Sunday, February 8, 2009

Farewell to a Warrior Woman

Samantha, my cat, died peacefully today. She was part of my life since Oct. 23rd. 1990 when my daughter and youngest son brought her home from the Humane Society. She was a handful as a kitten, shredding drapes, pantyhose, furniture and, on more than one occasion, bringing down the Christmas tree. A gorgeous domestic long-haired tortoise, she had immaculate white feet. Apart from regular shots, she had only one vet visit and that was to lance a infection on her chin…she had a thorn embedded there. Sam was 99.9% an indoor cat although she loved to follow me around the garden and expose her fluffy white tum to the Sun.
She lived with me in several houses over those years; one of which had a basement where she chose to disappear and show up only for meals. I think it was because her nose was out of joint by the introduction of George, another rescue cat, this time an elegant, marmalade male. When we moved to a ranch in the Chiricahuas, Sam had no basement in which to skulk and plot assaults on George and the dogs so once again became a denizen of daylight. This time her chosen “best friends” were any number of the young fawns that would wander into the great room through the huge, open French doors. I’d hear a tip, tap of tiny hoofs on tile and find Sam and a fawn nose to nose.
There wasn’t a dog that didn’t fear her! And we had a parade of rescue ones through the house. Dougal, a Scotty, was one of them. His tag at the Humane Society read, “hates cats”. He made one attempt to chase Sam and she reared back, slapped him full on the face and a truce was formed. They were devoted one to another. Cash, a very large black and white dog of uncertain ancestry, rescued when he was around a year old, belongs to my youngest son. There’s some kind of latent herding gene in Cash. Whenever Sam ventured into the garden, Cash tried to herd her back into the house. She pretty soon got fed up with this interference to her routine and in her own way, made clear to him that enough was enough. My other son engaged Sam to train Rana, his Humane Society mutt, to be civil and respectful of these small, furry creatures called cats. My daughter’s gang of three Standard Poodles is terrified of her. Oliver, the oldest wandered into my bedroom one day where Sam was napping on the bed. She heard him and fluffed herself to full size. Poor dog was so startled by this apparition that he fell in a dead faint.
Her latest dog, Hamish, a wonderful, furry “ewok” came home 6 years ago. A streetwise kid, he too made the mistake of thinking Sam could be messed with. He learned fast and their devotion to one another was comical. She was his official food taster. He wouldn’t take a bite until she had sniffed his bowl and approved of the meal. “Let’s go to bed, kids”, I’d say before turning off the lights and they’d hustle to the bedroom and curl up together on Hamish’s’ bed . A few months ago Hamish began to snore very loudly at night and I had to get up, wake him and turn him over much like you’d poke any snoring roommate. After about three nights in a row of this Sam had had enough. As I turned on the light and headed for him she stepped back and whacked him across the nose. “Cut it out, buster” was her clear message. He hasn’t snored since.
Back in my early computer days, Sam would drape herself on top of the monitor and occasionally reach out and bat at the screen. Watching my fingers she figured out that touching the keys made something appear and move. We finally had to ban her from the office…she spent far too much time typing!
Apart from when in her basement period, she never caught a mouse. In fact just 10 months ago she actively invited a pack rat in and encouraged it to eat the dog’s food and chew the fringe off a carpet. She did bestow upon me gifts of lizard tails – most often leaving them in my shoes. I learned to check before slipping bare feet into shoes and alerted houseguests to do the same.

In the early days of my business I had to spend a year in Europe and Sam went to live with an elderly, recent, widower who had also just lost his cat. When I returned to the US I made clear to this kind man that if he and Sam had become an item, I would not insist on having her back. “My dear”, he told me. “I considered her my floozy for the year, we’ve had a great fling but now I need a more committed relationship”. Sam moved back home without missing a beat.

We had a committed relationship for 18 years and five months. I will be forever grateful.

On behalf of Samantha, I applaud all of you who have made shelter animals part of your life.


  1. Thank you for sharing your lovely thoughts about Sam, what an incredible cat. Reminds me of my own Sam, a male who disappeared long ago, but the memories are still very sweet.

  2. Samantha will be greatly missed. She was a beautiful and wonderful cat. She was always so playful and loving during my visits.

  3. I put down Scattercat last Aug.
    She was 21 years old and utterly devoted (or as devoted as a cat can be) to me until the day she said goodbye.
    A month later one of my twitter followers asked me if I was ready for a kitten she had rescued from the E-way. Pip makes me happy in a way that is different but still so reminiscent of my dear departed Scattercat.

    I mourn with you.

  4. So sorry to hear of your loss. You wrote a very good tribute to her.

  5. Sam was a very special cat. I enjoyed her contributions to our meetings. I will miss her as well.


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