For those of you who have been following, I have sad news. Sal was helped to the Bridge yesterday. I burst into tears when I heard. Thick, blubbering tears. And I've burst into them more times than I can count in the hours since then.
How can one little cat work his way into your heart so fast?
On July 5 last year, a couple friends and I rescued Sal from inside a Mustang's engine in our office parking lot. We called him Mustang Sally until we realized he was a boy. So then he was Sal.
This video is him when we first got him out and safe in a carrier. It took us hours to get him out of that engine. Poor, tiny scared thing.
Luckily, my good friends at Cats Exclusive had room in their foster program to take him in. He was perfect.
His foster mom fell in love with him and we all suspect she kept a little extra saying he needed "more socialization time" before bringing him in to the adoption center -- because she loved him so much and wanted to extend his stay with her. He had that effect on people.
Once he got to Cats Exclusive, it was clear this boy was a love bug. He was perfect! Love, love, love.
Sal cuddled up with his best buddy, Smokey.
One of the techs even seriously thought about adopting Sal himself. He had that effect on people.
Then somewhere along the line in the next few months, he developed a neurological issue and lost control of his back legs. He was happy, though, and checked out healthy otherwise. He purred and played and didn't seem at all affected by his wacky legs -- a little frustrated sometimes, maybe, but not bothered.
His wobbly legs only made people love him more. This perfect boy was still perfect and he just weaved his way deeper in everyone's hearts there. The techs and everyone who worked there all gave him special attention and he was an obvious favorite. He had that effect on people.
One day a couple weeks ago, I got a call from the shelter manager (she knew how much I loved him) to tell me that Sal had been really going downhill in that past week. They had been and would continue to do all they could, but did I want to come see him? Yes, of course I did. I dropped all plans to go hold him for a couple hours. (That's me smooching Sal that day over there on the right.)
He was weak and I could see what she meant. But he was still purring like mad, still loving. He'd had some additional blood tests and it turned out that something was low (his platelets maybe?) and they put him on a medicine to fix that.
Within a week, he was back to his old "special" self! Yay! I went over to visit him again -- just this past Saturday -- and it was almost a miracle. There he was holding his head up high, drinking water, eating food and scooting around!
This is a video of him scooting. You'll see when you watch it. He'll have that effect on you.
Cute, right? Gah, I wanted to gobble him up. He spent most of my two-hour visit curled up in my arms or my lap. Purring and just looking at me. I spent most of that two hours just thankful that he was getting better.
He had gone from death's door to his playful self again, and everyone was optimistic. They decided to keep him on that medicine for another month to see if he could even improve more. And then we could do physical therapy! And he could get even stronger! Everyone was Team Sal.
Here he is playing with a fishy toy that day. He didn't care that his back legs don't work well -- he was just a normal cat!
I left covered in cat hair and just so happy. I assumed he was in the clear.
But today I got an email from the shelter manager, because she knows how much I loved him. The subject line just said "I'm so sorry" and I knew before I even opened it.
I read it in tears, squinting just to see the words. Sal was losing everything and they couldn't watch him completely go to nothing. They were all in tears. He is an angel in Heaven. She thanked me for bringing him into their lives.
I was so sad and mad at the same time. I would have been there with him when he went. I wish they'd told me first. But I don't know how bad he was, and maybe she thought she was protecting me. And I was SO happy that I'd just been with him and had such a special visit less than a week before. I truly know they did all they could for him and wouldn't have made that decision lightly.
Me and Sal hanging out last weekend. We were a pretty cute pair, huh?
How one little cat can have such an impact on someone, I don't know. I've probably spent less than seven hours total with Sal and I'm just as sad as if I'd lost a cat who I'd had for 20 years. I wish we could have done more for him. I wish there had been a magic cure. I wish I'd brought him home with me so he'd have at least had a real home for a little while.
I'm sorry for getting so sad in posts like these. They help me. I like to have memories recorded, and it helps to write out my feelings. I was just going to post a couple pictures and videos, but then I got to typing and I wanted to do it right. For Sal.
Cats Exclusive is going to have him cremated and they're going to keep him in a little urn at the front of the adoption center as a "lost little soldier." He fought so hard. He was sweet and playful, no matter what the world threw at him. They've only ever done this with one other cat, but Sal was just so special...
He had that effect on people.