San Jose's Cat Lady Dies
For nearly 16 years, rain or shine, Sadie Malone would pack up her battered carryall bag, grab her cane and head out for the theater, the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, that is, where she fed the likes of Slow Joe, Tiny Tim, Ali Baba, Fannie Mae, Sugar Plum, Bernie and Mickey in the ivy along the Guadalupe River behind the center.
She fought off threats of arrest and a temporary seizure of her meager bank account by the IRS to fulfill her mission of making sure her babies had at least one good meal a day.
"She had such an impact on so many people downtown," said Jennifer Smith of Mountain View who first met Malone in 1996. "She was so much more than a friend and caretaker of homeless cats. She was a friend and caretaker of homeless men as well."
Malone, 76, was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in November and placed under hospice care. She died the day after Christmas at Regional Medical Center in San Jose. Smith and another friend of Malone's, who asked to remain anonymous because she has assumed the feeding duties for the Cat Lady's outdoor cats, had taken shifts being by Malone's side.
Along with life and death and family and friends, "we talked about the cats and where they'd go," Smith said. "She couldn't get around anymore but she was still Sadie."
Smith and the woman who has taken over Malone's cat-feeding duties hope to raise enough money to place Malone's beloved indoor cats Mario, Miko and Trevor in the Cat House on the Kings, California's largest no-cage, no-kill lifetime cat sanctuary in Fresno County.
Boston, a cat Malone adopted from outside her building, had to have an eye removed and will remain with Smith.
Because the three cats will be allowed to live out their lives at the Cat House on the Kings, Smith and Malone's supporters need[ed] to raise $1,000 for each cat. Donations should be made out to Cat House on the Kings and mailed to [...]. The checks [were] delivered to the sanctuary when the cats [were] delivered there.
"Mario, Miko and Trevor were never socialized to other humans besides Sadie," Smith said. "You'd never see them when you'd go to her apartment. I promised Sadie I'd take Boston home and that made her very happy."