Sasha’s Sad Story
A pair of cats was surrendered to a shelter by their owner — not an uncommon occurrence. That’s why this story needs to be told.
The cats were young, less than three years old. One was black and the other was black and white. The black and white one was terrified and she cowered for a long time. She was a concern. The black one was more confident and outgoing. She seemed fine. Nearly two months passed and they weren’t adopted. They went into foster care for a brief period and when they were returned to the shelter, the Foster advised that they didn’t seem to eat much. So a note was posted to watch their intake and output. This was done as much as is possible in a busy shelter where animals stream in and the workers scramble to meet their needs. When food is eaten and a litter pan is used, it’s sometimes hard to know who ate and who eliminated. Yes, her intake and output could have been monitored accurately if she was kept in isolation. But she was a social cat. Loneliness and loss were already her biggest problems. She needed at least her lifelong feline friend to sleep beside.
Eventually it was noticed that the black and white one was not eating and was becoming jaundiced. She went to the vet. The black one still seemed fine. She was active and friendly. She greeted everyone who came by and she beamed with pleasure if she got some attention. But soon it was noticed that she too had not been eating enough. Cats are unique in that they cannot go without food for long. When cats stop eating, their bodies send fat to the liver which, in cats, is not good at handling it. The fat is stored in the liver rather than being utilized and it causes liver failure. The cat will become jaundiced and body parts that are usually pink or white will be tinged with yellow. It’s harder to notice this in a black cat. But eventually workers noticed that the little black cat was yellow around the ears and lips even though she still seemed robust and purred when given attention.
She joined her feline friend at the vet’s where she was given intravenous medications and was coaxed to eat. Her friend began to recover. But nothing seemed to turn the tide for the little black cat. She could be coaxed to eat but would bring it back up. The disease had advanced too far for her. She became listless and quiet. No longer did she stand up and meow hopefully whenever someone came in. Nothing more could be done. There was no recourse but to put her down. She had become a Katie’s Place cat by this point and the vet gave the final injection as a volunteer stroked her and cradled her head.
Unwanted pets die every day — by the thousands. It’s a tragedy we accept as a society because the sheer numbers make it seem inevitable. But this cat’s death saddened us because she had tried so hard to be noticed. Sasha was only two and a half. She was just a plain black cat who asked everyone she saw for a little attention. Some people gave her a pat and a stroke. Most didn’t. There were too many other cats asking for the same thing. So she gave up. She lost interest in food and stopped eating.
Sasha’s faith and hope died long before her body gave out. The tragedy here was the betrayal of her trust. The tragedy is that nobody wanted the love she offered. The tragedy began when she was born into a world where there are so many of these pets that they have no value, and it continued when she depended on a home that was gone for her before she was three years old.
This was written for Sasha and all pets whose love is not returned. If her story helps save one other pet, then there will have been some good in it.
What you can do:
1) Spay or neuter your pet. There are too many in shelters waiting for a home.
2) Consider the pet’s life span before you adopt. They are a lifelong commitment.
3) Consider taking home a plainer or older pet. You will be endlessly rewarded with love.
4) Volunteer at your local shelter. Your love could save a life.