Samwise the Brave: His Story
By Sarah (May 21, 2014)
This is the story of my cat, Samwise. He is my special baby. I've never had a pet that I loved as much as I love him. In fact, aside from Mom, Dad and Elizabeth, I've never loved anyone like I love him. He's a big buff-colored cat who has long, soft fluff for fur, huge paws and a loud, squeaky voice. He's about as sweet (and a wee bit selfish) as they come. There is nothing in the world like giving him "super lovin's". That means cuddling up with your cheek on his tummy and petting him at the same time. He'll just lie there and purr until his purring machine should break. He doesn't always want to be held, but he doesn't mind it either. He just turns into a limp baby-kins, with his back feet hanging straight down and his front paws kneading in the air. God has certainly blessed us with a lot of wonderful cats, but I am especially thankful for Sammy-kins.
Samwise was born in our Dining Room, along with a little brother, Frodo, and a sister, Aramintie. Just five months earlier, Olivia had given birth to seven kittens in the same room. Sometimes God works in funny ways, and Sammy's arrival was one of those ways! It all started on the morning of the day when Olivia was set to go to the vet to be fixed . . .
It was about seven o'clock in the morning, and Mom and the two of us were still lying in bed when we heard a slight crash. Nothing too bad, so we didn't rush down to investigate. In the back of our minds, though, it was bothering us, so we finally decided to go downstairs to check things out. One of the Front Room screens had fallen in, and there was Olivia, sitting on the front step with a "smile" on her face --- just waiting to be let back inside. Right beside her was a small buff-colored cat from across the street (he was the picture of a small Samwise). Elizabeth and I named him "Romeo". We shooed him away and let Olivia back inside. She pranced right in and acted as if this was just a normal occurrence.
(continued below Photo Gallery . . . )
Even though it had only been a few minutes, we all knew that it was too late to take Olivia to the vet. Mom called and cancelled the appointment, and we began to prepare for another batch of kittens. Olivia went into labor at noon on September 29th, 2006. Manly (then five months old) had decided that he wanted to nurse again, so her water actually broke while she was on Elizabeth's bed. Olivia thought that the perfect spot to have her kittens was under the bed. Boy, did we have a time getting her out of there! We carried her down to the Dining Room, where a nice box was all prepared for her in the closet (where she'd been through this just months before).
Aramintie was born first, followed by Samwise and then Frodo. Sammy looked like a wet, scraggly, white and orange mouse. His feet were just this wet pink color, and his hair was anything but beautiful. Olivia was so tired after giving birth to the three babies that she stopped her labor. Two more kittens were stillborn the next day. One was a dilute tortie, and the other would have been an identical twin to Samwise. Imagine having two Sammy-kins!
Ever since he was only hours old, Samwise has been known as a "squeak pot". As a baby, he didn't like anyone to touch him or even get close to him. If he smelled you near him, or you tried to pet him, he would start squeaking at the top of his lungs until his Mommy came and "protected" him. Silly Sammy!
Olivia soon learned how to turn his squeaks to her advantage. She didn't relish the idea of spending another six weeks by herself in the closed-off Dining Room (we thought the babies would be safer in there, away from our other nine cats), so she carried Sammy to the closed door and dropped him there. She figured that we would hear the squeaking and open the door. Olivia was then out like a dart, leaving poor Sammy alone. Don't worry! We always rescued him!
Finally, after two weeks of these "drop and run" tactics, we gave up and let Olivia move the little babies into the Living Room. We placed cat beds in various sheltered places about the downstairs before opening the door. Olivia came right out, inspected all the beds and chose a large basket under the big wooden desk. Within six hours, she had carried those three kittens out of the Dining Room --- and she never looked back! She couldn't have been happier, and Sammy wasn't always being deposited on the cold floor to make a racket. We snapped his first "solo" picture, when he was just one week old. Elizabeth was holding him, and he squeaked up a storm the whole time!
So, Sammy, Frodo and Aramintie grew up among all the other cats. The three were very sociable kittens, but their best friends were always each other. They did everything together. They ate together, slept together and played together. By about two to three weeks old, all three of them had turned into the cutest little fluff-balls that you've ever seen. They looked like little stuffed animals. Naming these kittens was hard work. We knew that we were going to keep them, so the names had to be perfect. Elizabeth was sure that Samwise was going to be "her cat", since he looked almost (except for the white marks and paws) exactly like Deanna. So, she was going to name him, waffling between "Toby" and "John Paul Jones" for weeks. Awful! We could not tell whether Frodo was a boy or a girl, and he was about six weeks old before we took the kittens to the vet to find out. In the meantime, we had all decided that he must be a girl, because he was so beautiful. Mom wanted to name him "Miss Esther". Well, it was a shocker to find out that our beautiful girl was actually a boy! Mom came up with the idea of naming the boys after the two Hobbits in "Lord of the Rings", and we all thought that was a good idea. I was never so happy as the day that we eliminated "John Paul Jones" and "Toby" from the list of names.
It was not very many weeks before Sammy became "my" cat. Of course, I knew from the start that there was something extra special about him. I loved him from the first minute that I saw those pink mouse feet sticking out in that box --- when he was only minutes old. When he was born, Sammy's fluff was all long, wet and wavy. He still has wavy hair on the very top of his head between his ears. Whenever the weather gets humid, that hair looks super wavy! It is also really soft.
