Sam the Cat

Our handsome boy

Sixteen years ago a little black kitten saw our open screen door, ran up the steps and planted himself inside our house and our hearts. Every day since— almost every day of our marriage—Sam has made us laugh, shake our heads, sing funny songs, and helped us relieve the stress of our lives. Some people have yoga or meditation, we had our Sam.

Sam the Kitty when we got him, or more accurately, he got us.

I’ve always liked funny, quirky names for cats, but Sam was just Sam. Although, over the years, he did acquire a few nicknames: Sir Poop-a-Lot for his uncanny ability to produce more output than input; Little Buddy, because he was the Gilligan to my Skipper; Samster-the-Hamster; and Brat (he came by it honestly).

Cats became domesticated for their mouse hunting skills, they were useful companions to rid households of rodents, but Sam was afraid of a cockroach, much less a mouse, and his hunting skills were limited to his prowess at chasing, then batting, treats across the living room floor. He would have made a fine soccer player. He didn’t just want to catch it, he wanted to keep it going as far as he could, savoring the final victory to much applause from his fans.

Sam would jump in the tub and play tug of war with our robe tie. He never lost.

We have lived in three houses since we married and Sam has been with us in all of them. We took him to our beach house when we had that, and even though he hated car trips, he loved being on the porch with his lizard friends. He loved our mountain retreat, although the final climb became known as Kitty-Vomit-Hill. No matter, once inside he knew right where to go for his beloved food bowl and had his favorite spot to chill and watch the wildlife.

He had a brief run for president.

He was a part of who we are and we lost him today. He lived a great, healthy kitty life until a few weeks ago and despite an operation to save his life, it was just too much for him. We held him and he slipped away.

We are sad and grieving but will keep him, and our little funny, sweet stories about him, in our hearts forever. For those of you who have pets, I know you can feel our loss. For those of you who have never had a pet, I recommend it, even though the loss is almost more than we can bear.

So long Sam, if there is a heaven, there will be cats, because in my mind, what’s the point if there aren’t.

He was a big fan of a sunny spot.