Sara, for fourteen years a beloved friend and the inspiration for our label name, left this world on Tuesday, December 23rd, after six weeks of declining health. She was fifteen or sixteen years old. Our heartfelt thanks go to Dr. Lanny Hamilton, who helped us make Sara’s last weeks as comfortable as possible. (Click more to continue reading.)
Pregnant and starving when she walked out of the woods by my house near Holland, Michigan, in 1994, Sara was a walking calamity. Despite a week of food and vitamins prescribed by a vet, she nearly died after birthing her litter, but pulled through after a shot from the same doctor. He tried to save her kittens as well, but eight hours after the first one was born, they had all died, their organs under-developed from malnourishment. Sara was then diagnosed and treated for several infections, two types of worms, and feline asthma, though I was told there wasn’t much we could do about the asthma. The vet didn’t suggest moving west, but when we moved to New Mexico in 2000, we noticed that the loud wheeze in her breathing eventually disappeared. We moved to Wyoming, with a similar climate, in 2002, where Sara remained an asthmatic kitty mostly in name only.
During an exam in the late ‘90s, a vet referred to "asthma kitties," and for some reason I remembered it when my step-son Sufjan and I discussed naming the record label we planned to start. I said "asthmatic kitty," but a minute later vetoed the idea because I didn’t want a disease in the name. However, after we’d suggested and rejected dozens of other names, Sufjan brought up Asthmatic Kitty again, I relented, and that’s what we named it. Over the years, people who’ve enjoyed the music we’ve released have told us about their own asthmatic kitties, and Sara, whose photo appears on our website and several albums, became an indie-pop diva of sorts. As a kitty, though, Sara was anything but a diva in character; never aloof and always loving, she was the sweetest pet one could ask for. Her only bad habit was tipping over the kitchen trash can if she smelled meat in it.
We can’t know if it’s true that when we die, all the pets we’ve had in our life will come running to see us, but I’d like it to be, because I’d dearly love to see Sara again.