Sauerkraut: The Thug Life - Loving It and Leaving It
She is known by many as the sour-faced and tender-hearted cat of internet fame. But that’s not how this feisty feline got her start.
Oh, no indeed. Her beginnings are far more rooted in a darker life. For many young people in America today, the thought of growing up in the rough and tumble world of inner city gangs and street fights might strike fear into their hearts. But for Sauerkraut, she accepted that way of life. Not only did she accept it, but from many accounts, she embraced it, even sought it out.
As we’ve heard in Parts 1 and 2 of this exposé, Sauerkraut grew up in a home of comfortable yet modest means. While they never lived a lavish lifestyle, they had all the things a young kitten would need. Food in the bowl, fresh litter in the cat box, and plenty of time on the catio. She was the last cat to be adopted by her Pops and Humom, about two years after her more infamous siblings - Brock, Molly, and Cal - had been made a permanent part of their family.
Sauerkraut came to her foster family at just a few weeks old. The story of her early months is familiar to many: health problems including failure to thrive meant she needed special attention. She was later diagnosed with a heart murmur, and at that time, her foster parents decided to adopt the wee lass. Her older siblings took her in immediately, and the bond especially between Brock and Sauerkraut became a strong one.
Surely, her early influences were somewhat colored by Brock’s misadventures. And Sauerkraut began to act out. Her parents found wounds on the young kitten, and thinking at first they were from her siblings, they isolated her for her protection. But the injuries continued, and they discovered the source of her scars were from Sauerkraut herself.
The gentle teasing from her friends didn’t seem to bother young Sauerkraut. But what was happening inside… it was feeding her darker thoughts, hardening her heart.
She saw how successful a cat could be following a life of wrongdoing - and lets face it, it’s not just her older brother that showed her this, but it’s all over the television today.
Before long, she was not just running with the wrong clowder, but this young cat, she was leading the gang.
If there was trouble to be found, well Sauerkraut had a nose for finding things like that. She fed on the excitement of running in the streets, getting wrapped up in clashes with the police, living life on the razor’s edge.
Her first stint in jail was after a small run-in with the local law. She was out after curfew, and was discovered by a local policeman in the parking lot of a nearby apartment complex. “She was vandalizing the residents’ cars,” the officer told this reporter, “with some stolen produce. And I’m too wise a law man to fall for the banana in the tailpipe.”
“She went on like that for months,” her Humom related in one of Sauerkraut’s trials. “But she is a good cat. She only LOOKS sour!”
Sauerkraut found herself locked in the state penitentiary for a period of time. And it was here that she began to turn her life around. In an interview for Scared Straight: Kittens Behind Walls, she told a Discovery ID producer, “My sister Molly visited me here one day. It had been weeks since I’d seen anyone from my family. And she told me I had a kernel inside me of goodness, a core of decency. And that kernel was called ‘hope.’
“And I realized it was true.” She paused to wipe at her misty, crystal-blue eyes. “I had so much to look forward to… so much I could teach kittens about how to avoid the kind of life I’d led.”
For this young cat, she still has so much to offer. She has so many tales to tell. And you’ll have to forgive her if some of that hard life comes out from time to time, for in her words, “Well, the Thug Life.. I did love it. But I was glad to leave it, and I’ll never go back.”
It’s been a lot of fun to write this “exposé” and in case anyone wasn’t already aware, it was written as satire, and any reference to people both living or dead was solely for comedic effect. However, there was a bit of me that was taking this seriously: there are a lot of cats out there that do lead hard lives. Too many animals - both cats and dogs - are living in the streets. And there’s a lot we can do to help. While the intentions of “armchair advocates” are good, that isn’t nearly enough.
Please consider volunteering at your local animal welfare organization or shelter. We can all have some part to play in this effort, whether it’s in Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs, donating money or time to support shelters and animal welfare groups, fostering, adopting, or even cleaning animal cages or walking some dogs.. there’s something each and every one of us can do. Consider even sharing this blog so others can hear this message. Thank you for your efforts!!
Sauerkraut, cleaning her "weapons of choice"...