Pet Enticed into the Arms of a Neighbor?

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The Ypsilanti House with animal sheds to the right. Garage was built by the next owners.

In the fall of 1995, Floyd and I (before children) purchased a home on 5 acres in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The house needed cosmetic work: vinyl siding and repairs to the upper porch. Early one morning, a construction worker found two abandoned kittens on the road and brought them to me. I immediately took them in and gave them food and water. They were the cutest, all gray, long hair, balls of fur. I named them Sage (male) and Cinnamon (female).

My family had owned dogs, I had owned cats as a young adult, but Floyd came from a No Animals At All family. 

Not having had a kitten for a long time, I mistakenly made them a bed on the back porch and in the morning they were gone. I was upset and disappointed. The contractor guy had pity on me and went to look for them. He found Sage. 

006We kept Sage in the house and we became VERY attached to him. He would lay in my lap, sleep on pillows I placed on the second floor landing and would try to sit in the empty chairs at the table when we eat with only his head overlooking the table. We were constantly “shooing him away” while we were eating. 

Now, we had a definite line between what cats could do and what people could do in our home. No cats in thefile000760719257 bed, on tables, on furniture, on counter tops, or eating out of my dishes! 

Some of my friends fed their cats out of the same dishes people ate out of, let the cats sleep with them, and had clothes full of cat hair ALL THE TIME. 

Even Floyd was liking Sage. Floyd would rub him, and let Sage lay in his lap.  Sage was the only cat I knew that would come when you called his name, even when you didn’t have food for him! 

About six months after Sage came to live with us, I had an out-of-town business trip. I called home one evening just as Floyd was setting his plate of ¼ slab of bar-b-que ribs, french fries and cole slaw on the table to eat. The last ribs in the house.

Sage had jumped in the chair across the table from him and was sitting mannerly with only his head overlooking the table. Now Floyd’s fatal mistake was to get up to get a soda out of the refrigerator. As soon as Floyd stood up, Sage was on alert. When Floyd turned his back, Sage jumped on the table, grabbed the ribs and skedaddled under the table. Floyd heard the commotion and quickly turned to see his ribs, tightly clenched in Sage’s teeth, as they disappeared under the table. Floyd yelled, stomped his feet and would have cried like a baby if he wasn’t so mad.

His last ribs! Bested by a cat, the cat HE fed, the cat who was supposed to keep HIM company while I was gone, the cat HE loved and let have a place in HIS heart!

“That cat ate my ribs!” 

file000476479523With sadness in his eyes and sorrow in his heart, Floyd ate a bowl of cereal. 

In the fall of 1996, Sage, Floyd and I moved to an apartment in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We lived on the first floor. Our patio looked out on the pool and a wooded area. Sage would go out in the small yard and always return to the apartment. 

I began to feel like he was feeling hemmed up in such a small environment. I was really displacing my own feelings. I felt like I had cabin fever in that apartment. We had sold the house in Ypsilanti because developers bought the 80 acres across the road from us to build 100+ houses. Well, our house sold within two weeks and we were doing good to find an apartment in such a short amount of time.

My remedy for Sage was to take him on an outing to the park. Floyd said I was taking a chance that Sage would wander off. I assured Floyd that our Sage would never do that!  Didn’t he always come in at night at the apartment? 

So, Floyd and I put Sage in the Jeep Cherokee and went nearly a mile to Black Pond Wood Park.file000224108841 Sage loved it! 

Well, Sage loved it so much, he walked off and did not return. I felt foolish!!

Floyd was sad and disgusted that I didn’t listen to him. Periodically during the next week, I went back to the park to yell for Sage. I put up flyers, but no Sage. 

The first week, I was hopeful I would find him in the park. Weeks two and three, I still had some hope that the flyers would help him to be returned. The fifth week, I was just hoping that he was being taken care of by a good family. 

The sixth week, SAGE TURNED UP ON OUR PATIO!! 

