23 April 2007

Sammy, 1994-2007

Sammy, my beloved tuxedo cat, died on 21 Apr in my arms. As my last post indicated, we were winning the battle against his skin cancer. Unfortunately, his kidneys could not take the strain and they gave out. Thankfully, the end came quickly (about 24 hours from okay to dead) and he was not in pain at any point.

I adopted Sammy from an animal rescue. He had been turned in to them at about age 8 and had been there for 2 years, so he was about 10 when I took him home. I had him for 2 1/2 years and in that time he blossomed into a marvelous cat. When he came home with me, he weighed 20+ pounds, his coat was a dull grey with dandruff, and he didn't like being held. Worst of all, his weight kept him from being a cat. He couldn't walk more than 20 feet without a rest. He couldn't sleep on his side because he couldn't breath. And he couldn't stretch because his back was so sore. Well, after a month of convincing him that raw meat was actually edible, he lost weight, his coat became glossy, and he could do all kinds of cat things!

Then after a few more months, he started to truly trust me and became a love sponge. He learned that hugs were fun, a warm lap was better than even the sofa, and being groomed was pretty darn good! To say he returned my love for him is an understatement -- he returned a whole lot more!

I have a lot of good memories of him, which I will cherish. My top 5 are:

  1. He wagged his tail like a dog. Rarely would he lift his tail above his back, but instead he held his tail low and when he was happy or expecting a treat, he would wagged it slowly back and forth just like a dog. I've never seen another cat do this on such a consistent basis.
  2. He used to "help" me cut up the meat for his food. Whenever I would be standing at the kitchen counter, cutting up meat, he would come and sit next to my feet. Then he started reaching up to the edge of the counter. Then he found if he bumped my hand with his paw, I might drop a piece, accidentally of course. It was a fun game we would play.
  3. He was a great snuggler. If I would take a break from painting and go lay down on the sofa for a nap, he would appear and lay on top of me. If I let him into the bedroom at night, he would lay right next to me, under the covers. And anytime he heard me get out a DVD, he was ready to snuggle some more. All this from a cat who originally wouldn't let me hold him or pet him more than once.
  4. He loved scratching his back on the floor. Once he lost the extra weight, he discovered that he could roll over onto his back and squiggle across the floor, thus scratching his back. It was also a good laugh to see this large (he was 13lbs), distinguished (tuxedo cats look so formal) cat acting so silly!
  5. He used to like me to chase him around and then would hide in the shower. Again, once he lost weight, he became very playful. Sometimes he would follow me to the garage door and wait for me to come back in. When I did, I would reach down to pet him and he would take off running. I, of course, would follow him. His favorite 'hiding' place was the shower. (Black cat in a white tile shower stall -- not the best of hiding places!) What was truly funny was when he would do this right after I had taken a shower. Then he would rocket out of the bathroom, almost knocking me over sometimes, and get to living room to clean himself off! (Sammy wasn't a big water fan!)

I could go on and on about this special cat. He never complained (unless his dinner was late), always was there to give me a hug, and stole my heart. He was truly a wonderful friend who taught me, among many things, that older kitties have a whole lot of love to give.

Sammy, my dear friend, you will be missed beyond words.

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