I never had pets growing up as a child, just various aquarium fish and caged parakeets. When I was really young, there was a stray cat that would come over to our house and hang out sometimes and even watch a little TV with us. Otherwise, cats and dogs just weren’t in our experience.
Around 2005, after we had been talking about getting a dog, I also must’ve mentioned that it would be nice to have cats. That fall, Julie surprised me with what turned out to be one of the most significant gifts of my life. We were getting two Ragdoll kittens, one that I would pick and one that Julie would pick! I named them both, based on what I saw in the photos the breeder provided.
I’ve always loved the snow and thought Snowball would be a fun name for a fun cat that I would like to have. Julie’s pick looked like an extravagant puff-ball and reminded me of a big furry Russian hat, so she would be Sasha.
The two kittens turned our house into a fast and furry wrestle-fest part of the day and then amazingly cute napping den the rest of the day.
The two were apparently half-sisters and born on the same day. They played well together, had mutual affection, and would groom each other. Through the years, that never changed, and they always enjoyed playing with each other and spending time together.
Snowball got very sick in the Fall of 2012 and we learned that she had kidney disease. Sadly, this is a very common thing for cats. Although the episode was scary and we cancelled a climbing trip to Chamonix, France at the last minute, we learned that cats are very tough and can still have years of high quality living despite the disease. So, we learned how to care for her with special supplements and kidney diets and she did well for a few years.
The past couple of years, however, things progressed in her kidney disease. She had a specific kidney injury episode in the late winter of 2017. She was hospitalized for a few days and came home stabilized, but was never the same again. The ‘new normal’ of her kidney-related signs were in a bad place and things progressively got worse.
Today, Sunday April 23, 2017, it became time to let her go and end her fight. Due to her “I’m up for anything!” playful personality, how you could always talk to her and she would respond in a variety of appropriate vocalizations and cute little “barks” and gentle yelps, and not least of her unbelievably sweet I-care-for-you disposition, we fell hopelessly in love with her.
We’re blessed to have Sasha continuing to be in our lives and for that we are happy.
The great sadness and huge loss we feel right now is balanced with being grateful for 11 years and 6 months of laughs, love, affection, and memories of one incredibly sweet girl.