For a few months, it was sad central here at the homestead. In addition to the passing of Penny, we endured the loss of Maddison, my 11-year-old Maine Coon mix. Maddison had a perineal hernia recur – a condition he had surgery for at age five. Unfortunately, due to his age and the progression of the impaction caused by the hernia, there were no acceptable treatment options and I had to say good-bye to him too.
Sadness doesn’t cover how I felt over such great losses. Although I still had my two dogs and Maddison’s littermate, Harley, the house seemed empty. Maddison was very vocal and everything was whisper-quiet without him. Also, from the time I adopted him at eight months, Maddison would sit on my desk and purr while I worked. Heartbroken, I began a search to fill the void.
Initially, I wanted a kitten. Losing Maddie at 11 and Penny at 7 made me shy away from adopting an older cat. The two years with Penny, while gratifying in every aspect, pushed me to search for a young kitten with no known health issues.
Because we didn’t have kittens available at Baypath at the time, I took a ride down to Buddy Dog Humane Society, another nearby no-kill shelter. On the drive, I called my sister to check the shelter’s hours. She got distracted looking at the available cats and told me I had to look at 1-year-old Sparrow. My sister is not a cat enthusiast so the fact that she found one that intriguing was difficult to ignore.
Buddy Dog, it turned out, had a single kitten at the time and he was in the process of being adopted along with a senior cat. Oddly, his new family also just lost two cats and was looking to soothe the grief.
I wandered around the cages and spotted the cat my sister had described. Sparrow was hard to miss with her gorgeous long black-and-white coat and her adorable half-mustache. She also has a sweet black nose and an assortment of black and pink pads on her paws.
When I first spied Sparrow, she was grouped in a cage with a cat that could have been Maddison’s twin. They were both basking in the daytime sun and seemed content as could be. A volunteer spotted me lingering near Sparrow and suggested I sit in the floor-to-ceiling cage with her. I pet her gently as we sat quietly for a while. She was such a sweetie.
Turns out Sparrow had come to the shelter about a year ago at the age of five months with her siblings. Born to a stray cat, she had been kept her first half-year in a basement with no socialization. This essentially made her feral. When she was left at the shelter, she took a good eight months to warm up to the staff and volunteers. But once she did, they said, she was the biggest love bug ever.
I was conflicted about adopting Sparrow. On the one hand, it was honestly love at first sight and on the other, I wanted a kitten. I completed an adoption application, but decided to think about it some more. As I babbled on about her to my sister on my ride home, it became apparent she would soon become part of the homestead. As soon as I got home, I called Buddy Dog, asked them to consider my application and, once approved, I put a hold fee on her.
Two days later, I brought Sparrow, now Brady, home and we both started to heal.