Just over two years ago, my world was blessed with one of the purest spirits I have ever known—Sam.
His skittish spirit scurried into our lives at the beginning of the pandemic. One of several outdoor kitties who littered the trees surrounding my partner’s property, his face was angular and humanly handsome.
He was so beautiful in fact that we thought that he was a girl for the first few months we knew him. The dance to make him ours happened over several weeks. He was coaxed in with tuna left on the deck to draw him closer, eventually leading him over the threshold of the home he would come to warm every inch of with his aura.
Even though an outdoor kitty, his coat was clean. Jet black with a white, rounded triangle center chest, his fur was silky as if he had been cared for. He had the longest, bushiest tail, despite being a short-haired cat.
Timid in our presence, he learned to trust us gradually, by way of feeding schedules and consistently given on-demand head rubs. He had no sound to his meow most times beyond the occasional squeak, but he had a purr as loud as a lion’s roar and as unique as any we had ever heard. His curiosity often led me to believe that indoor life was one of his most extraordinary wonders. He learned things quickly as if he knew what we were saying and asking of him—as it only took him a handful of times to learn not to claw at the furniture and only once not to jump on the counter.
Whenever our eyes connected, I was convinced that he had been on earth before. I don’t mean to sound like a crazy cat lady, but there was something sincerely unconventional about Sam. Having cared for several cats over the years, both my partner and I, we noticed that everything about him felt different. From his desire to only use the restroom outdoors to the way he would stop himself from hurting me while playing, he exhibited one of the most gentle cat personalities we’ve ever experienced.
The joy of watching him silently meow while pawing at the counter for his breakfast in the morning, his midday naps on the couch/bed/floor, our evenings on the deck bird watching, to calling him in from the darkness of the tree line for dinner and bed are a shortlist of the joys he brought us day-to-day.
As the days of the pandemic blended one into the next, our daily routine would rise and set around Sam’s schedule. So, when that orbit was disrupted by his sudden illness, the panic to save him overtook our lives.
Pneumonia and newly diagnosed heart disease.
The three-day roller-coaster ride ended with an unfathomable gut punch that has left us breathless.
Sam passed away alone in the back of a veterinary office on a Wednesday afternoon in early May. It was a devastating loss.
Knowing that we will never get to see him sashaying across the yard to come to greet us again has opened up what feels like the entire galaxy in my stomach. It feels both weightless and heavy at the same time. His absence from our landscape has left a deafening silence. I’ll never again get to hear the squeaks that would leak out from his silent meows. I will never again feel the vibration of his unique purr or the silkiness of his sleek fur from the top of his adorable little head to the tip of that big, bushy tail.
He’ll never again look sleepily into my eyes to beg or to express his sincere love and gratitude for me being his human. We will never again run across the yard in tandem and then stop to survey the beauty of all the living things dancing around us. We’ll never get to see him climb a tree for fun or stalk leaves, moths, or Northern Mockingbirds.
That all makes me desperately angry.
I don’t know if our beloved Sam gets to go to heaven, but I can assure you that I don’t know of a worthier candidate for entry. His fragile kitty body housed an astoundingly beautiful soul. We were so lucky to experience a pet who brought us so much peace and joy. I am so thankful I got to be his mom.
Sam wasn’t special because he was my cat—he was indeed a remarkable creature.
In loving memory of Sam…the sweetest kitty I’ve ever known.