Thursday, July 8, 2021

All At Sea...

The Wreck
Knud-Andreassen Baade

I know, I know, it's only been three days, but this is proving to be much harder than I thought it would be, and I knew it was going to be hard.

Sasha and I connected the very first time I laid eyes on her, but to tell this story, I mean really tell it, I need to go back to October of 2003. Actually no, let's go back even further, to November of 1998. But, but...

Better still if you just chase the links for those dates mentioned above. And this one as well. Sometimes I can put a few words together that say something to someone, sometimes...


Sasha and I met each other on the 20th of October, back in 2003. It was three days after our cat Pat had passed on. A rough time as I recall. (As I recall? Are you kidding me? That day is burned, yes, burned into my memory...). Now I've written of "how I came to have a cat" before, but it surprised me that I hadn't written of how Sasha and Anya joined our merry band. And going through the archives, the feline staff of Anya and Sasha make multitudinous appearances both by reference and in photos.

Imagine, if you will, that between the penultimate and ultimate sentences of the previous paragraph I wandered so far down memory lane that I damned near forgot the amount of mental anguish I am experiencing. In fact, it was rather cathartic seeing pictures of Sasha in happier times. But, as you may well imagine, I digress.

The 20th of October was a Monday, The Missus Herself and I were at the Animal Shelter in our wee town fast by Narragansett Bay, looking for a kitten. Oddly enough, it wasn't my idea. I still needed (actually "wanted" would be a better term, the more discerning among ye will know the difference) some time to mourn, but my better half was adamant. So we went to the shelter.

Among the various felines roaming the area (a big open room where the cats were allowed to roam and play as they desired) were numerous kittens and mature cats. One kitten, a very shy and retiring type, caught the eye of The Missus Herself. While that wee, mostly white, kitten was indeed very pretty, she was also terrified of everything around her. Which concerned me. I look for personality in a cat, an outgoing nature, a curious and inquisitive feline mind, that kitten didn't seem to have any of those attributes. (Though as the years march past, I often wonder what became of her. I hope she was adopted and perhaps yet lives somewhere nearby, happy and content.)

As The Missus Herself tried to connect with that kitten, I saw another kitten, mostly black from where I stood but with white paws, playing nearby on one of those cat tree thingies, ya know, one of these -


Anyhoo, there was a chair next to the cat tree where I could more closely observe this wee black and white kitten. When I sat down, she turned to look at me. I gave her a chin scratch, which most cats seem to enjoy, she was no exception. After she rubbed her cheek against my hand, cats have scent glands in their cheeks which they use to mark ownership, she promptly took a swipe at me. Then sat back as if to say "your move hooman." At that precise point in time, I knew that I had found "my" cat. That's how I met Sasha.

After indicating our desire to adopt said feline, The Missus Herself was also immediately entranced by the little furry girl's personality, the lady at the shelter said, "Oh, she has a sister, would you like to see her too? She's in isolation at the moment as she has a minor eye infection."

Well, yes, yes we would like to meet the sister. (Flashback - When we adopted Pat and Tiger in Germany, our mission had been to get a cat, one cat, we returned with two brothers. One of whom, Pat, had a minor eye infection. Cue Twilight Zone music...)

The lady came back with Sasha in her left arm and Anya in her right. The two cats were nearly identical, only as time went by did we learn to distinguish the two by their markings. (Sasha's nose was only half white, Anya's was all white. Sasha had white on both back legs, Anya on only one.) It was truly love at first sight.

At first they didn't have names other than what the folks at the shelter called them, Thunder (that would be Anya) and Lightning (that would be Sasha). It turned out that those names had been given them by the folks who had rescued them from a field in Massachusetts (as I understand the story). So for the first few days that's how we referred to them, an important distinction here is that is NOT what we called them. We didn't know their names yet (long story there).

