Katie’s story: a life worth saving

Marketing and special-projects manager at the News & Review and resident of Paradise

Katie’s life started inauspiciously. Abandoned in front of a grocery store, she had, we always assumed, a rather traumatic early childhood. When we found her at the Paradise Animal Shelter, she was a kitten desperate for affection. We fell for the whole “stick a paw out of the cage and flag down the people” routine and adopted her.

We always used to joke that Katie wasn’t especially bright or hard working, but in reality we knew that she was a pretty good companion. She always sought out our attention, whether it was to sit on a warm lap or to follow us around the garden. Amazingly, she demonstrated enough good sense not to disturb her cockatiel “brother” in his cage or to mess with “Mom’s” knitting.

The one truly remarkable incident in her life happened nearly six years ago. My husband placed a bowl of soup in the microwave to warm, when he was interrupted by a phone call. Several minutes later Katie followed him to the room where he had taken the call. She meowed loudly while wrapping herself around his legs. Since she was normally a very quiet cat, this was truly unusual behavior. My husband went out to the kitchen to find it filled with smoke. The microwave had shorted out and would have caused more serious smoke or fire damage if it weren’t for Katie’s intervention. Afterwards, we made a few Lassie jokes and said that Katie was just trying to protect the soup. In our hearts, though, we knew she was our “animal hero.”

Katie died last week, and the loss is devastating. While there is nothing I can do to bring her back, there is one thing I can do in her memory: I urge anyone who has had his or her life positively affected by a pet to consider making a contribution to the local animal shelter. These vital organizations are badly in need of our financial support right now.

Please also consider adopting a shelter animal—they make wonderful, loving pets. If you do adopt a pet, spay or neuter it at a young age. And last, never abandon a pet. It’s illegal and inhumane. For every "Katie" that starts off as an abandoned animal yet finds a happy home, there are countless other nameless cats that meet a far sorrier fate.