Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mr. Sammy [not Davis]

He missed curfew, so he was relegated to spend the cold spring night outside. This was not a young kool kat, but a sedate older dude, whose tomkating days were behind him.

I met Sammy on a previous visit to North Carolina. On our recent visit, Sammy and I developed a serendipitous relationship.

Sammy, the furry 4-legged honcho at the Moss household is a bossy, neutered tomcat, rescued by my sister-in-law (SIL), who works at a retirement village which allows pets. Often pet owners move, die or otherwise have to forfeit their animals for various, sometimes urgent, reasons.

This was the plight of Sammy. It seemed no one would step forward and give Sammy a "forever home." Finally, SIL said, "I'll take the cat." She wasn't sure of her husband's reception; he had run stray cats off his property.

SIL drove home with all 16 lbs. of Sammy, opened the door, and set Sammy inside. Amazingly, Sammy ran and jumped in her husband's lap where the two seemed to bond instantly.

Sammy, having conquered what was perceived the biggest obstacle to his new habitat, began to relegate the routines he expected for his continued comfortable lifestyle in return for his devotion of demoted head of household HOH and wife.

1. Sleep in bed with HOH and wife.
2. Feed warm saucer of milk-very small amount, heated 10 seconds, no more or no less, in microwave on demand in kitchen, after which must have outdoor spree.
3. Provide valet service at any door 24/7 for indoor/outdoor recreation, or whatever cats do during waking hours, day and night.
4. Daytime sleep-in after early breakfast, until 4 p.m., preferably undisturbed on master bedroom bed.
5. Other amenities, such as regular dry cat kibbles, water and litter pan in master bedroom.
6. Drinking water privileges in the bathroom lavatory, where the current occupant must open the spigot at just the right trickle, to lap or play.

When SIL's husband (HOH) died, best buddy Sammy, or should I say dictator, was devastated. The crowds of people during his last illness, and the usual company and visits before, during and after a funeral sent Sammy into isolation and hermitage.

Like other family members he suffered duress, desolation and deprivation of his beloved owner. He hid in the basement or spent long hours outdoors trying to understand his innermost feline feelings. He had no cat friends with which to consult or commiserate...well we aren't sure. There was the neighborhood stray who was seen occasionally on the property.

Sometime during or after the funeral, Sammy was missing, maybe contemplating his fate and future, or whatever cats do when their living arrangements take a dramatic change of course. The person to which he bonded most was gone. His house was full of strangers, including new creatures called "children." His household rules were not holding water.

When my husband (H) and I arrived to stay two weeks, SIL's son and family were in their last two days before leaving for their home in Wisconsin. We visited with the son and family one of the two days.

Someone, I think H, asked, "Where is Sammy?" SIL, et al, said Sammy was AOL and had been for a few days.

Conversation continued. I was seated a bit away from the center of attention by the open, glass back door. At some point I absentmindedly glanced at the door. Amazingly, there sat Sammy.

We let Sammy in. He hurriedly surveyed the room's occupants and scurried to the bedroom. He must have summed up his alternatives and decided to adjust to the hand life dealt him. After all, it could be a whole lot worse.

After the company left and only adults were in the house, Sammy seemingly settled in his routine of training us. SIL was already trained. He would rub our legs and even purred a tad for his milk. He sat with H outside in the smoking chair, as we called it.

The crowning achievement with me was # 6 above, when he entered the bathroom, jumped on the lavatory and waited for me to adjust the water. Certainly I never would replace HOH, but I was acceptable substitute if I complied with his rituals.

The most disgruntled, maybe downright mad cat I ever witnessed was Sammy the night he was missed another curfew and was caught up in a severe thunderstorm.

It was after 10 p.m. I was sleeping near the door he usually entered and exited. Between two loud claps of thunder there was a deluge of rain. The second clap was greater volume than the first. I lumbered sleepily to the door and opened it. In streaked the wettest, dripping mad cat I've ever seen. He streaked down the hallway to the master bedroom and SIL, with me in pursuit with a towel to wipe him down.

Sammy didn't know, but maybe he did, that H and I were saps to slavery via a lifetime of dogs. He just lucked out in training us so easily.

Message to Sammy: please be kind and take good care of H's sister and my sister-in-law. You could not have a better home!

PHOTOS: (Apology - I have had no time to learn my two new photo editing programs' method to remove pet equivalent of red eye. It is NOT the red eye tool, at least not in the 3 programs I own.)
Husband: 2, 3, 7
NitWit: 1, 4, 5, 6, 8


Arkansas Patti said...