Eventually we did, it may have been three or four days later, I don't rightly recall. But Anya and Sasha they were named, Anya and Sasha they remain. The two were a matched set for nearly eighteen years, until death separated them from each other and from us.

Anya remains, healthy and happy. Sasha is now but a memory, a very sweet memory.

I told her many times in the last few days of her life, knowing that she didn't have long, that I would love her forever, that I would remember her until we met again in the next world.

Sasha in happier times.

That's a promise I mean to keep.

Post Script: I'd like to mention that a friend of mine from the other side of the country, by some sad twist of fate, lost his cat of eleven years on the very same day we lost Sasha. Mike's cat was also named Sasha. I like to think that they had the opportunity to meet and go through orientation together on the other side. It's a comfort.


  1. I'm sorry for your loss! It really is hard. I empathize with you.

    This really struck me: "I told her many times in the last few days of her life, knowing that she didn't have long, that I would love her forever, that I would remember her until we met again in the next world." I've also said something like this to our cats who I knew might be dying because of kidney problem. What I told them was, "Whatever happens, know that I love you!"

    Take your time to get over your grief. Take care sir!

    - Victor

  2. A much needed post for this reader, thanks for the links and you're right, two pairs of siblings is......unusual. Everyone mourns differently and when you lose part of your heart....well......write whatever you want when you want or.....not. Hang in there Sarge.

  3. So now I have a lot more reading as backstory...

    One of the best bosses I had (that I did indeed follow to two other jobs) once listened to me patiently as I explained I had to go home and manage an argument between relatives because of our cats at the time had used the bed as a litterbox. He patiently listened to me, then said "See you tomorrow".

    I have come to the conclusion that in some indefinable way that I do not fully appreciate or comprehend, our pets really choose us. We are just the recipients of their choice.

    I have mourned far more over pets that over almost any person. Why? I can only think that pets are far more open in their affections and in their willingness to listen and put up with us than most any person is.

    1. I get that "best boss" thing. I worked for a German Lieutenant Colonel in NATO, when my cat Tiger died, it was an awful day at work. He asked me what was wrong, I told him, he told me to go home and come back whenever I was ready. The man had a heart of gold.

      Our cats and dogs don't judge, they accept us as we are, they love without reservation. Everything you say is so true. Thanks TB.

  4. When we miss them there is something palpable about it.
    It doesn’t mater if it’s feline, canine, or human.
    It takes time to heal and evidence of the wound remains.
    The memories determine the shape and size of the wound.

    1. The wound in this case is jagged and gaping, the memories are good, so the loss is huge.

  5. Had two cats, Dexter and Sinister, or Dex and Sissy for short names. Why? Because one was all black except for a white right half of his nose, and her's was white on the left half. So, well, Dexter (right) and Sinister (left.) Stories of those two knuckleheads and their acquisition to follow while you're at sea, POCIR.

  6. Great memories. Thanks for sharing. We share your loss, and it recalls our own pet losses.

  7. Your tale brings back our tales of dogs and cats and other things too. All these memories come to be known as what makes up a good marriage. Shared grief, shared joy. Can't be beat.
    Except in what's to come.

    1. Ah yes, what's to come...

      I can't begin to contemplate that...

  8. In my city we have a Grief Center (free, no cost, no pressure). After the death of my youngest son, my sister (who is on the board of directors) urged me to go. Much to my amazement, their six month process helped immensely. Recently, they created a program for Pet loss. Perhaps something like that exists in your area.

    1. It is a process, one I've been through. It's a good resource.

  9. Chris, Your posts have been a comfort to us too. To know she is not making the journey alone, but alongside your Sasha, her new friend, is comforting also. Sometimes coincidences are not coincidences. Rest assured, we will meet them again at the bridge.


    1. I'm glad that our Sasha's didn't have to travel that road alone.

      Yes, we will meet them again, of that I am sure.

  10. I am sure Lazarus went and made sure she is settling in. You really are a Good Man, Chris. That is why you are Badger Approved.


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Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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