This will be a little long but I think you’ll totally enjoy it.
My name is Samantha, but most people call me Sam. Well, everyone that is except my human dad; he calls me Samiwich.
Yeah, I know, kinda dumb isn’t it? But you know what? Even though I get teased a lot, I love my nickname. Why? Because my dad loves me so much that he created a special name, just for me. It’s even more special though because dad says that before he met my mom, he couldn’t even spell C.A.T. Now, even though I wasn’t his first cat, I’m his special cat. His special Samiwich. And there’ll never be another Samiwich.
But, I’m getting way ahead of myself. Let me start over.
Hi! My name is Sam. That’s short for Samantha.
My name wasn’t always Samantha. For my first year and a half I don’t really think I had a name, until I found my human parents. All I remember being called was “get out of here”, “shoo” and when I was really small, “kitten”. But there were dozens of get out of here’s, shoos, and kittens so, maybe I was really kitten number eleven and a half, or something like that.
You see, I was born in a house that already had 53 cat brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles.
When I was born I was short, chunky and the people in the house said I was funny looking. One of them, the really old lady, said I was the runt of the litter. A few weeks later though, I heard the old nasty guy that lived with her call her an idiot for not seeing that I was inbred.
Inbred … that means my mother and father were related. I think they were actually brother and sister but in the tiny hoarding house I was born in, everybody was called a brother or sister. And, forgive me, but mating with any cat of the opposite sex that happened to be walking by was … well … common.
I remember life from the minute I was born. There were six of us, four sisters and two brothers. We were all different colors and sizes and none of us looked the same. My face was broad and short and my nose kinda flat. My legs were really short, stubby they called them, and my body looked like a beer can … round.
My brothers and sisters … well, I never really got to see much of them. One sister and one brother only lived for a day. For some reason, mom, our cat mom, refused to have anything to do with them. She just pushed them away and ignored them when they tried to feed from her. I got pushed away too, but another mom, who I think only had one kitten and she was born dead, decided to adopt me.
Anyway, she let me feed from her but that was all. Oh, and it was only when she felt like letting me. There were some days when I was lucky if I got a mouthful or two before she went into a rampage. I’m not sure but I think it had something to do with losing her own kitten. Why do I say that? Well, for two reasons. First, a litter of one is rare and then to lose your only kitten must have devastated her. Second, one of the older kittens in the house told me much later that I looked like the daughter she lost at birth because of my mottled brownish sort of coloring.
(My favorite vet would later tell my human parents that I was a “Tri-colored Tortie”. That meant that I looked like a tortoise shell that was three shades of brown, all swirled together. Isn’t that cool?! I’m like a totally unique tri-colored tortie Samiwich! Yup! Definitely one of a kind!)
I must have been born in the winter, or perhaps the fall, because it was very cold. Two of my siblings only lived one day. My other three siblings wanted nothing to do with me. I think that was because I was inbred. Now, I don’t want to act holier than thou but if I was inbred and every cat in the house was related to each other, what the hell were they? Born from royalty?
My first year was spent pretty much alone. Nobody wanted anything to do with a round, short, squat, flat faced kitten. Not to mention one whose coat couldn’t make up its mind what color it was supposed to be.
The house we lived in was very small and it was full of stuff. Aside from collecting cats, the owners collected all kinds of other things. The room I was born and lived in until I was rescued was, I think, what you would call the living room. I guess that makes sense since there was at least 50 to 60 of us living in it, along with one or two humans on most days.
There was barely enough to eat and we often went for days without food or water. Some days, when we were finally fed, we wished we hadn’t been.
When I was one, it turned very cold again. Over the year some of my brothers and sisters kept dying around me. Every month, there would be fewer and fewer. But then, someone would have another litter and we’d be back to fighting for food and a warm place to sleep.
That’s when I started having breathing problems. Also, my teeth really, really hurt.
When summer came it got unbelievably hot. More of my family kept dying all around me and I had to fight to stay alive. I promised myself I would not die! No matter what, I was only 18 months old and I had so much I wanted to do. While fighting for everything in my life, I also realized that I wanted to be loved. I needed to be loved and I had so much love to share.
Finally, one day the rangers from the Humane Society broke down the door. “Ah, air!” I could hardly lift my head but I pulled in as much air as I could, just as a young woman picked me up, snuggled me and told me, “You’re okay. I’ve got you and you’re safe.”
The next time I woke up I was on an operating table. My throat had a slit in it and a tube hanging out, but I could breathe. The vet said I had an upper respiratory infection and it had almost turned into pneumonia. He also told the nurse helping him to schedule an appointment with the dentist because almost all of my teeth needed to be pulled. That’s when I passed out.