He had gained weight, looked fluffed out and groomed. He was back!!

He must have been living with a caring family who was now wondering where their beloved cat had gone. 

My son, Joel, and my niece, Annette.

My son, Joel, and my niece, Annette.

In the fall of 1997, the three of us moved to Dundee, Michigan. This was an eleven acre farm. We rented out 7 acres to a farmer that rotated planting of soy beans and corn. I loved the wide open space. Sage did too. 

However, after a month there, we started to miss seeing Sage. He would be missing for a few days then a week at a time. I thought he had tried to go back to Ann Arbor to whomever had cared for him after the park fiasco. 

My home office was on the second floor and had windows that faced our neighbor, Keri’s house across the field. I happened to be working around 6 AM one morning when she opened her back door and out poured a ton of cats and small dogs. AND THERE WAS SAGE!! 

I couldn’t believe it. Here I was wondering and anxious about my lost cat and she had him! When I went over to get Sage, she said she didn’t know it was my cat, but he was her favorite and he was the one that slept in the water bed with her. I was dumb-founded. She asked to share the cat. I said, 

“Sage is my cat. Please do not let him in your house again.” 001-002

I could tell my pleads were falling on deaf ears.  She was using the animals as an emotional crutch.  She told me all of her problems with her husband as I tried to get out of the house that was swarming with animals.  She fed the dogs on the floor and the cats had food dishes on the counters and the top of the refrigerator.  

I returned home and simmered until Floyd arrived home from work. When I told him the scenario, he looked at me with soft eyes and said, 

“Sharon, I’m so sorry you have lost your cat. We just can’t compete with a water bed.”

file3861284557315True. I knew we couldn’t compete. However, I wasn’t willing to just give up. Sage showed up several days later with a hair cut. I stormed over to her house. She explained she had taken him to the Vet and a groomer. I told her not to take MY cat to the Vet. She again asked to share Sage. I refused.

Then, the last nail in the coffin. 

One evening, Floyd and I came home after dark and Sage was sitting by the side door on the cement walkway. I greeted him with joy. He was professionally groomed and looking very proud of himself. He let me rub his head. However, he had a haughty attitude that said, 

“I just came over to show you how I am being treated. Doesn’t my coat look marvelous, and Please Do Not Mess Me Up.”

I thought,

“Now isn’t he pompous after all I’ve done for him when he was a kitten and out on the road with no home!” 

But my love for him softened my heart and I open the door wide for him to come in.


At that point, I knew all was lost.

I fumed for weeks, there was anguish in my heart, not so much for losing Sage, but that she had lured him away and there was nothing I could do to get him back. 

002-001Floyd during this time had just cut his emotional losses and moved on. 

The anger nearly consumed me. I said to myself that forgave Keri, but I still had anger. I finally listened to the Holy Spirit talking to me. I had to do more than say I forgave her, I had to give her Sage. 

I called her and gave her Sage as a gift. I immediately felt a great sense of relief.

Romans 8:35-39 starts off saying “Who shall separate us from the love of the Messiah? Shall pressure, or distress, or persecution, or…”. The verses end with “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor…any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) our Master.” 

I learned that those verses aren’t just talking about being attacked by physical and spiritual enemies, but refer to the things we hold dear (Sage) that stand in the way of releasing anger/pain, forgiving, or obeying His commands.

I learned a great lesson in forgiveness when the other person is at fault and they do nothing to repair the breach. Forgiveness is between me and Yehovah (God), not me and the other person. It is a command to forgive and it is not based on the condition that the other person does something to help you forgive them.

What would you have done?


Posted on by Shar in Animals, Family Life, Forgiveness, Mistakes 8 Comments

About the author


Shar lives with her husband, Floyd, and two teen children in South Carolina. Shar loves to grow and preserve vegetables, herbs and fruits. Shar is a Torah keeper and believes in Yeshua (Jesus'Hebrew name). She has a B.A. in Psychology and a M.A. in Educational Research/Evaluation. Shar's work experiences include administration, report writing, teaching, and public speaking.

