Remembering Sadie, 2012-2021

This one really hurts: Sadie passed away today. She was not quite 9 years old.

It was very unexpected. We’d noticed last week that she seemed to have lost some weight, and I saw her try to jump up on the kitchen counter and miss. Over the weekend we debated taking her in to the vet, and called on Monday to make an appointment. Our vet is so backed up that we couldn’t get her in until the end of the month (apparently everyone is catching up on vet appointments they’d postponed during the pandemic), so we decided to wait and see. Well, she spent most of the day under our bed, and we noticed she wasn’t eating and was licking her lips a lot. So we arranged to do a drop-off on Tuesday.

The doctor who saw her said that Sadie had several masses in her torso – one quite large – and that she was showing extreme kidney failure. Apparently her kidney numbers actually exceeded their machinery’s ability to measure it. We left her there overnight, expecting to take her to a pet hospital for further examination today.

Instead, our regular doctor – who doesn’t work Monday or Tuesday – called this morning saying she’d seen Sadie had been in on Tuesday. We told her that she was still there, so she checked her out, and after a few calls we decided to put her to sleep. Sadie probably had lymphoma or some other form of cancer, and we felt that treating both that and keeping her alive despite her failing kidneys would probably just lead to her living for only a few more months, likely in discomfort and declining quality-of-life, and that it was probably best to let her go while she was still comfortable. So that’s what we did.

We adopted Sadie and her brother Jackson in November 2012, when Blackjack was in what turned out to be the endgame of his own cancer, and Newton was 18 years old. Both would pass away within 8 months. We didn’t want to be a one-cat household, and we figured Roulette would want some company. As it turned out, Roulette would have been happy being an only cat, but she tolerated Sadie more than Jackson. We also adopted them shortly after my Mom moved to assisted living and I was traveling back to Boston regularly to handle her affairs and clean out her house, so the kittens were a welcome break from that.

They were two of a set of three, but apparently they beat up on their sister a lot in their cage, and the Humane Society staffer said it was probably good for their sister to go to a different household. As a new adoptee, Jackson was bold and adventurous and cuddly, while Sadie was more reserved, and liked to play with toys on her own. Over time she became very affectionate, loving her head rubs and purring easily. Sometimes she liked belly rubs, and if she wasn’t in the mood she’d just get up and leave.

Jackson and Sadie as kittens
This has been my iPhone Lock Screen image for over 8 years

Debbi came up with the name Sadie because as a kitten the marks on the outer edges of Sadie’s eyes gave her a sad expression. She outgrew that and had a naturally bright, inquisitive expression as an adult.

Sadie did her best to become my special kitty, filling the void left by Jefferson’s passing in 2010. I’d been calling Roulette “little girl” for a some time by then, so I started calling Sadie “little miss”. Debbi referred to them as the queen and the princess.

Sadie as a kitten on the cat tree

She loved Newton for the 8 months she knew him, lying with him even after he wrapped her on her head when she went after his tail.

Newton and Sadie
Newton and Sadie

But her signature trait was that she surprisingly grew from a short-haired kitty to a medium-hair cat with pantaloons and a big goofy tail, plus short legs for her body (sort of like Simon has now). Every so often she would spaz out and run around the house, a white mop of fur running down the stairs or jumping on the table by the garage door. Alas, she did not enjoy getting brushed, so we ended up with white hair all over the house. Sometimes I’d play with her with a mouse toy on a couch, and she’d leave tufts of white hair across it.

Floofy Sadie
Floofy Sadie

When I had people over for gaming, she would often hang out with us – sometimes on the table – to keep up with what was going on.

"I'm all in!" - Sadie at our home poker table
“I’m all in!”

She became “the bedtime enforcer”, sitting by the hallway to the stairs or even meowing at us if we stayed up later than we were supposed to. And she’d jump up and tuck us into bed for a few minutes after we turned the light off, before heading off to do whatever she did at night. Sometimes I think she just sat at the foot of the bed or the top of the stairs to guard us against threats.

What's out there?

She was a very well-behaved kitty, using scratching posts rather than furniture (something Simon and Edison have not learned from her). She loved her treats, especially Greenies. And this past year she became my meeting buddy, sitting with me in the library where I take many of my video meetings while working from home. She also liked sleeping in the baskets of clothes on the top shelf of our walk-in closet, and the kittens would sometimes follow her up there.

And, she was a world champion lounger. She would lie down and get comfortable almost anywhere, whether or not she was underfoot.

World champion lounger: Sadie at our wedding in 2015
Sadie at our wedding in 2015

Her last few days were comfortable, I think. She ate through Sunday, and I gave her some extra treats while she ate them. She sat with us in the living room Monday night, sat on the dining table Tuesday morning while Debbi worked, and then went upstairs and sat inside the door to our bedroom before going under the bed. I put her on the bed for a bit and we had a pet-fest, and I got a few final photos of her. We didn’t know this was the last time she’d be home – I’d been holding out hope that she had a couple of rotten teeth that were making her not eat – but we knew there was that chance.

Edison has been trying so hard the last few months to win her over, and unfortunately she just never did more than tolerate the kittens. I’d hoped she’d become motherly towards them, but it wasn’t to be.

The last photo
The last photo

After Roulette passed in March, I figured it would be another 6 years or more before we had to worry about one of our cats reaching the end, so this was quite a shock. Of course we wonder what we could have done, but she and Jackson had a routine physical just a few months ago and there was no sign of this then. The speed with which it happened was also a factor in our decision to let her go.

Like Blackjack, she deserved better than this. I guess we’ve just had a couple of instances of extremely bad luck with our kitties.

But I’m grateful for the time we did have with her. She was a sweet, loving kitty, and brought a special warmth to our household. And I’m gonna miss her a lot, and will always wonder about the moments we’ll miss out having with her.

Goodbye, little miss. My Sadie girl.

Bright eyes
Bright eyes

6 thoughts on “Remembering Sadie, 2012-2021”

  1. I hope you won’t mind that I say out loud what I’m sure you already knew – Sadie was my favorite! Not only was she the softest animal (short of a chinchilla) I’ve ever touched, but I appreciated her attitude. She reminded me a lot of the chows I had growing up.

    It is surprising she went downhill so fast. Yet, I am glad she didn’t linger and suffer. She was such a special girl… she deserved to live her best life, which is exactly what you and Debbi gave her!

    I can’t believe you are dealing with this so soon after Rou. It just isn’t fair. Big hugs to you and Debbi!! And Jackson, too. xoxo

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