We normally don’t post about losing one of our cats. But Edith was a very special kitty. We rescued Edith in June, 2019, from Dallas, TX, where she was surrendered as a fractious cat. Edith wasn’t feral, but she did not let anyone near her without severe protest. In addition, Edith was deaf, and at some point had a full mouth extraction.
We settled Edith in our Sebastopol facility with therapy colleagues Andrea and Rick. Edith had her own, private, quiet room, with little human interaction. Gradually Andrea would enter the room and stand just inside the door. Edith would run and hide. After about 6 months, Edith stopped running and hiding. But would be ready bolt should Andrea move any closer. Six more months went by, and Andrea could now move a few feet inside the door; a few feet closer without Edith running.
Then Andrea noticed something disturbing. Edith was deathly afraid of Andrea’s hands. Even if Andrea moved them just a little bit, Edith would cower with fear. We think that Edith was badly abused, and that’s why she was afraid of hands. It could be why she was deaf. I shutter to think.
This poor cat.
As time went by, Andrea slowly worked her way closer and closer to Edith. Carefully and very slowly, Andrea would present her hands to Edith, showing Edith that they weren’t going to hurt her. Hands aren’t bad. Hands are good. This went on for about a year.
I visit our Sebastopol facility about once a month. During my visits I’d enter Edith’s room with Andrea and watch what progress Andrea was making. On my first visit, Edith ran and hid. A couple years later Edith eyed me the whole time ready to bolt. On my visit last week, Edith sat calmly in her window bed. No fear. No anxiety. No concern about my presence just a few feet away from her. Or my hands. She’d peer out her window at the squirrels racing up and down the trees. Watch the birds on her very large flatscreen TV. Or just sit there. At ease. Content. Understanding, maybe for the first time in her life, that she was safe. That she was secure. That she was loved.
Over the four years that Edith was with us, Andrea developed hand signals with Edith. One meant “Hi, Eddie.” Another: “Everything’s okay.” Another: “I love you.”
Andrea shared those signals with Edith every time Andrea entered Edith’s room. Andrea would say, “Hi, Eddie. I love you.” Then slow blink at Edith. Edith would turn to Andrea and return the love.
Last night, Andrea found Edith curled up on the floor, in a place she would go to when she wasn’t feeling well. So Andrea laid down next to Edith. Shared her hand signals one last time. And Edith passed.
We don’t talk about our Sebastopol facility very much. It’s a small facility. Not open to the public. A facility dedicated to temperamental and abused cats. But we should. Because Andrea and Rick are doing amazing work there. Amazing work. And we thank them for that.
We also normally don’t solicit donations on social media. But if you’d like to donate in memory of Edith, to help Andrea and Rick keep up the great work that they’re doing at our Sebastopol facility, please go to https://www.snapcats.org/donate-today/.