8 Responses to Pet Enticed into the Arms of a Neighbor?

  1. Vivian Eagen

    I would’ve asked my hubby if we could find another cat to replace Sage. I’m a cat person, too. We used to have three cats, Mama Kitty and two of her sons, Ryan and Fuzzy. The highest place I’d ever seen them was on the roof of a home we rented. It was going to be bitterly cold that night and coming home from somewhere, I saw them lined up over our front door – perched like Snoopy on his doghouse. They wouldn’t come down when called, so I climbed up the metalwork supports & lifted them down one by one to dear hubby. The day before Hurricane Hugo, I saw them lying in a perfect circle in our current front yard; it looked like they were having a meeting about where to hide during the storm as they stayed out at
    night. They survived. I still miss them & occasionally dream of them.

    • Shar

      Great story!! We are looking for a couple of cats. If you know someone with some kittens, let me know. 🙂

  2. Carol

    That waterbed won’t last that long. I used to have a waterbed and a kitty (Annabelle) and she would put tiny holes in it. I got the repair kit and plugged up the little holes but eventually it would leak again. Then one morning I woke up swimming!!!! I had to ditch the bed – never again. haha

    As far as “what I would have done”…. I think we are different in this area. I’ve been a “cat person” all my life and have always had them. If it were me, I would have shared her with the neighbor because then the kitty would get more luvins’. I also understand why you wouldn’t want your neighbor teaching your cat bad habits but again we are different in this area. I know that cats like to be high up because they are natural predators. So they like to climb things and will take every opportunity to do so. 🙂 The downside is I’m covered in furr constantly like you said. 🙂

    I wanted to mention….if Sage looked like that gray cat in the picture, or if that is actually her, I think she might be a Nebelung cat. They are often mistaken for domestic long hairs when they’re young but when they grow up, they get the Queen Ann ruffle around their necks and the furr tips on their tails are finer and seem to disappear like the edges of a cloud. They are a relatively new breed which started I believe in 1986. They are not considered to be show cats but I read that they are on their way and are recognized as show cats in some circles. We have a Nebelung kitty named Laney. Technically her name is Mel Torme because she looks like a “velvet fog” but since she is female, she is “Melanie” and now “Laney” for short.

    If you ever run into another Nebelung, hold on to them because they are special. 🙂

    • Shar

      Well, I certainly learned a lot about you and cats! 🙂 Funny story about the water bed.

      Maybe I should have shared. After all she was paying the Vet bills! 🙂 I guess my dominate personality was such that I wanted full control over what was “MINE”. If I faced that same situation today, I think I would have given the cat to her earlier in the scenario. She was such an emotional wreck that I wouldn’t want any ties between us.

      For short periods of time, I have had in-door cats. Some cats do prefer being on top of furniture; I tend to graviate towards the low-rider cats.

      That is Sage’s picture. Prehaps he was a Nebelung.

  3. Linda

    Enjoyable story. You should have tried harder to keep your Cat. You also could have found a groomer with fashionable cat cutting capabilities. Also trying some gourmet cat foods may have been helpful. And, why not get your own water bed!

    • Shar

      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 This is even funnier because you know the “simple” farm girl, that I am, I would never have thought of doing those things. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Gilda Jowers

    Hehe, this is it, you are not a Walton. This is the last straw you need a intervention, poor Floyd, never got over the loss of that rib, I’m surprised you let him eat ribs?
    Life truly is an adventure, don’t always take the high road, sometimes we need a little action, now give me a real story.

    • Shar

      Well, about my lineage, my Mom has gotten mad at me and yelled, “I don’t understond you! You haven’t got a drop of my blood in you!” 🙂 🙂 🙂

      The ribs were before we got the revelation that pigs aren’t food.

      I’m not sure what a “real story” is to you. Give me some clues. 🙂


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