The Story of Hope: From Tragedy, a Cat Gets a New Life
Patrick Michaud had never seen anything quite as strange in his five years as a Seattle police officer.
A woman had just jumped to her death and everything in her Capitol Hill apartment was covered with a fine layer of white powder. Michaud was securing the scene, preserving evidence, when he heard a faint meow. Then another.
He followed the sound to a wicker basket. Inside it, a white canvas bag appeared to be moving. He untied the bag’s drawstring and a bloody white cat jumped out. Michaud could see deep cuts and exposed muscle, as the cat scrambled out of his grasp, clawing through his protective gloves.
Neighbors would later tell police they heard its owner, the woman in 606, in the midst of a psychotic episode, scream something about stabbing a cat before her suicide. The powder blanketing her apartment, it turns out, was ordinary flour. Michaud found the cat cowering in a kitchen cabinet. He scooped her up, stuffed her into a carrier, and headed for the ACCES emergency clinic in north Seattle.
Michaud explains how, at moments like this, police officers are able to quickly shift their attention: “Even though you just saw a dead body, you focus on what you can to do help somebody else.”
A cat-loving Iraq War veteran, Michaud flashed his siren to get through traffic lights. The cat was quiet. His two Siamese are never like that when he drives them to the vet, he thought. “It was dead silent,” he says now. “It wasn’t a good feeling.”
He pulled into the clinic and hurried inside. Staff began working on the cat before he left, treating at least five wounds inflicted by a large knife. They called Michaud the next day to tell him she would likely survive. The blade had just missed the cat’s spine, liver and kidney.
Michaud says a number of officers at the East Precinct offered to adopt the feisty little feline if no one else did.
Thanks to surgery funded by private donations to the Seattle Animal Shelter, the cat—now named Stitch—went home with Enforcement Officer Ann Graves, the next in a chain of humanity that seemed to care a little extra because of the tragedy involved.
After the sutures came out, foster mom Debbie Noland took over. “She made friends with my cat and slept with me on the bed every night,” Noland says of the cat that never lost her trust in people. She named her Hope.
Eventually Noland took her to an adoption event. A woman, Mary, and her grandson, Taylor, stopped by. Mary had recently lost her longtime feline companion. Hope was curled up in her bed, trying to hide. But when Mary and Taylor saw her big blue eyes they didn’t want to look at any other cats.
When they heard Hope’s story, Taylor recalls, they only wanted the petite cat more. They renamed her Nadia, which means “hope” in Russian. Taylor says she’s doing great, chasing her laser pointer, bringing joy every day to her new companions. “She can be fun and loving and moody and grumpy at times, which we love cause she’s just like us humans,” Taylor says.
As for Michaud, he was delighted to see photos of Nadia, with her fur all grown back. “She is always going to have [bad memories],” Michaud says. “But I think Stitch will be okay because she’s probably found a loving family who will treat her with the respect she’s earned.”