She was 21-years-old and lost!
Sage became part of the family when Megan was just three. They literally grew up together. She was there to see Megan walk out the door for the first day of kindergarten, when Megan came home from her first date and when Megan headed out into the adult world.
Then the unthinkable happened. Seven months ago, Sage was lost during a move.
Nearly 21-years-old, she had the thin appearance of a very old cat in declining health. Megan looked for her, but she had literally vanished.
Losing a loved one is hard, and the hardest part about losing Sage was not knowing what happened, so Megan concluded that a coyote had snatched her while she was lost in the woods. It was hard to think about, but one can’t begin to heal from a loss until one acknowledges it. Believing her to be gone forever was less painful than dealing with the unknown.
Sage’s family thought she was gone, but the opposite was true. Last May, 14-year-old Daynika found the emaciated tortoiseshell and took her home knowing that her mom would have some ideas on how to help her.
There were allergies in the family, so Daynika couldn’t keep her, but her mom asked her friend Shannen to foster her. In the meantime, Daynika posted flyers, checked for a microchip and listed her on the local Lost Cat Facebook page.
Because Sage was only four pounds, Daynika posted her as a found kitten. How could an adult cat be so tiny? Sadly, Megan didn’t see the flyers. In addition, because she believed Sage to be gone forever, she wasn’t looking on Facebook for her.
Enter the next person in Sage’s tale. A Community Cats Coalition volunteer named Lisa saw the post about the emaciated kitten and offered to help. Dehydrated and underweight, Sage received her fluids and told Shannen to contact her if she needed anything else.
After caring for Sage for a month and not finding her home, Shannen took Sage to a local no-kill shelter. under the assumption Sage would be safe there. But the shelter called Shannen to say that Sage was going to be put to sleep if a foster home wasn’t found by the next day.
Shannen didn’t realize that a shelter can be considered no-kill if healthy, adoptable cats aren’t euthanized. While Sage looked to be a kitten with her small frame, the shelter recognized that she was an old cat. Old cats, sick cats, shy cats, and scared cats are considered unadoptable in many shelters. Sage’s time was up.
Shannen contacted Lisa, who felt sick upon hearing the news. After only a few minutes of thought, Lisa changed her schedule to pick up Sage and, once again, the elderly cat was safe.
But Sage had obvious health issues, so Lisa took her to the vet. $550 later, it was determined that Sage was a very old cat with hearing loss, arthritis, hyperthyroidism, and Irritable Bowel Disorder.
Some people would have quit at this point, but instead the volunteer took her home and set up a spare bedroom with a heated bed, nutritious food, and toys. Daily medications, special food, Vitamin B12 shots and lots of love changed Sage. She jumped from four pounds to seven pounds.
Sage did not like the other cats in the Lisa’s home. Wanting something better than a spare-bedroom existence for her, Lisa posted her for adoption. Months passed and nobody wanted her.
Then the miracle. Megan, the girl Sage grew up with, was ready to get another cat. She wanted to rescue an old cat in honor of Sage, the cat she had lost. Looking on Craigslist, she saw a post for a senior cat and clicked it open. Maybe she would adopt this cat. But wait, this cat looked like her Sage! Could it be? She pulled out childhood photos and matched every patch of orange and black and tan. It was her! She quickly contacted Lisa and sent photos. As Lisa matched the markings and heard the story of when and where she was hopeful that Megan was the owner. When Megan came to visit and Sage recognized her immediately, it was obvious that this was her cat.
We love the miracle of Sage’s story and are so thankful for those who helped her on her journey home. For Dr. Gawley who provided wonderful vet care. And for Lisa who literally saved Sage’s life, fostered her for over six months, and continued to post on Craigslist long after others would have given up.
For everyone out there who has lost a cat, don’t give up. Miracles happen and they do come home. Welcome home Sage!
Reprinted with permission from Nancy Wahl, Community Cats Coalition. This article is original in content and not to be reproduced. Copyright January 5, 2016.
The mission of Community Cats Coalition, located in the Pacific Northwest, is to enhance the lives of community cats by promoting spay and neuter and providing training and mentorship in Trap-Neuter-Return. Education is their number one goal and to that end it publishes a variety of posts on Facebook related to community cats. A Best of Facebook can be found at the CCC website.