Layne Staley’s cat Sadie
Note: This post is morbid. Feel free to skip if dead rock stars and their pets depress you.
April has been a tragic month some years. Especially 1994 (Kurt Cobain’s murder) and 2002 (Layne Staley’s drug death), both on the 5th. Both were vocal powerhouses in the 90s, each had a charismatic presence that left audiences spellbound, and both loved cats and other animals.
Layne’s cat Sadie outlived him by eight years. She was the last to see him alive and made it to age 18, herself. Layne and Sadie were truly devoted to one another. After he died, Sadie was lovingly cared for by his friend and band member Jerry Cantrell and his family. Jerry is also a cat lover and has his own. Sadie lived out the rest of her life with much love and attention, plus continued contact with Layne’s family.
It has been rumored that because Layne was not found until two weeks after his death, Sadie was eating him in order to survive. I’m sure only the coroner knows for sure, but pets have been known to do that. What else could they do, if their person passes away and they have to eat somehow. It really doesn’t bother me.
It’s a topic that comes up sometimes among pet parents. Even those who free-feed their pets (leave kibble out to graze on all the time rather than having specific meal times) have asked the question: will my cat or dog consume me after I die? if they are the only human in the house. No matter how much food is out, it will run out eventually.
My answer to that question isn’t really an answer: it doesn’t matter to me. How could it? After death, my shell will decompose though my soul will live on. It wouldn’t be shocking if a wild cat were to eat human flesh, given no other options and they’re carnivores. House cats are just smaller wild cats, who are highly skilled in manipulating humans (to our joy and delight). If our cats were to eat me after I no longer have a pulse, and that enables their survival until they can get more of their regular food, that doesn’t offend me in the slightest. My partner feels the same way. Other animal parents I’ve spoken to have said wholeheartedly that they welcome their pets to eat them if they have to. It’s the least we can offer, if we die and are unable to care for them any other way.
Forum discussions I’ve seen have suggested to those living without any other humans to have text buddies whose role is to check in once a week for signs of life. If you don’t hear from your text buddy, they might be dead and you check on them. That way, no one decomposes by the time they’re found and their pets can be found and fed. Does anyone have something like this set up? I’d love to hear about it. Much like insurance, it’s the kind of thing you never ever want to use but if you must, you’re so grateful you have it.
We don’t have this system in place because our household contains two humans. If we were just one person, we definitely would. Our living trusts also contain instructions for who will deal with our bodies and our cats when we pass away, but they are sorely out of date. Updates are in order, as our plans have certainly differed from what they were eight years ago when we had said trusts drawn up.
One area in which we’re extremely fortunate is that our cats have regular ongoing contact with their vet, vet staff, and our friends who love them. They would miss us but they would not have to transition to totally new people upon our passing, and that’s important to us. Those close to us know our kitties’ habits, who their doctor is, what they eat, even how many kisses they want on a daily basis!
It comforts me to know that Layne and Sadie are united in heaven, where all our furry children go. I know Kurt’s kitties are with him, too, along with his other critters.
If you enjoy rock music and haven’t heard Layne-era Alice in Chains, please do yourself a favor and listen! Those albums are packed with high-quality tunes. There was only one Kurt but also only one Layne. Layne didn’t get near the attention Kurt did after death; in fact, most people don’t seem to know his name. His harmonies are incredible and dare I say, he had the sexiest singing voice of his generation. His love for his cats was just as inspiring as his musical talent. Please find out more if you have the interest; he was an exceptional performer.
Totally new to Alice in Chains? To hear Layne at his best, check “Down in a Hole”, “Love Hate Love”, “Rotten Apple”, “Man in the Box,” and “Frogs”. There are many more, but start there. Each of the albums is excellent from tip to tail, so listen to them in entirety if you can.
Do any of your favorite music legends love cats? Please write to me about them! I’d love to hear. Thanks!