Sasha: November 9, 2000 – June 3, 2014
by Bill Lang
I never expected to be writing about the loss of another companion so soon after the loss of our other cat, Tyrian, but it has happened. We euthanized Sasha on June 3rd. After several days of nagging doubts and several more days of active concern, we discovered that Sasha’s kidneys had failed. Clearly suffering, he would yell at us gently as if to say, “Please do something.” We did the only thing we could do. Death was rapidly approaching regardless. All we could do is take some of the pain away sooner.
One of the joys of having a pet is that you can give them that rare gift that any feeling being can hope to get: a life of some comfort and safety. Imagine, the life of a feral cat by contrast. I start here because one of the most striking things about Sasha was that he just seemed to assume that he should be treated well. This is not to say that he did things we did not want him to do or acted spoiled in any way. He was well behaved. If he needed to be corrected, however, he would do the right thing but then holler about being required to do it. He always let you know that compliance came with a protest. In a similar attitude, he did not seem to ask for things so much as just did them. So unlike Tyrian, who would be very careful to make sure he was welcome in your lap, Sasha would just turn up there—and kick Tyrian out of the way if he needed to.
The closest thing to begging was when he raised up and put front paws on you, This meant that he wanted to be picked up, held and petted—until he wanted down. It was not really begging. It was a demand. Only fair I guess. If you treat them like they should get comfort and safety, some like Sasha will act like they deserve it.
Every bit as affectionate as Tyrian and every bit as important to us, he nevertheless lived in a different way than Tyrian. Strange that Sasha was dominant but he took his lead from Tyrian on such important matters as strangers, strangeness and anything that might be dangerous. Although they never seemed to really get along, Sasha paid a lot of attention to Tyrian. Tyrain was his guide on many maters. Sasha was smart enough to know that Tyrian was smarter about many things—and that kind of wisdom is a pretty smart thing to be able to do.
For quite a while after Tyrian was gone, Sasha would announce that he was looking for him with soft calls in the night. I don’t know if the loss hastened Sasha’s death but I would not doubt it, even though, after a while, he seemed to have move on.
It was with the passing of Tyrian that Sasha came to take a new stance in the world. He became even more affectionate and more appreciative somehow. Maybe all that bravado was partly an outgrowth of a feeling that he played second fiddle to another in some ways. With Tyrian’s death, he got double the attention and maybe a sense of security that he did not have before. Or maybe he just came to have more peace in the world as part of his struggle with the loss of his companion.
For us, the loss of Sasha is more than just one big loss right on top of another. We lost a new beginning with him. I am glad we had it but it ended way too soon. I assume one day, we will recall the similarities more than the differences. Both cats were marvelously dispositioned. Both were sensitive, affectionate, loyal and well behaved. Very illustrative is that both died in a way that made the respective veterinarians feel as good as they could about what they had to do. That was with strangers. Russian Blues do not like strangers. Imagine what they were like with us. They gave us so much. All we did is pass along a little comfort and safety. We will try to do it again. Even now, the sense of reward is greater than the sense of pain and loss.
Sasha as a kitten.
Sasha with his buddy, Tyrian (Sasha on left)
Our little sweetheart
So sorry to hear about Sasha, folks who have never had companion animals have no idea how completely they work themselves into our lives.