Winter 2013 Magazine

Remembering Sammy

By Nancy Marano

This year started badly at my house because Sammy died on January 2. He was diagnosed with lymphoma and had a massive tumor in his abdomen.

I first saw Sammy at the Howl-O-Ween Cat Show in 1998. I immediately fell in love with this ball of white fluff. He was playing in his cage totally oblivious to the people walking past him. He played so hard that he just fell over and went to sleep until it was time to play again. Sammy had dark gray thumbprints on the top of his head. As he grew older, gray polka dots developed on the tips of his ears, while a splash of gray defined the end of his plush, plumy tail. And he was the only cat I ever had with a turned up nose.

Sammy has appeared in PETroglyphs' pages many times over the last 14 years. He often appeared in my Cat Chat columns to illustrate a lesson dealing with cat care. But sometimes he appeared to demonstrate why a cat's love for his person is such an incredible force. He was also an honorary PETroglyphs' staff member who attended editorial meetings and supervised all of my writing. He also co-chaired the Cat Writers' Association contests with me and was in charge of getting everything mailed out to judges. Sammy was my Velcro cat who went with me everywhere.

Sammy was a curious fellow and sometimes that would get him into trouble, most evident the year he accidentally became a living, breathing Christmas tree ornament. Sammy loved Christmas. He enjoyed the boxes of ornaments, the trees and lights. I'd finished decorating our tree and was putting away the empty boxes. Suddenly I heard screams coming from the living room. I rushed back to find our dog, Maggie, barking at the tree while running in circles and Rocky, our other cat, pacing in front of the tree looking worried.

There was so much commotion it took me a while to see the cause of the problem. Sammy had climbed from branch to branch up the center of the artificial tree. In the process his waving, white tail became entangled in the wire stems that secure the branches into the tree. The more he fought to free himself, the tighter the tree held him. All I could see were two terrified apple green eyes and bared teeth.

I removed several branches - ornaments, lights and all. Finally I reached in, wearing a stylish pair of oven mitts for safety, and rescued him from the tree's evil clutches. He shot out of my hands and spent the next several hours under the couch trying to recover his confidence and dignity. Luckily he wasn't hurt physically, although his pride suffered a severe blow.

One of the loveliest things about Sammy was his purr. He purred constantly and loudly. If I looked at him or touched him, he purred. He slept with me at night so I learned to fall asleep with the sound of a loud motor beside me. Even in his final illness his purring never diminished. I know cats often purr when they are in pain and Sammy certainly did. The afternoon he died he was still purring.

I did the last, best thing I could for Sammy by helping him out of this life and into his next one. I was able to hold him in my lap while the veterinarian eased him out of his pain. His ashes are now housed with those of the other animals we've loved in our family. He's left a Sammy-sized hole in my heart and an empty spot on my lap but he also left many wonderful memories behind and the sound of his purr in my ear.

Links to the articles featuring Sammy:

Love Bites
Cat Lessons
Heed Those Cat Bite Warning Signs
Therapy Cats

Nancy Marano is an award-winning writer who is owned by two cats, Callie, a tortoiseshell, and Max, a black, panther wannabe. She is a member of the Cat Writers' Association and Dog Writers of America.

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