Saturday, May 18, 2013

365 Inspirations—138: In Memory of Daisy, An Inspiring Cat

"We all want to love and be loved, and Daisy and I were a love match."—Sarah Lawrence

Do you have a cat? I don't, so I live vicariously through my friends' kitties. Right now we are house sitting for four wonderful cats. I always look forward to the opportunity. Spending time with these cats reminds me of a very special cat.

When I first went to visit my friend Sarah's apartment, she let me pet Daisy. Daisy was the softest kitty I've ever touched. Daisy was such a sweet cat, but I noticed right away that she couldn't walk very well. She would take a few steps and then fall down and had to be propped back up on occasion. My friend let me know that her cat had what's called Cerebellar Hypoplasia, a neurological disorder that develops while a kitten is in the womb of a mother who has been exposed to the Distemper Virus. Cats with CH are born with an underdeveloped cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls motor skills. CH cats have a lack of balance and coordination. However, the cats are not in pain and can live very functional, loving lives like all other cats.

Sarah first saw Daisy in May 2009 at the Average Joe Cat Show, a fundraiser for Purrfect Pals, in which people enter their family cats for a variety of categories. Various other cat organizations are often present too. Jessica, the foster mom of Daisy, brought her to the show to give Daisy a better chance of being adopted. 

Sarah stopped by Jessica's table and had an opportunity to see Daisy walk. Daisy took a couple of steps with wobbly legs and fell over on her side. After learning a bit about Daisy, Sarah thanked Jessica and walked on with misty eyes.

But since that very first meeting, Sarah couldn't stop thinking about Daisy. Through a bit of effort, she tracked Daisy down and eventually adopted her.

Hearing how Sarah came to adopt Daisy made me feel quite moved. Most of us want to adopt a cat in perfect health and without any problems. How many people could truly adopt and love a kitty that has special needs? 

Not many.

The way Sarah loved this cat, just like her fully-functioning cat Catalina, was just so touching. She spent so much time training and giving attention to these animals equally. It was very impressive and inspiring. 

I was so inspired by Sarah's love for her cats, particularly Daisy, that I planned to interview her for this blog. The day before I planned to come for the interview, Sarah had to put her precious Daisy to sleep due to liver failure. The cat had been suffering and it was time. Fortunately, Sarah had had four wonderful years with Daisy who was about 13 when she adopted her.

I was one of the people who attended a very special memorial service for Daisy on March 3, 2013, one month after her passing, and was surprised to see how many people had also been touched by Sarah's love for Daisy and Daisy herself. People sang songs, created and read haikus, created works of art and someone even sewed a lovely pillow.

 I never thought I could feel so much, but I did. I felt a lot of love. Guests also made $3-$5 contributions to the Daisy Memorial Fund to help with the care of Edward, another CH cat way across the country in New Jersey at Tabby’s Place, a shelter that helps a lot of special needs cats. Here's a picture of Edward:

What I was inspired by was the fact that true LOVE comes in ALL forms. Some have children, others have animals and some people have a loving mate, family members or friends. There is no ONE way to LOVE or create a loving home or environment. Maybe you live in a community or on a farm with many people or maybe you live alone, but get your love from your life or work. Maybe you tend to plants or your garden. Maybe you teach or write or paint. There really are many ways to show and share your love.

Here's a little of what Sarah had to say about Daisy and a video of Daisy:

"All day long and all night long, her trust, devotion, love, and companionship were a treasure.  We took comfort in the familiarity of our routine together but never took each other for granted.  Now I’m sad that my little sweetheart is gone.  There will never be another Daisy.  But I’m glad we could share our lives, connect so deeply and genuinely, and just love each other, which is what it’s all about."—Sarah Lawrence

Do you have a pet? Do you consider your pet part of the family? Could you ever adopt a special needs animal?


  1. Oh, Kathy, it's wonderful! You really conveyed the spirit of Daisy's and my "love affair." Thank you so much for doing this. It hurt so much to lose my precious Daisy, but it was worth that pain to have had the connection and love that we did. I hope your readers will consider adopting a CH cat or another kind of special needs cat.

    1. Hi Sarah, I was so happy to write this piece and touched by your love for Daisy. She will be remembered quite fondly by many!

  2. This post is so touching. I love Daisy already, and am sorry to hear that she had to go to ''sleep''.

    Love this, as I am currently living with my friend and her two cats, Midnight and Tiger. :)

    I love them so much, and miss them when I am at work. Would definitely love to have a cat or two when I finally settle, and would have no objection to a special needs animal either.

  3. I love animals (especially cats) and have had pets my whole life. Yes, they are a part of the family and so very special. I loved this post. I would absolutely adopt a special needs pet!

  4. Thanks for your comments, Susan and Mandy!! -- from Sarah, Daisy's mommy