Reepicheep is the name given to a character in C. L. Lewis children’s book series about the magical world of Narnia.
Reepicheep was also our gorgeous dark grey tabby cat who died in late August this year (2017) aged seventeen years.
One of two litter siblings – we still have his sister – we first saw him when his eyes were still closed. Friends had taken in a pregnant stray cat, who gave birth to 3 kittens. They kept one and we had the other two.
Name discussion started even before a second visit. The kittens were going to be primarily the girls’ kittens, so they had the deciding vote on their own kitten’s name.
Bringing them home crystallised the name choices: Reepicheep and Pippin.
Reepicheep first appears in the book ‘Prince Caspian’ and is the leader of the Talking Mice of Narnia. A bold, courageous creature, he was (and still is) Hari’s favourite character. He has a leading role in ‘The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’, and re-appears briefly in ‘The Last Battle’.
His sister Pippin, a caramel-brown tabby, was called not after the Hobbit on ‘Lord of the Rings’ but after the Bearded Collie dog who accompanied Auntie Mabel in her spotty aeroplane in the children’s TV series ‘Come Outside’. Although she was named by Lucy (a name I’ve always loved since ‘The lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ was first read out aloud to me).
Our Reepicheep turned out to be not quite as brave and bold as his Narnian namesake. The kittens joined a family household with a German Shepherd Dog, Eowyn, and two adult cats. Long haired white and grey/black Gandalf and black Orion.
Orion was a great hunter, and Pippin was eager to learn. But Reepicheep was more often found curled up in the dog’s bed, with or without Eowyn. Or helping with the gardening, prowling through the undergrowth. He did once catch a mouse…once. He preferred to act the part of fierce hunter rather than actually doing it.
In fact, Reepi (as he was also known) was a big cuddly boy. Running towards you with a ‘proop’ when you came home, wanting to be picked up and cuddled.
Although he was friendly with everyone, he was Hari’s cat. When she went away to university, his affections swung more towards me, his second favourite person. He would still sleep on her bed, so she would come home to a furry circle on the duvet cover, despite my putting a blanket on the bed for him. How do cats manage that?
Working partly from home as I do, Reepicheep was able to be a great help. Checking the computer mouse still worked and that the paint brush didn’t have too many bristles were his particular roles. But he was also a great help when it came to deliveries.
Plant deliveries in boxes were fun, obviously, with string and packing straw to be played with. Checking over all plant deliveries in case there was any catmint was, of course, an essential task.
A bad hip prevented too much climbing as he matured. But was the cause of much merriment for humans as he had a tendency to forget he wasn’t as agile as his sister. For example…Being sociable was important to Reepicheep, and he would keep me company when I had a relaxing bath. Walking around the edge of the bath was something he would do – and he slipped in a few times! Naturally I quickly lifted him out, despite laughing. But he would be a sweetly scented feline for a few days after!
Reepi was a very photogenic feline, so there are plenty of photos of this handsome dark grey tabby cat. Some of the photos were pre-digital and it took a while to find them and scan in. But there were a couple I really wanted to include, so that’s why it’s taken a while to post this blog about Reepicheep.
In later years he was diagnosed with pancreatitis and then kidney disease. He was not overly impressed with his required diet. Reasonably happy with the dried special food, the wet versions were a non-starter. And he really did not think he should do without bacon, beef, cheese, liver, croissants, hot buttered toast and all those other little items that he had a fondness for! No doubt being the cat on your lap had aided his ability to sneak a taste of all sorts of things…
Reepicheep was a loving cat, handsome, curious, friendly, a big softie. Although less active over the summer, he went into a rapid decline that caught us somewhat unawares and unprepared for his death. His sister has been grieving, as has Sharpe the Border Collie. Both grew up with Reepi, so that’s not surprising. Let’s be honest, we all wept.
Miss you, Reepicheep, but lots of lovely memories.