I first laid eyes on Sarah in an animal shelter in Newport, where we were pastoring, at the top of a large pen swarming with cats of all sizes and colors loudly meowing for attention. I worked my way through the crowded pen to where Sarah, a long-haired gorgeous calico cat was curled up sound asleep, reached out, and softly petted her long fur. Sarah lifted her head and yawned back at me. It was love at first sight.
I was still grieving the loss of Susie, a short haired calico cat we had for eighteen years. I really didn’t know if I’d be able to have or love another cat after Susie, but my family insisted that I had to get another cat as I loved cats and they couldn’t picture me without one. So I found myself adopting Sarah, who I wanted to call Annabelle. Sarah was already a couple of years old so not to confuse her I began calling her Sarah Annabelle figuring I’d drop Sarah once she got used to it, but somehow both names stuck.
I was struggling physically as my Lyme disease had come out of remission and soon was bedfast. Sarah Annabelle would lie on top of me purring or beside me snoozing the day away keeping me company. She was the ideal companion; a perfect pet.
We moved back to our house in Jamestown and for the first time in her life Sarah Annabelle was able to go outside. She fell quickly in love with the outdoors roaming around exploring and sleeping in the sun during the warm summer months claiming our home as her forever place.
On cold winter days you would find Sarah Annabelle snoozing toasting her toes at the wood- stove. We often wondered how she didn’t suffocate with her thick long fur especially when the fire was roaring hot.
For some reason Sarah Annabelle loved shoes and slippers- and the stinkier the better. Pure catty bliss to her was curled up at the hot wood stove among work shoes drying.
Sarah Annabelle was a gently soul that got along with all the other animals that we took in at our place. Nobody had any trouble sharing space with Sarah Annabelle.
Sarah Annabelle was one of the most photogenic pets I have ever had. Her quite personality was ideal for sitting at one spot posing for however long it took me to get the right angle and shot.
All I had to do was gently push her body down or around and she would lie there quietly as if wondering in her catty mind what this human person would do or think up next.
Sarah Annabelle followed me from room to room during the day. When I was at my computer she made herself comfortable on the nearby shelf or…
squished her furry fat body on the crowded desk behind me.
If I was in the kitchen and opened up my herb cabinet while cooking guess what spot Sarah Annabelle claimed?
When I made pies Sarah Annabelle would sit on a stool watching my every move memorized over the rolling pin as I rolled out pie crusts.
Canning apple pie filling was a long process so a catty nap nearby was Sarah Annabelle’s solution.
Of course she was all curiosity checking out the pantry when I began storing my canned goods.
Sarah Annabelle was never demanding when she wanted attention. She would sit patiently by your side until you noticed her. If you took too long she would reach out and pat you with her paw just to let you know that she was there.
In fact most visitors never knew there was a cat around unless they saw Sarah Annabelle curled up sleeping or when she walked into a room. One morning I needed to sign a letter to mail and got sidetracked. Minutes later when I came back to the kitchen there was Sarah Annabelle still sitting by the letter as if to remind me of what I forgot.
Holidays were fun with Sarah Annabelle around. When I wasn’t snapping pictures of her you never knew where she would pop up next.
She would hide under the Christmas tree among the present if things got too noisy when the grand-kids came or…
make herself at home on the dining room table in the midst of my Christmas village.
As the years passed Sarah Annabelle got frailer, but it was hardly noticeable with her long fur. She was just there- a quiet presence that took longer naps, and then sleeping through most of the day. The last couple of years she stayed indoors all the time no longer interested in going outside.
I knew I would soon have to put Sarah Annabelle to sleep, but kept putting it off. She wasn’t sick or in pain just old. It became harder for her to jump up on the bed or get to her cat food so I fixed things to make it easier for her.
Early summer this year when it warmed up outside, Sarah Annabelle suddenly wanted to be outdoors again. She would come in only to eat a little spending most of the day in the front yard in a patch of sunshine curled up sleeping. It was as though she was preparing me for when she’d soon be gone.
When she quit eating we knew it was time to say good-bye. We counted up the years and it was hard to believe that we had Sarah Annabelle for fifteen years. She was seventeen years old. So one summer morning on a sunny day we buried Sarah Annabelle in the herb garden where our other calico cat, Susie, lies. Among the herbs and mints that bloom and shed fragrance my little catty lady, who I miss so much, now sleeps.