By Theo Forwell
Who said a dog is man’s best friend? I would have to disagree. I had a cat named Sage. He was born in a barn in Kamloops and he was my best friend for 13 years. Sage was unique, his personality was like a dog: I’d call him and he would come, he liked to go for walks, he liked having his hair done, yet he was a cat. In 13 years he moved with me 13 times and he was fine with that as long as we were together. He adapted extremely well with changes in homes, climates, roommates and other animals. He was a bit of a chick magnet. Sage was just a cool cat.
We all know that living rural residential can be a risk when having small dogs and cats. Sage was always an outdoor cat and was streetwise and bushwise from all the places he lived. When my wife and I bought a house in the country, we knew there were a lot of fox and coyote in the area. I also knew it would be impossible to keep Sage indoors.
One morning Sage did not come home after his night prowling. I hoped and prayed all day that he would show up but I knew deep in my heart that he was taken by a wild thing. I was completely devastated. Hurt, grief, sadness, frustration, anger, guilt, I felt all of these things for a long time. I knew I had to feel these things. The hardest part is that I never saw his body, and could not see him again. A part of me still hoped he would suddenly show up again, “the cat came back” but I knew he was truly gone.
It took me a long time to heal. My wife and I had a funeral for Sage with a bonfire, prayers, poems, photos, stories, memories and his toys. We cried a lot. I spent a lot of time by myself. I also made a journal and I am not a journaling person. It just felt right at this time for some reason. I wrote down memories, had photos, some of his fur. I was surprised how much the journal helped me. It was a real freedom to express myself with my own personal feelings without any judgment or worrying about what other people thought.
I talked to people. Some people were supportive and others did not understand at all. I felt guilty for a while wondering if there was any way I could have kept him safer.
I did heal in time, but I know I will never have another cat like Sage. I know I loved and cherished him, and took good care of him, and he of me. I still feel a deep love and connection to him and I believe I always will.