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  • Mitchell Rothbardt

My Sadie

This post isn’t going to be about training. I don’t know if this is even the place to write this, but I felt I had to put it somewhere. I lost my kitty, Sadie, last night. She was 17, which is very old for a cat. Over the last few weeks she hadn’t been doing very well. She didn’t really move at all and I had to pick her up and bring her to her food and back to her favorite chair. Yesterday, after I got home from work she lay in my arms for at least half an hour and didn’t even open her eyes for more than a second. Any one of my friends and family can tell you how much she meant to me.

Sadie was with me since she was a kitten. She came into my life in a roundabout way when a rommate’s friend got her for another friend. It turned out that the friend was allergic to cats and so my roomate took her. That particular roomate moved out and passed her responsibility to another roomate who then passed her on to me as it was pretty obvious by that point that she was my cat, really. I was 24.

I am 41 now and Sadie was with me for so many of my life’s events. I moved out of that place and into a small studio apartment where I stayed with her for about 9 years. Every time I left, she would jump onto my dresser and I would say goodbye to her. Every time I came home she would be waiting for me in the same spot by the door. Every night when I went to bed she would snuggle next to me and on colder nights she’d snuggle under the covers. Every single time I was on my way home I would say to myself how happy I would be to see her when I got there. Every single time. I lost a job once and everyone asked me if I would be OK. I responded, “As long as I have my gym membership and my Sadie I’ll be fine.” I meant every word.

In April 2004 I met my future wife, Kristi. Sadie didn’t mind her but didn’t like my future step-son, Robert all that much. When they would come to my little one room apartment she would hide in the closet until they left.

About a year and a half after we met we decided to move in together. A few days after we moved in to our place we had the cable installed. I came downstairs where the cable guy was and he had the door to the outside wide open and I couldn’t find Sadie anywhere. I looked in the house for hours and then walked up and down the street and every neighboring street looking for her. I was very upset and couldn’t believe that as I was opening this great new chapter in my life she would be gone just like that. After hours of searching I went downstairs to find her just emerging from a new and very effective hiding spot. I think I cried for a good 15 minutes. She still slept by me every night.

We moved to a new place a few years after that. We got another cat and a puppy. Sadie didn’t like them very much. They were both very young and at this point Sadie was not. They didn’t understand that what they thought was playing was extremely irritating to her so she kept her distance as much as possible. As Puppy started making her way into our bed at night, Sadie starting sleeping downstairs. I don’t think I’ll ever stop feeling bad about this.

At one point after we moved she started “doing her business” in some inappropriate places around the house. The vet suggested that we keep her in a confined space with her litter box until she re-learned to use it. We kept her in a room with a window. As it was summer we kept the window slightly open and one night, she got out. She was never the sort of cat to leave the house, really. Every once in a while she’d poke her head outside and then run back in. Well, this night when I went in to see her she wasn’t there. I ran outside and found her in our back yard.

Over the past few years as she became pretty old for a cat, she lost a lot of weight. She was never a big cat to begin with, but she was still pretty healthy. That changed a few weeks ago when she became noticably still. She didn’t really move anywhere and she could no longer get to her food or up on her favorite chair. She even crawled behind our clothes drier which is something she never would have done.

Kristi took her to the vet on Thursday and found out that she had a heart murmur. I’ve known for a while that she was not a young cat and she lived several years longer then most cats do, and pretty healthy for almost all of that time. They wanted to run some tests but she became noticably worse over Friday and Saturday. I rubbed her belly and it felt hard, not right. When I got home on Saturday, Kristi was holding her wrapped in a blanket and she looked like she was sleeping. I took her and brought her upstairs with me for a little while and she didn’t even open her eyes. Her breathing was labored and she seemed too weak to move. I made the decision to bring her to the vet. Before we left I tried to give her some food and she couldn’t even stand up to eat it.

I’ve never been one to take a lot of pictures and I realized this morning that after 17 years I don’t think I have one picture of me holding her. That makes me incredibly sad.

There are many people who know me that have lost someone very important to them in the last few months. I’m beyond sorry if writing this makes it seem to you that I’m trying to compare or makes you feel bad in any way, but it just hurts so much to lose such a big part of my life. I just loved her so much. I don’t want to make anyone angry by writing this. I just wanted to say it.

Quite a while ago, when it was just her and me I went on a vacation and left her at my friend Ross’s house for a week. When he brought her back she was covered in soot. He told me that she jumped into his fireplace and covered herself in the ashes. He cleaned her off the best he could but he didn’t know if he should bathe her or not. That night I gave a her a bath in the tub for, I think, the first time in her life. If you know how much cats like water I’m sure you realize that this wasn’t a pleasant experience for her. What I’ll never forget, though, is that she just sat in the tub looking at me with complete trust. It was like she was saying, “As much as I don’t like this, if you think it’s the right thing to do, then OK.”

I hope I didn’t betray the trust she put in me.

My Sadie. 1994-Feb. 26, 2011

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