Layne Staley’s cat Sadie

By on 4-05-2014 in Uncategorized

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!






  1. Nice post! I don't see how it's that morbid, though. All animals, including humans, are bound by our natural instincts to survive. I knew Jerry took Sadie in after Layne's death but was wondering if she was still alive since I had no idea how old she was. I feed a stray that looks just like her, and I mean exactly like her. It feels so surreal. That picture gave me chills due to the striking resemblance. Layne's music has helped me through some rough times. His pain shone through in his vocals on the same level as Skip James on his original recording of 'Devil Got My Woman' or that of Billie Holiday's recordings of 'Gloomy Sunday' and 'Strange Fruit.' That's a rare feat. Listening to Layne sing is a cathartic experience for me.

    • Thanks! I'm glad it wasn't that morbid. True, survival instinct is very powerful.

      That's wonderful that you feed a stray that looks just like Sadie! Must be beautiful! I read an anecdote about the late Sadie kitty and don't know how accurate it is: Sadie was at a party hosted by Layne's parents (this was after Layne passed) when a guest got into a physical fight with her. Sadie's claws were ready, and they took swings at each other. The guest took it upon herself to pick Sadie up and toss her outside! Layne's dad confronted her, brought Sadie inside, and explained that this is a very special cat. Layne's cat. He promptly made the guest leave. She was allegedly confused and shocked that anyone could put a cat ahead of a human, but too bad. She wasn't welcome after that.

      Layne's voice has gotten me through adulthood; I started listening in college and never stopped! One of the all time great voices. I love Devil Got My Woman; I'll have to check out those Holiday recordings! Layne's voice is the perfect accompaniment for so many things I like to do: painting, gardening, drawing, writing, everything. Thanks for writing!

    • Thanks for reading my blog! Great to hear from other Layne lovers. Don't remember if I replied to this already but oh well, here goes. Have a great day!

  2. he shouldnt have died he was an awesome rockstar

  3. im talking a bout layne staly and his cat is very cute

  4. I read the interview with Layne's mom. She said when the police and she went to Layne's place she could hear the cat crying and scratching the door. She knew something was terribly wrong because the cat never did that before. He may have had an automatic feeder for it too. Addicts don't like to be woken up to feed pets. Trust me. I always wondered what condition the kitty was in. She must have been lonely and scared. Heroin is truly the devil and after a while he needed it just to survive before it killed him. You can also hear Layne in a band called Mad Seasson. He was special, a vocal powerhouse and now a Legend who is missed everyday. I love you Layne, thank you for making my life more bearable. I wish things could have ended differently, and I hope you finally got the peace you were looking for. I hope I meet you up their someday. Say hi to Chris, Chester, Scott, Kurt, Andy and Shannon. Heaven must be rocking. ? R.I.P

    • Thank you so much for writing. Yes, Layne's voice is incredible. My favorite Mad Season tunes are "Wake Up" and "River of Deceit" but I love them all; thanks for mentioning that! Yes, he is in great company up in Heaven. I'm so glad Layne and his cats had each other. You sound like a wonderful person to get to know; please keep in touch! Hugs!

  5. I wondered what Layne's cat looked like,I Hurd alot about it but never actually seen a pic.thanks


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