Two days later, I woke up in someone’s lap. They were bottle feeding me and I felt a thousand times better. Oh, and I could breathe! When I started to purr with happiness, I scared myself. I sounded like a lawn mower run-a-muck. But the girl whose lap I was in just laughed. “You are adorable, Cassie. Cassie. That’s what we named you by the way.” I smiled at her, laid my head against her chest and when she kissed me on the head I purred even louder. Then I went to sleep.
The next week was kind of fuzzy. I remember the girl coming in two or three times a day to check on me, hug me and make sure I was okay. “You are such a fighter,” she said one day. That’s when she told me that over 50 of my brothers and sisters had died and only four of us had made it out alive.
But now, I had my own super large crate, all the food and water I wanted and someone who loved me and came to check on me every day. How lucky is that!
My crate was on the bottom row in the cattery and I had to stretch my neck to see who came in whenever the door opened. One day, I looked up and saw two people standing with the girl who had named me. “I have someone I’d like you to meet,” she told them. She eased me out of my crate, kissed me on my head and handed me to the woman next to her. I looked into the woman’s beautiful eyes, glanced over at the cute guy with her and I knew I had found my parents!
I need to let them know I’m theirs, I told myself. I did a gator roll in her arms, laid my head against her chest and cranked up my lawn mower purr to full maximum.
The woman looked at the cute guy and said, “She’s picked us, you know.”
“Yup, I figured that out before she ever got into your arms,” he said, scratching my head.
I never went back into my crate because my new mom carried me in her arms while my dad filled out the adoption papers. An hour later I officially had my new parents.
On the way home, I looked over at my dad, who was driving, then up at my mom. I thought back to a year ago and realized how lucky I was. That’s when I made myself a promise that I would never let a day go by without letting them know how much I loved them.
As we pulled into the driveway, dad turned to mom and said, “We already have a Cassie so, what do you think about naming her Samantha? We can call her Sam, for short.”
“I like that,” my mom said.
Dad’s eyes looked into mine. “You okay with that, Samiwich?” My mom chuckled but I was in shock. All I could do was let out a tiny squeak. Oh. My. God! I had my own nickname! Up until the shelter, I didn’t even have a name. Now, I had a name, Samantha. A nickname, Sam. And now, my very own super special nickname, Samiwich! Me! I was Samiwich! The one and only Samiwich!
I meowed at dad, licked my mom’s hand, did another gator roll in her arms and snuggled as close to her as I could get. No matter what was inside the house in front of us, I was home. These were my parents, this was my house and I was in heaven.
As soon as we were inside, mom introduced me to Cassie, a big blond lab and shepherd mix and Yoda, a brown swirled Sokoke cat. Yup, I’d met a Sokoke before, and they were full of themselves. Yoda was no exception and he wanted nothing to do with me. Ha, we’ll see about that!
As I watched them, I realized that Yoda and Cassie were a couple! He was her “Boy Toy”! Yup, she would clean his ears, he would purr and lick her nose then clean her ears.
Wow! How do I deal with this? I’d never met a dog before and had no idea how to make friends with a dog-cat couple.
Every once in a while though, Cassie would get fed up with him, grumble and bark in his ear because he just wouldn’t leave her alone. That was my opening. I’d console each of them separately, always being careful not to favor one over the other.
Sam Note: Cassie was always friendly toward me, but I had to butter up Yoda for 10 years before we finally became friends … sorta.
Well, I’m now almost 14 years old. Time has flown by. I love my family more than anything in the world and right now they need more love than ever before.
You see, in August, Cassie had some kind of a stroke. She collapsed and mom and dad scooped her up and rushed her to the emergency vets. But, she never came home. Well, only her ashes came home, a week later.
Then, in late April, Yoda, who was now over 16 and my bestest friend, kept getting weaker and weaker. Finally, when he couldn’t eat or drink any more, mom and dad had the vet come to the house and put him to sleep. Just as he crossed over the rainbow bridge, I gave him a kiss on the nose and told him that someday I would see him and Cassie in heaven.
Little did I know that day might be closer than I thought. Two days later I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Three weeks ago, I had a radical mastectomy but I’m getting better every day! Thanks to the love, thousands of hugs and extra special care I get from my mom and dad. Oh, and everyone at the vet’s office too.
You see, no matter what, I will never forget how lucky I am. Nor will I ever stop returning all the love my parents and everyone else gives me. That’s what’s made me who I am. What makes people love me and me love them back. With all my heart.
Authors note: Sam has no idea how unique, and very special, she really is. It’s impossible to describe how much joy she’s brought into our lives and the lives of everyone she does her trademark gator roll in the arms of. She truly is one of a kind!
Is she spoiled? You bet! But so deservingly so; as she tells us daily with her lawn mower purrs. And yes, she’s recovering well.