Da Grate Ted Rheingold: Good bye, dear friend

How many hundreds of us would never had met without Catster? How different our lives would now be if we had never connected through the world’s first cat social network, the brainchild of Ted Rheingold, who has lost his battle with Stage-4 Metastatic Carcinoma.

Ted was brilliant, funny, down-to-earth, and a loving and lovely soul.

Skeezix and I worked for him, and I got a video of him giving Skeezix his purrformance review.

Skeezix kinda had a boycrush on him, and he even dressed up as DGTR one Halloween. Ted loved it so much that he used it as his twitter avatar for months afterward.

Ted kept a blog covering his illness, and one of his last posts really hit home for me, as I’m sure it will for anyone who’s had cancer (I’m a two-timer). READ IT.

It’s about cancer etiquette, focusing on what you should not say to a cancer patient, and how you can best help them out.

Two points in particular had me pumping my arm and hissing “YES!” The first was not to regurgitate a litany of everyone you know who’s had the same thing. That’s just not something we really want to hear. There was a time at church when a clueless couple we knew came up to me to talk about my recent cancer diagnosis. They asked me about the surgery and radiation treatment, then shared several horror stories of people who’d had the same thing and for whom things didn’t turn out so well. Years later I can still play that conversation in my head and I’ve avoided that couple ever since. (It may have just been what I used as my own excuse to avoid them because they were kinda peculiar people anyway.)

The second point was that fight-speak sucks. Avoid it. Fight-speak is when you say things to the patient like, “You’re a fighter! You’re gonna beat it! Kick cancer in the ass!” Avoid it because it leaves the patient feeling even worse later on. If their condition deteriorates, they’ll wonder…. am I not “fighting” hard enough? We aren’t really fighting, anyway. We’re just doing what the doctors hope will save our lives. Telling us we’re gonna beat it? Not something you tell someone with Stage 4 cancer.

Another post addressed mortality and implores us not to waste a day.

Ted left a profound mark on my life. It is a tragedy he’s gone so soon, a well-lived life caught short. My only solace is that Skeezix (and a whole lot of other dogs and cats) was probably really happy to be reunited with him at The Bridge.

Ted was 46 years old.

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About the Author ()

Mousebreath Magazine is an award-winning online magazine that celebrates cats and the cat-centric lifestyle. Editor Karen Nichols is a popular conference speaker and writer, whose current project is The Cat Scout Handbook. She is also the denmaster at CatScouts.com.

Comments (10)

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  1. Summer says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this. Ted is gone way, way too soon. 🙁

  2. Most people have no idea what to say, beyond a simply,”I’m sorry”. That’s when they say stupid things, trying to fill the air with nothingness, blather, crapola. Thank goodness that you are here to write this blog, and I am sorry about your friend Ted, may he rest in peace.

  3. Joan Ryan says:

    Thank you for sharing Ted’s story and his blog. Having a spouse and sister who passed from cancer, it really hits home for me too. Ted sounds like a terrific individual. You and Skeezie were lucky to spend time with him while he was here.

  4. Andrea says:

    A sad day for all of us. Ted touched so many lives, both at Catster/Dogster, and in his life afterward. The world will be a smaller, sadder place with his loss.

  5. Oh no! We remember how much Skeezix thought of the Grate Ted Rheingold and we are sorry to learn of his passing.

  6. I remember him from Catster when you and Skeezix were there. Very sorry for the loss of your friend, especially at a young age.

  7. Fancy Allen says:

    So many of us shared/created friends & memories for a lifetime. All because of Ted. Thank you Ted for letting us find one another and showing us what humanity is all abut. Xoxo

  8. Laura says:

    There are few people I can say really changed my life for the better. Ted was one of them by creating Catster/Dogster. I never met him in person, but did have a long conversation with him once on the phone that I’ll never forget. The sky shines a little brighter. Rest in peace, Top Dog.

  9. Ruffy became the Warrior Poet of Catster. No Catster, no Warrior Poet. We found Catster by accident. What we were surprised at is the spirit of all who came to mean so much to us there, the friends we made, the friends we saw off to the Bridge.
    We are sorry beyond words about Ted, and we have a feeling that the recieving line to meet Ted is probably around the block and through the lobby and he’s got a whole bunch of cat celebrities tailing him.
    We will miss Ted. He was amazing, and we’re forever grateful for all the magick he made.


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