absolutely refused to leave her side.
The two were discovered back in October 2013, dumped by a gated driveway outside Geneva, perhaps in hopes that the homeowner might take pity on them. The story of the 7-month-old cat and 2-year-old dog reached literally millions of readers and viewers around the world.
“They’re pretty much inseparable,” stated Jacqueline Borum in early 2014, when she took the two of them in from Seminole County Animal Services. “The Dachshund absolutely loves this kitten. … Whenever Idgie gets a new toy, she always takes it over to Ruth.”
Borum — who named the pair after the two main characters in the novel and movie “Fried Green Tomatoes” — runs the Hollywood Houndz Boutique & Spa, which is located in Lake Mary and the nonprofit Project Paws, which helps pet-rescue groups with veterinary bills. Ruth and Idgie’s unexpected celebrity status helped to raise money for the charity, as well as to cover some of the extensive charges Ruth ran up herself.
Borum took the cat to many different types of specialists, hoping for a cure. Ruth’s front paws curled in unnaturally, and she could only move when she dragged her back legs behind her. When the two were at the pet spa, where the cat had to be bathed daily, Idgie would growl and bark at any other dogs who so much as sniffed in Ruth’s direction.
Ruth eventually was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease which attacked her red-blood cells — a condition for which there was treatment but absolutely no cure. The spa threw a party for the adorable pair just last October, the second anniversary of their adoption, but Borum knew even then that Ruth’s days were numbered.
On Tuesday afternoon, Ruth passed on.
Even Friday, Borum was barely able to bring herself to talk about the loss. Idgie, of course, was in mourning, curling up joylessly on the spot the two had shared, looking lost.
But Borum hoped the spirit of their bond might endure.
“Thank you, world, for embracing this amazing dynamic duo that not only beat the odds but conquered, by being a beacon of light for other animals in desperate need through Project Paws,” Borum wrote on the group’s Facebook page. “Their friendship has so much to teach us as humans about love, selflessness, loyalty and the ability to look beyond our differences.”