My dad was diagnosed with cancer in July of 2002. There was no cure and he had six to twelve months. A month later, I heard a mouse in my kitchen. The kitchen of my apartment. The apartment owned by a landlord who didn’t allow pets. At that point though, I didn’t care. I was dealing with a devastating situation. I wasn’t dealing with a mouse too.
When he first came to live in our hearts and home, he was a tiny, adorable kitten. And when I say tiny, I mean it. My kids were at school when I got him and Sam made himself comfortable on the back of the sofa. He was sleeping when they got home. My daughter thought he was a mouse.
He wasn’t quite that small, but he could curl up in a four inch diameter basket for his naps. He was also a very different cat who took a shine to the ‘puppies’ of one of my daughters’ stuffed animals. He was forever carrying one around in his mouth like it was a normal thing to do … even though it was almost as big as he was.
What can I say about Sam? He didn’t like to be held, but wanted us to pet him all the time. With our hands, with our feet, while he was eating, while he was stretching, it didn’t matter. And speaking of feet… One of his favorite games ‘way back when’ was to wait until I was asleep – and then attack mine if I moved them so much as a fraction of an inch.
I don’t know how long it had been going on, but it seems whenever I bought Doritos and Slim Jims for snacks for the kids, my daughter would sometimes sneak a bite or two of each to Sam. Turns out Sam liked people food much better than his cat food. So much so that he was my BFF whenever I was in the kitchen.
It didn’t take long before I knew better than to step away from the sink, counter, or stove without first looking behind me – because he would flop down at my feet … and stay there. Guess he always hoped I’d drop him a few snacks. Sometimes, I admit that I did, but not very often because I knew it wasn’t good for him.
There are a million things I could say about him but right now, the memories make me cry. You see, at thirteen years old, his health had begun to decline and he died this afternoon. Just fell asleep in my bedroom and didn’t wake up again.
Sam came into my life during a very difficult time. He was a ray of sunshine who could make me smile when my heart was breaking over my dad. He’s made me happy, he’s made me crazy, he’s made me mad. But I wouldn’t have missed having him in my family for anything.
Goodbye, Sam. I hope you’re having a ball with Shadow and Jasper…