This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
I suppose this is normal when a loved one dies, but a cat? And not even mine, or Heathers cat? How could something so small have such a big impact on our lives? Sarah wasn’t just a cat, but a beloved member of a Betsy and Tony family. I first met Sarah when Tony resided at a condo complex in Nashua NH. Sarah died in Maine, at some ripe old age. Sarah died as a thin, boney cat, aged had taken its toll. But Sarah was not always so small as you might think. Although it was argued that most of Sarah’s youthful size came from her soft, thick fluffy fur, any attempt to pick her up told a different story. Her girth was maintained by many trips to the food bowl, maintained by Tony at the back door, where she mowed down bowlful after delicious bowlful of store-brand dry cat food. As she ate, her purring sounded more like the snorting and rutting of a pig - hence one of her many nicknames; Sarah the Piglet, Sarah the food mooch, Sarah “Fat Tony” meow-fee-oso, etc. Sarah didn't just eat for pleasure. She had an image to keep up as the heavy-weight champion of the Getman pad. One hiss from Sarah left the large and small visitors trembling alike. Stanley Niemczura, once trying to pick up the cat was left shivering behind a couch for several hours until he was allowed to leave the territory. Sarah, ironically, was better known for making friends with chew toys more than she was for any sign of civility with fellow felines. Sid would greet other cats with hisses and an odd growling noise. It can be argued that Sarah once actually killed a mouse unassisted. Upon returning home one night, Tony discovered Sarah standing guard over a dead mouse. No one actually witnessed the mouse's untimely end, however, so based on past experience, we decided that the mouse probably died of fright, rather than by any direct contact with Sarah. When Sarah wasn't chasing toys, she found crumpled balls of paper just as fascinating. That is, as long as they were bite-sized. Much like a dog, she liked to play fetch with the bits of voided cheques or grocery receipts. It got to the point that whenever a piece of paper was torn or crumpled, she would immediately be caught up in rapt attention. Her eyes snapped wide open, and her head would jerk around to follow the paper or the hand that held it. Her tail would sweep back and forth slowly, with an occasional flicker, and when she was ready to pounce she crouched down almost as if she wanted to blend into the surroundings. If she was lucky, someone would toss the wad, and she would be after it at a gallop. And that's exactly what it was, unmistakeably - a gallop. Other kitties run; she galloped. There was very little stealth about her when she was in a hurry.
The use of a can opener and the sound of Sarah's high-velocity approach always went together. Even when the can being opened did not contain tuna (which was what she craved), she would still beg loudly, meowing and purring and getting underfoot. If she was lucky, she would get a dish full of tuna juice to slurp down, her purring resounding throughout the apartment. If she wasn't lucky, she would be denied, or worse, fed pork and beans by a spiteful Tony or Betsy determined to prove that not all cans contain tuna. Oddly enough, she would often eat the beans anyway. Sarah was a born voyeur. In addition to paper wads and chew toys, she liked to watch pigeons. She would crouch on the window sill, just inches from the pigeons' favourite hang-out, and make strange little sounds as if clearing her throat, or even like she was laughing. I suppose the sounds were meant to attract her prey. Unfortunately, she never got the chance to pounce. There was the odd time that she would jump up the window screen, but this was probably more a climbing adventure than a hunting exercise. For the most part, she was quite content to sit on the window sill among the plants (which she loved to snack on), watching the pigeons and the cars go by. When Betsy or Tony were gone from the apartment, especially in the evening, she would make repeated visits to that window sill in my room to look down the street for a familiar face. If she saw one of us approach, she would make a beeline for the top of the steps, and sometimes for the bottom, where she would sit dutifully, waiting for us to come through the front door and say "hello Sarah" or "hello there, you food mooch." If you put your face close to hers then, she would sniff your nose to make sure it was really you, and purr contentedly. She would often get bored of us, and would trot off to lick herself in her basket, or on the couch, or in my green chair. But she still liked to spend time with us. And she could never quite figure out why we didn't like to spend time with her at night as well as during the day. She would sit at the bedroom door and scratch for ten or fifteen minutes at a time, never tiring, until the paint began to chip. She would also slip a paw under the door and try to pry it open, which worked if the door wasn't properly latched. This was only during the day, of course. Then if she managed to gain access to the room, she would lope in, look around, and perhaps wonder why she so desperately wanted to be there in the first place. Then she would either sit down and groom herself, or go to the window sill and watch the goings-on of the outside world. Or perhaps she would stretch out in a beam of sunlight, if such was available, or jump into a chair and curl up for a nap.
When it came to handling her, Sarah was generally quite picky. She had a good set of boundaries, I think. You could pet her, and you could pick her up, but it had to be the right way, and not for too long. The correct way to pick her up was to reach under her
tummy and swing her up onto a shoulder, where she could rest facing backwards. Of course, Tony tried to train her to appreciate other methods, such as holding her up in the air facing him, his fingers around her back and his thumbs against her chest. At first she would protest by hitting back with her hind paws, and baring her little fangs, but when she came to realize that fighting did little good, she became more docile. To Tony’s credit, Sarah was also trained not to run through the back door if it was open, which I think was quite an accomplishment considering her nature. With all her predictability, however, she still held a few surprises. There were times when we would catch her in the bathtub investigating the faucet, licking the water near the drain, or perhaps behind the towel in the bathroom window. It's difficult to say how she got up there, but she was a very agile and resourceful kitty. One might even say clever, if it weren't for other evidence, such as the fact that she always scratched on the same wrong kitchen cupboard when she wanted more food in her bowl. And so we commemorate a very distinct kitty named Sarah, an irreplaceable cat that was at various times both loved and hated. I will remember her bored expression, the smell of her fur, her excited expression, the way she liked to play tug-of-war with old socks and bits of string, and her silhouette against the bay window. We will remember her fondly for a long time. She will certainly be missed. Sarah goes off to kitty heaven, and perhaps will be other famous cats, such as bloop, cheetah, and gee gee. Hail and Farewell, Sarah.