Sammie was born in the Spring of 1993. He came as an adorable little black kitten to our neighbour next door. Sometime during his first year, one of his hind legs was broken, and so for a while, at night, all you could see was this little white cast hopping and bopping around on the ground. In 1995 the neighbour moved and said to me - "D'ya wan' 'im? If not, he's for the SPCA." So, I got his food dish, and his box of cut-rate crunchies. I showed him where they were, and that he could come and go as he pleased (Summer in the Okanagan - definitely open door open window policy) - and I gave him some cooked smokie.
His people had moved right out of their mobile home, and no one moved in, so, because it was an old one with loovered windows, he was able to get in as he pleased. He spent the summer sleeping there, and coming over to our house to eat. He was a loving but skittish fellow - afraid of feet, brooms, newspapers, sudden movement, sudden noises. But, we offered a better brand of food -and it was the only game left, so he spent more and more time with us - even sleeping in our lean-to shed.
His old home was sold, and dragged away, so he was left with just our shed to sleep in - I mean: it had an old ratty couch that someone had left when they moved out, and it was badly made enough that there were two ways in and out (crucial for a full-Tom - gotta have a gettaway in every sleeping place), so it wasn't too bad. Then we had one of the coldest winters Westbank had seen for years and years - and Sammie condescended to spend some time in the house for a snooze.
And so we went until he was about five. He became king cat of the neighbourhood, and incautious cats who got into our yard by mistake almost widdled themselves in their yessirnosir, pleasejustletmelivesir grovelling to be allowed to just run away. The girl cats thought he was simply the best because he would bring them home and show them his dish (See? I'm a great provider.). We had little girl cats come up to the door and basically, through various curling pantomimes, ask if Sammie could come out to play. Then we finally had the money to get him neutered.
It didn't slow him down, or stop the girls from coming 'round.
Then, when he was nine, we moved to Vermilion. Frozen wasteland of prairie with not enough wooded hiding out places. He did well there, but he didn't have a territory any more, and if he was caught out at sunup, he wouldn't come home all day. You knew he was just somewhere nearby under somebody's stoop, but he wouldn't come until after dark. He did pretty well, there, though, and seemed to be quite happy over all. His one objection was that there was no good hunting available in the Winter, so, the second Fall we were there, he started stocking the house with mice. The photo above is taken in the backyard there.
Then, when he was thirteen, we moved to Vancouver, and he became an apartment cat. We were worried because he had always been able to come and go as he pleased, and now he was cooped up in a two-bedroom apartment. He made the transition very well.
The above photo was taken in the Spring of 2005, and pretty much represents his attitude to the new situation.
As you know, since last year we have been concerned about how thin he was, and various other issues. This morning we had him put to sleep because everything had just failed him all at once. The worst thing was that he couldn't walk any more. Well, he could stagger about ten feet and then would have to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before staggering anywhere else. He had refused to eat or drink since this past Friday, and while no doubt we could have put him through heroic efforts to squeeze one or two more months of living out of him, we didn't feel that was the right thing to do. Don't let anybody ever fool you - euthanasia is a violent process, and it doesn't look pain-free to me, but, well, he'd reached the point where there was no pain-free place to reach.
Please help me celebrate a totally fabulous cat.