What a sweet,yet sad story. Animals do feel the loss of a favorite caregiver. Rent the movie Hachi, which is based on a true story, if you need a good cry.
Hope Sammy and SIL comfort eachother. Really nicely told.

Renie Burghardt said...

I enjoyed Sammy's story. He has a sweet face. I'm glad he is well taken care of and has a good home. Yes, animals have feelings, just as we do, and miss their human, if seperated. I love cats and have 5. I also love dogs, and am down to 2, since my Rottie and Lab went to doggie heaven.

Linda said...

What a dear and wonderful story. I hope Sammy lives a very long time with your SIL.

faye said...

A wonderful post.
Sammy seems a lot like the lil
diva dawg that rules this house...
Funny how they can train us faster than the reverse..

Small City Scenes said...

What a sweet Sammy story. I am glad your SIL took him home and glad he bonded with the husband. I think a death of a person the animal knows so well has to be hard and we don't even realize it.
Animals have their way with us even if we say no they don't.
I had to go and spend the day with my Mother and had to put the dogs in their kennels. I said to my daughter--"when you get home from work will you please let Bingo out and take him for his regular wal"k and on and on. I thought later that my daughter knows what to do but I guess I was worried sje wouldn't do it the Bingo way. We are so silly. MB

Lorna said...

sometimes, just when we need something the perfect version of it comes in the door.

Pat - Arkansas said...

Sammy seems to be 100 pounds of love in a 16 pound sack. So glad he found a good home, and decided to stay there even when his Best Buddy had to go away.

jinksy said...

That seems to be a cat and a half, to some cats!

Amber Star said...

That was one of the sweetest stories, true, that I've heard in a good while. We all need someone. There is a little yellow and white cat hanging around in the backyard. It is like cats spray or write on something that this is where the suckers live. I just can't take him in, though. With allergies and RA and all I'm praying someone the woman at the end of the street gets a cute little kitten and then when it gets preggers the overun comes down here. There are two of them, I think. One is black and white and the other yellow and white.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

I'm a dog lover...and allergic to cats...but this cat has stolen my heart...what a wonderful story! What a fantastic cat Sammy must be! And your photos, no matter what you say, are absolutely delightful! Loved this! Love, Janine XO

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

I agree with Patti...a sweet but sad story. It is something how our pets truly go into mourning just like adult. Poor Sammy had already been through a lot when he had to give up his other home and then to loose is favorite care take.
I am sure he will be comfort to your SIL and I am sorry to read about your brother in law.

Carol@ Writers Porch/ Book House said...

Great story CA ! Sammy is my kind of cat!

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

What a sweet story. Animals are very adept at training their owners (slaves). So glad your SIL and Sammy have each other.

Liz said...

What a lovely story! Sammy is fortunate indeed.

bkmoss said...

Oh please let me tell you the rest of the story. When I first stayed at daddy's I received my training in a crash course. Sammy cat as we who are siblings call him quickly discovered we had no pecking order as Sammy cat ruled the roost. Cat would get everyone up at around 4.00 am for a visit outside or a mid morning snack and much to my surprise one had to stand in the bathroom while he consumed kibbles and bits. Can you imagine how loud a dry.snack is at 4.00 a.m. the story continues around 7.00 when the Humans get up for coffee and indeed HOH says he wants milk heated in microwave. Oh dear I knew my work was cut out for me. I thought I was at daddy's to take care of him but quickly learned that cat was first. I. Quickly learned that it was a house ruled by the cat not its human occupants. The next lesson I quickly learned was Sammy would hit you in the back when you were in a deep sleep to get you up this was only after he failed to get your attention by scratching on the bed covers. One last story about Sammy. He disappeared one Friday not to be seen at all on Saturday or Sunday. A friend came to visit a.couple of weeks before daddy went to be with the Lord and I solicited his help to find. Sammy. We searched my home that was nearby, no cat. We searched the nearby woods. No Sammy. It was getting near dark thirty and I was sitting on the tailgate of daddy's when in the woods above my house scurried Sammy. I gasped and said there's the cat. He made a beeline down the hill s scurrying past my friend meowing loudly all the way to my arms. I picked him up gave him a welcome home Kitty kiss took him in the house for a warm welcome from his people. The SIL better known by me as the GOOD STEPMOTHER Said Sammy come here and tell me where you have been. She asked him several times and as sick as HOA was he looked up from the table and with one of his famous one lines said to Wife "you will never know" I lioved this moment in time. It was a classic. Your loving daughter


Sniffles and Smiles said...

Just checking in to see what you are up to...have you gotten some rain? We did last night, and it has washed away some of the pollen... thankfully! Anyway, I just wanted you to know that you are much in my thoughts, and that I hope that your week is a good one! Love you, Janine XO