Sadie died a few weeks ago.
Not many people knew Sadie. I was acquainted with her only by name and, in a manner of speaking, reputation. She was a black cat rescued in Taber, Alberta, by the PAW Society of Lethbridge, in the spring of 2010. She was living a precarious life in back yards and alleys, and bolting an occasional meal on the property of someone who left food out for a feral colony. Sadie was new to the colony and was trapped in order to be spayed. Once captured, it was clear that she was tame, and homeless. She was taken in to the PAW Society so a permanent home could be found for her.
At first, she was withdrawn and sad, but this seemed to have been caused by a severe infection in her mouth. Unfortunately, this necessitated the removal of her teeth. However, afterward, once she had recovered physically, she was a more out-going and active cat.
What sort of cat was Sadie? She was tentatively friendly, suggesting that she had had a home at some time in her past. Was she lost? Had she been looked for? Forgotten? Had she been abandoned? No one will ever know, just as no one will ever know about the majority of rescued cats. Sadie liked people but distrusted them initially, the result of months or more living alone and from day to day on what she could forage.
But now, slowly, she learned that she was safe, even if her current home was only temporary. She liked to sleep on the bed in her new place. Cats enjoy feeling close to the people who treat them well, and I think sleeping in the same spot and at the same time as a human friend gives them a sense of security and comfort. Sadie had no teeth remaining but eating was still a favourite pastime of hers. She was ready for a permanent home.
Sometimes things don’t work out as we would like. Sadie started eating less, which is usually a sign of something amiss. She lost weight. This was gradual, but the end came quickly. She died in the afternoon on her foster-guardian’s bed, with friends near by, and surrounded by familiar and comforting smells. Sadie’s guardian had looked forward to her learning how to play, how to enjoy the sunshine - how to be a cat again after her time surviving outside. The little daughter of the house thought of Sadie in the same way others might think of a baby, and still doesn’t understand that Sadie is gone.
No one knows what caused her death. No one knows her actual age. No one knows how she ended up alone amidst a group of feral cats. She was one of millions of homeless cats, one who was lucky enough to be taken in, but unlucky enough to have been homeless and unloved for too long. I wanted to write about Sadie because I think every life should be acknowledged, whether its affect on the world is good, bad or indifferent. Sadie’s influence on those around her was, I know, beneficial; everyone smiled when they met her. Would the world have been so greatly improved had she lived? Maybe not greatly, but it would have been better. It would have been better because everyone smiled when they met Sadie.