Cat Letter: Dear Sammy

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Some cats come into one’s life as a happy accident; you, sweet man, came to us as a choice. Moments after losing our beloved Emma, I remember saying that our next cat would be an older black male–a cat that otherwise would not have a home–and that no other cat would do.

When I first saw your picture, my heart skipped a beat, perhaps anticipating just how firmly and deeply your paws would soon hold it. When the day finally came to meet you, I could hardly wait to see you and thank the women who had saved you from conditions I could not even imagine. We walked in and were greeted by a small head of beautiful, clearly adored felines. You, however, did not participate in this ritual. You sauntered in, regarded us with distant curiosity, and with a flick of the tail, dismissed us.


Yes Sammy, I was disappointed, but I immediately observed that you are a cat with deep dignity and very high standards and I knew better than to try to impose my desires–however well-intentioned–on you. So we sat on the couch making small talk, while I did my best to hide my disappointment. What I did not know is that while we chatted and enjoyed the attentions of many other lovely cats, you were sitting back, quietly observing us, deciding if we would be worthy. Suddenly, I felt a soft thud behind me, followed by an enthusiastic head butt and a sleek black tail wrapped around my forehead. Shouts of, “They’re the ones!” and tears followed, as you rubbed and purred and clearly announced your acceptance of us as your new family.

It hasn’t been an easy time, dear Sammy. Twelve years of hard living took their toll on your body–but not your spirit. Through acute illness, invasive tests, a diagnosis of cancer, you have remained open to life, a gracious host to all who visit our home, and a dignified patient who is a favorite of your loving care team. Your illness brought together new friends from all over the country who rallied to make sure you had everything you needed. I learned to read your subtle moods to watch for any early warning signs of ill health, like the scare we had this week. I realized anew the affect you have on everyone you meet when your vet was almost giddy as she delivered the news that the biopsy was negative for cancer, and that some basic dental work would restore you to health.

As I awaited the news, fearing the worst, I realized how much I love you. I have had other cats–all sweet creatures whom I also love. But you, dear Sammy, are different. You are that once in a lifetime cat, the cat who brought with you a community of wonderful people who have become some of our closest friends. You made our house a home again, and even after you are gone, I know that your spirit will forever remain a part of me.

With all our love.
Jackie and Kasey

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On October 6, 2014
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