Last week we had to say goodbye to our furry friend, our Devil Boy, our baby, our constant companion, and the cat our family will always remember...Sam.
I'm still too sad to write much about him. We all shed many tears, but we know he deserved the best. And the best, was to say goodbye. We miss him so much.
Each year in our Christmas letter, we always updated all our friends and family on Sam's status. And why not? He belonged to us and we belonged to him.
One day I'll write more about Sam. But for today, from those letters, here's a look into his life and his place in this family:
1995: We can't wait for Christmas....Santa is bringing us a computer and a cat. (written one week before we got Sam)
1996: Last Christmas we added to our family by adopting an adorable kitten we named Sam. He is definitely the king around here and he knows it! We keep him inside to stop history from repeating itself. Sam thinks he's a dog and does a few tricks that make him appear clever.
1997: Our cat Sam is doing well, though he may be in for a little stomach distress since he insists on chewing on the Christmas tree branches and lights. He provides us with entertainment most of the day, but sometimes slips into another personality we call "Devil Boy". You wouldn't want to be around then, trust me.
1998: Our cat Sam, aka Devil Boy, has been lively and particularly wicked this year. When he is not chewing on our Christmas decorations, he is on the windowsill watching the squirrels and blackbirds that fill our backyard, always plotting some way to escape from the house and attack. But they're only kitty-cat dreams. His favorite bite victim in-house is Don, though he is the one who feeds Sam tidbits from the table; go figure.
1999: Sam the cat has had a tough year. We had to have him declawed due to the excessive damage he did to our old woodwork, and now with the new stuff - well, he had a choice - say adios or go under the knife. He chose the latter. At least we think he agreed. But sometimes I'm sure he's looking for his own attorney to take the case against us.
2000: Sam tries to climb the Christmas tree every day or so. Our not so secret weapon to get him down is to rustle a plastic bag at him. He jumps down and runs like the devil himself is chasing him. I keep telling him to behave or we'll ship him out to Florida to keep Jesse Jackson company. So far he isn't intimidated. (written during the recount for the 2000 Presidential election)
2001: Sam has had a rough year. He had a near-death experience this past summer, but I guess you could say he's over it. Right now his obsession is to defend his turf (he's waging war through the french doors) from a neighbor cat who likes to visit our patio.
2002: Sam has been cantankerous, as usual. Each night as I am reading, he leaps into our bed and meows frantically until I scratch his back with the wooden back-scratcher I keep on the nightstand. Then he finally plops down and purrs loudly as if to say, "OK, that'll be all for now." It is too funny for words!
2003: As for Sam, he had been behaving himself for most of the year, but now that the Christmas tree is up, "Devil Boy" is back in the saddle again. I have trained him to sleep on Don's side of the bed. He makes a nifty foot-warmer, but if you get up for any reason, he bites you when you come back to bed. Don mostly stays put.
2004: Sam is in the middle of his winter hibernation, which means he spends 90% of his day curled up in my oak letter-box, basking under the warmth of the desk lamp, his own version of kitty-sunbathing. He staked out his turf years ago and we don't mess with him.
2005: Because Sam was the only one of us who actually witnessed Hurricane Rita from inside our house, we have crowned him 'Sole Survivor' and accord him the reverence he is due. He doesn't travel well (at all!) so we left him home while we (in our folly) assumed the hurricane would do as others had done and hit somewhere else. We had many anxious and tearful moments thinking about that cat here at home. We rushed back to check on him the day after the storm and were overjoyed to find him waiting for us, safe and sound!! Now he knows he's got us right where he wants us. Which is really no different than before...
2006: Sam doesn't go anywhere much, not willingly anyway. He sleeps a lot, but when we have company he howls like a wolf and runs, jumps and prances around, just to remind us all that Devil Boy lives. We never doubted, we believe!!
2007: Sam doesn't know it but he's getting zip for Christmas unless he shocks us all and decides to welcome Thunder (Jen's cat) with open paws when he arrives from Utah. Of course the chances of that are slim to none. So we're going to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. We know Sam will be thinking (in the spirit of Kevin McAllister, Home Alone) "This is my home and I have to defend it!"
2008: We held our breath last Christmas as Sam had to -- for the first time ever -- share his home with another cat, Thunder. At first it was all-out war as far as Sam was concerned, but much to our amazement he soon developed not only a tolerance for Thunder, but he actually LIKED him! Now they're best buds. When Thunder comes over Sam is a happy camper. Who knew??
2009: Sam is still the leader of the pack around here. Most days he sleeps a lot but he still has the eye of the tiger. And when he's cold and wants to sit on your lap, he turns into a little lamb. Just don't scratch his head the wrong way. He lives for those moments...
2010: Sam is now 15, fairly old for a cat but he carries it well. He struts around the house and tries to sneak chicken at every opportunity. Most days he wants to sit on our laps. I think he's worried about dying....he's afraid no one in kitty-heaven will feed him chicken.
Sam doesn't have to worry anymore. He knows that the best chicken is in heaven.
And, he also knows:
Be sweet Sam, we love you. ♥