Saving Sable


Community networking helps two seniors by rehoming a sweet old cat

By Nicole L. Czarnomski


Quarry Hill Park Animal Hospital received a difficult phone call in April.

Mary Ann, a senior citizen, needed help finding a new home for her beloved 17-year-old cat, Sable. Although she cared deeply for Sable, her declining health required her to move to an assisted living community. Bringing Sable was not an option.

“My heart went out to her,” said Ruth Miller, who works at the vet clinic. “She was being proactive and really wanted to do the right thing for her cat.”

She said the woman had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and the cat would lie on her chest and help her fall asleep every night. Miller knew Mary Ann was making a difficult decision, so she wanted to help find the perfect home for Sable.

Just In Time

Miller contacted Sue Stanek, who maintains an extensive animal rescue email list. Sue sent out an email and created a Facebook post. “Kayla Helgeson responded almost immediately and seemed very excited to meet Sable.”

The funny thing is, Kayla didn’t want a cat. She and her husband had talked about it previously, and they were happy with their two boys and 12-year-old senior Boxer.

“When I saw the post, I felt like this was something I needed to do,” Kaya said. “I texted my husband, and he just said ‘ha ha.’” Kayla told him she was serious, but she wanted to meet the cat to ensure they could all live happily under one roof. He agreed.

Kayla called Mary Ann and had a 45-minute conversation with her. “She was so sweet; she’s one of those people you want as a grandma.” Mary Ann invited the Helgeson family to meet Sable.

“I have two young boys with a lot of energy,” Kayla said. “The cat was very tolerant, and my boys couldn’t get enough of the cat.”

Mary Ann knew immediately that the Helgeson family was the perfect fit. They agreed that the transition would take place when Mary Ann was ready.

Three days later, Mary Ann became very ill. She was hospitalized and then admitted to assisted living. Kayla and her family welcomed Sable into their home right away.

Like any cat in a new environment, Sable hid in the corner the first day and scouted around at night. Kayla said she could hear Sable prowling around, cat-scanning every twist and turn in the house. Within one day, Sable knew she was safe in her new home, so she came out to mingle with the family.

Kayla said Sable is a regal cat who is beautiful and healthy. Despite her age, this senior adapted quickly. Her temperament is just right. Kayla and her family believe they made the best decision for everyone.

“If there is such a thing a fate, this certainly proves it,” she said. “When something feels right, you have to follow your heart.”

Nicole L. Czarnomski is a local freelance writer and cat mom who also works in marketing at a senior living community.