I’ve always been a cat lover. Growing up, my family had a number of wonderful cats. Some bought as pets and some adopted or taken in after being abandoned. There was none more special than my first (and only) pet I had since becoming independent and moving out of home. Her name was Samantha. I miss her very much…
Living alone while attending Uni and work for the first time was fun but sometimes lonely and Sam quickly became like a best friend. It’s funny how we bond with animals. Here I was, renting my own place and owning my own pet, suddenly with all of this responsibility!
It wasn’t always easy. As cute as she was, Sam started out as a regular outdoors cat who would only come inside every night and this often led to trouble. There’d be times where I would come home from work to find her stalking the chickens in the next yard or sitting on a high window ledge of a neighbours apartment.
I’m not sure whether she ever actually chased a chicken though. She was too small to be able to catch one. I originally bought her from a regular pet shop and even then I was worried that she was too tiny and young to be away from her Mum. But even five years on, she barely grew. My brothers called her a mini-cat and I guess I would have to agree. But it just made her all the more cute!
About a year after she ‘moved in’ there was a lot of trouble with neighbourhood cats. She would sometimes not be around to come inside at night and when she did, she would be beaten and scratched pretty badly. I felt so sorry for her, she was much too small and delicate to defend herself. So after being taken to the vet to be fixed, I decided to make her in indoor cat. Something she didn’t get used to for quite a while.
A few years on though and she seemed to have forgotten about the outside world… bar one or two scary instances!
I remember waking up one morning and not being able to find Sam at all. I looked everywhere before making it out to the kitchen where I was shocked (so much that I nearly hit the roof!) to find a dead pigeon on the floor. The kitchen window had been forced open and with the apartment being on the 2nd floor and being too big of a drop, I could only assume that Sam had pushed open the window, climbed up onto it and made it on top of the roof. How she killed a bird, dragged it inside for me and left again I’ll never know but it was certainly a day I won’t forget!
Not quite as funny however was a the day Samantha pushed open (the horrible old and loose) windows again and didn’t come back for dinner that night. I was walking around the block of apartments for hours, calling her name, making the little whispers we make to cats and tapping her cat food tin with a spoon, hoping that she would hear. I remembering staying up past midnight waiting, then actually leaving the back door of my place half open all night while I slept.
3 days later, after following those same actions, she still hadn’t returned. I actually gave up all hope and had resigned to the fact that she wasn’t ever coming back. I was in tears for the next few days.
On exactly the 7th day though, I heard her little meow outside my door! I rushed outside and picked her up quicker than I thought possible. Even with the stories of cats returning to the owners after years, I simply couldn’t believe she was back! Some people will say, ‘it’s only an animal’ but I’m sure anyone who has had a pet before would know how I felt.
I think Sam was about 4 years old when I had to move out to a new place for a new job. After trying to rent so many different places, the only one I could find was a place that did not allow pets. My only option was to let my Mum and younger brother take her and give her a loving home. It was sad and even though I wasn’t far away, it was not something that I got used to very easily.
As cheesy as it sounds, after a couple years it almost felt like a parent seeing their kid move out of home. Here was this little cat that I had looked after since she was only a few weeks old and for the next 4 years of her life. I’ve heard a lot of people say that having the responsibility of a pet is along the same lines as having your own child and although I don’t (and never will) have children, I can imagine that being true.
The bonds we make with our pets are very visible when we are around them but even moreso when we sadly say goodbye to them.
My Mum called one day, to tell me that little Sam had clawed her way through the (seemingly pet proof) window screen and had run away. I wanted to cry but couldn’t accept it, especially after her week long adventure and return when she was younger. I spent a couple days looking up and down all of the streets throughout the suburb until I finally did accept she really was gone. I was so angry and went home without shedding a single tear. That changed when I was home though and continued for quite some time.
Part of me thinks that Sam never actually got completely comfortable being an indoor cat and always missed her adventures. Then there’s the other part, the part that makes me feel sad and very guilty and that she actually escaped through the window because she wanted to find me…
I know she was not the most capable cat when out in the ‘wild’ but there’s something inside me that to this day still hopes she was just taken in by a loving family who mistook her for a stray and this following photo is how I like to imagine her resting each night.
My partner loves cats as much as me and aside from spending hours each week reading cat blogs and looking at various pics and videos of cats we often talk about getting a cat (or two) when we finally buy our own home and I’m sure when we do, we’ll have many stories and photo’s to share.
Hopefully those reading have enjoyed my little story and pics of Sam. She really was a special cat.