My Cat
Jan 28, 2009 General Nonsense |
Soon after I started cartooning, about 19 years ago, I got my first pet, a kitten. I named her Sarah, after an editor who gave me my big break in cartooning.

I found the kitten from an ad in the paper. A local woman's cat had a small litter in need of homes. They were little tuxedo cats, mostly black with white paws and mixed faces. The woman put them on her sofa as sort of a line up from which I could choose. Three of the cats ignored me, walking to one end and playing amongst themselves. The fourth stared me straight in the eyes and approached. She selected me. Or at least that is how it felt. She made me feel special from the first second I knew her, and I hoped to return the favor.

Sarah bonded with me immediately. When I whistled, she would come running, climb on my chest in the Sphynx position and begin purring. She was a one-human cat. Rarely could another touch her without risking bloodshed.

Other cats came and went as my living situation changed. Sarah didn't care for any of them. She loved me intensely, and in her view no cat or human could compete. In time she became my office cat, to better avoid all creatures that were not me.

Every day since 1990 she competed with my work. When I picked up a pen, or lately a stylus, she would come running, yelling in cat language that I should pick her up and give her my full attention. She was my forced work break, and there were many. She was my only company for most of my day. Cartooning is a lonely art, but I was never alone.

Recently her tiny body started to shut down. But it never stopped her enthusiasm in seeing me. She dragged her arthritic body over to me every time I entered the room, even if I had only been gone for a second. She never failed to purr. I loved her intensely.

In the past month she had been letting me know the end was approaching. Maybe it was the way she moved or just some sort of animal ESP. I just knew. And so I spent as much time as I could with her, extra petting, in just the ways she trained me. Recent visits to the vet confirmed that there was no cure for old. We tried to enjoy the time we had.

Yesterday all of her systems reached their limits. The vet explained the options to my wife and me. I asked the vet what she would do in this situation if it were her cat. She wisely refused to say. I asked my wife. She wisely refused to say. This was my decision, and Sarah's. That is how it had to be. I looked at Sarah and asked her if she was ready. Her eyes told me she was, but the pain of uncertainty was unbearable.

Sarah had a history with the vet. Her chart had a big warning: She's a biter, and she has all of her claws. No one touched this cat safely but me. She was a vet's nightmare. And so the vet explained how this would come down. If Sarah allowed her leg to be shaved, and the injection to go in, without fighting, this would be the best alternative. Otherwise they would have to use some sort of cat gas chamber. That option seemed unthinkable. But it would be worse to try one method, fail, and go to the second. Again, it was my decision. And I was in no frame of mind to make decisions.

I opted for the injection, and hoped for the best. Sarah still had some fight left in her, as we learned minutes ago while the vet checked her vitals. But somehow she knew this was different. She knew it was time. After 19 years of fighting veterinarians, she let the vet shave her leg without the least resistance. And in so doing, she told me I made the right decision. I looked in her eyes as the life drained out of them. I was devastated.

But today I am happy, even more than usual. I think about how much Sarah enriched my life and I am grateful. I think about how much I learned from my relationship with her, and even from her passing, and I am thankful for it all. Today everyone in my life seems more precious. I'll always carry Sarah with me, and I know I am better for it.

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Jan 29, 2009
My condolences. You were blessed with a wonderful companion. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us.
Jan 29, 2009
wow, about 2 months ago I went threw the same thing with my 19 year old feline friend. She was with me the last 12 years and also chose me. She was a friend's and they gave her to me because her and I ended up so close. Here is a photo of her. http://incertclevername.com/?p=15
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Jan 29, 2009
Thank you for sharing.
Jan 29, 2009
Though we call them pets, we mean "loved ones, just like any other" - and just as hard to lose. I offer you my sympathies - and I'm really glad Sarah will still bring you happiness in the years to come.
Jan 29, 2009
I was going to write something about my cat AQnastasia, who died 2 months ago, also aged 19, but I couldn't put it any better than you. Thanks.
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Jan 29, 2009
Scott - I'm very sorry for your loss. You were lucky to have Sarah in your life.
Jan 29, 2009
I am very sorry to hear about your cat. It sounds like she had a very long and happy life, but it's still not easy to lose a loved companion. Thank you for sharing this very personal moment with the world.
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Jan 29, 2009
My sincere condolences. I'm sure Sarah understood you, and I'm glad you feel better now.
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Jan 29, 2009
My deepest condolences, Scott. I remember when my first cat passed away when I was 10 - it was one of the worst days of my life. I'm thankful for the 14 wonderful years my current cat has given me, and hope she has many more in her.

I'm glad you're feeling better today, and thanks for sharing this with us.

Jan 29, 2009
I lost my dog before Christmas and the similarities are striking. It still hurts a lot. It will get better with time.
Jan 29, 2009
I invite you into my daily life, reading the daily strip and checking your blog posts. I always enjoy the mention of Sarah, your office cat. As someone who shares his home with family and several cats, my thoughts and best wishes are with you.
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Jan 29, 2009
My condolence for your lost. Like many readers I cried when I read your post. Heart wrenching.

Jan 29, 2009
Sincere condolences, Scott. I know the feeling. I still remember my own Sarah who died way too early from a heart defect and my "Mr. Amos" who got bone cancer. Seeing them go was the hardest thing in the world for me. RIP Sarah. I believe there is a specil place for kitties in heaven. jerry
Jan 29, 2009
Scott, I'm sorry to hear about the loss of Sarah. I have three cats, they are ages 18, 17, and 3, and I know we'll lose two sooner than I'd like. The oldest, Milo, is my soulmate and his lost will devastate me, so I really kinow how you feel.
Please know that this former Marine Staff Sgt shed a tear for Sarah this morning.

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Jan 29, 2009
That sounds like a really unique and wonderful relationship. That must have been 19 wonderful years you've shared with your feisty cat. I've always always wanted to have a cat myself, I envy that you've found such a wonderful relationship with your cat, and I urge you to move on, and make sure you're never never lonely, even as a cartoonist.

Your cat has been luckier than most, to have found a soulmate in you, and a caring provider for life. She has no doubt moved on, as the Chinese believe in reincarnation, she is onto her next phase of existence.

So my condolences, Mr Adams, from one of your fans and admirer, from the other side of globe.
Jan 29, 2009
I'm with you, man.

My cat past away a few months ago. 11 years of good company, faithful escort and a trustworthy tears blanket.

I understand your sorrow completely, but in one point. You had the joy of petting her goodbye. My Shinji past away while I was at work.

When I came back home, only one sentence gabbled in my head.
"Why didn't you waited for me?"
I hugged his little all-black corpse, cried over him, and buried him with one silver coin, hoping that Caronte might have a special fare for cats....

My deepest regrets, and my best thoughts are with you, dude.

Jan 29, 2009
My most sincere condolences.

I was really moved with such a sincere post, directly from the heart and mind.

I beleive that the bonds that the living make, death cannot break. And that's why i feel that we always have to reach our loved ones whenever possible and enjoy SHARING our time with them.

This post is not only loving but wise, and that, my friend (in some way), may be the greatest gift.
Jan 29, 2009
You handled the situation far better than I did when my constant companion of 18 years reached her limit. Thank you for sharing.
Jan 29, 2009
Thank you for this. I'm a better person now.
Jan 29, 2009
I know how you feel. It's one of the hardest things to do and I don't envy the decision you had to make. I envy the last couple of years you had with your cat, though. Remember them.
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