We thought that Samwise and Frodo would have "medium" length hair, but we were so wrong. It wasn't long before it was very obvious that they had very long hair! Sammy's fluff is a beautiful buff color, with white on his nose, chest, paws and tummy. It is the softest stuff in the world, and it will stick to you when you're brushing him. It's so soft and sticky that I call it "candy fluff", because it looks like cotton candy. Sammy didn't always like to be brushed, but with his fluff it was something that he was going to have to get used to! So, I worked and worked on him, until one Sunday afternoon, when he decided that he not only liked to be brushed, he loved it! I sat on the TV-room floor and furminated him for over an hour. Ever since then, Sammy wants to be brushed all the time. Actually, he's quite insane about it, becoming selfish and pushy when he sees you brushing another cat.
As they grew older, the babies developed their own personalities. Aramintie was always a "loner". She played by herself and just kept her own space. If someone wanted to cuddle with her, she was more than happy, but she never asked for attention. Frodo stayed a true "Mama's Boy". He did everything with his mother and Manly (the other "Mama's Boy"). He still played with Sammy, and they love to be near each other, but they weren't inseparable. Samwise developed a happy routine of playing games that he could play with others or by himself. If someone plays with him, then he just loves to chase. The old saying that says "good things come in small packages" is usually true, but not so about Samwise. He weighs about 22lbs., but he is a gentle babe-kin when it comes to scrapping. He is too easily hurt to play with Oliver or Max, but he loves Beatrice --- and she loves him. They will chase each other all around the downstairs rooms. She runs at top speed and he lumbers after her (in order not to catch up).
When Sammy plays by himself, he has two favorite toys: jingle balls and pipe cleaners! He is crazy about them. He will carry them in his mouth all over the house, howling as he walks along, so that you think someone is dying. He'll drop them near me (or a place where I usually will be) as presents, for which he expects to be loved, petted and cooed over. Oftentimes, he takes his toys and hides them under one of the cedar chests in the bedroom. What is so cute about that is that he knows they are under there and will go "digging" for them at a later date. He thinks that life is fabulous, if he can find a stray piece of bubblewrap or a packing peanut. Those give great sport --- and make very special presents. If he doesn't feel like playing, his favorite pastime is sitting in an open window. All of the fluff keeps him very warm, so he likes wind --- and doesn't even care if snow blows in on him!
Samwise may be happy to play alone, but he is a very sociable fellow and always wants to sleep in a room with other feline friends. He even likes to "share" cat beds (usually with Max), but Sammy can be quite selfish. His idea of sharing is barging in when another cat is sound asleep and just taking as much space as he wants, even if he has to lie down on top of the other cat to do so. He also employs the tactic of inching his way into a bed or onto a chair already occupied, in such a quiet manner as to push the other cat out. Selfish Sammy! He loves to be licked, so he is always nuzzling other cats so that they'll lick him on the head. Unfortunately, he never licks them back, so Frodo goes away dejected and Max retaliates by biting Samwise in the ear.
You can never tell just what will affect a cat, and Samwise is no exception. He wasn't a "Mama's Boy", but he, apparently, was quite attached to Manly. As soon as Manly died, Sammy began to pull the hair out on his tummy and back. It was a month later that Olivia died, so that may have added to his distress as well. It has been a year and a half since then, and he still pulls some of his hair, although he is much better!
We always made the joke that Samwise was asleep for twenty hours a day and sleepy for the other four. A true statement about his first seven years, but he has perked up (due to the help of a homeopathic remedy and the absence of Monika, we believe) now, to be quite an alert little chap. He still sleeps a lot, like any cat, but he spends most of the morning wide awake and playful. He loves the laser toy. He'll chase it all around the room, and he smacks at it so hard that you can feel it on the floor. He also loves catnip, but it makes him really selfish. He'll bop the others on the heads and steal their toys, so that we have to keep an eye on him!
Samwise is as cute and sweet as they come, but he does have a couple of failings. He's selfish. He can be very noisy in the middle of the night, when you're trying to sleep, because he shoves his nose under the bedroom door and howls like a foghorn. And he's scared. Scared of everything. I always tell him that he is named for "Samwise the Brave", but that doesn't help. The slightest move, noise or unexpected action freaks him out. He'll run like someone is going to murder him, or skulk out of a room with his stomach dragging on the ground. Silly boy! His new haven is under Mom's bed. He's decided that it is not only a great place to sleep, but that it is also very safe from anything like vacuums, thunder and laundry baskets.
For years, Sammy has had the routine of being the first one into our bedroom in the morning and the last one out at night. He always wants to have some special love and alone time with me on my bed (or sitting in the open window). He would come in at night, and we would spend a while playing with one of those "dangly" cat toys with a jingle-bell on the end of it. Sammy has lately developed a new routine of rushing to my TV-room footstool at the first sign of someone coming upstairs. If I am sitting in my chair, Samwise is sitting on the footstool. He thinks that it's his private throne. He'll lay his cheek on my leg and sleep through a movie, or he'll turn around and squeak at me, until I pet him or kiss him on the head. Sometimes, he'll lick me to get attention! His newest trick is to put his two front paws on the edge of my chair, while I'm sitting there needle-felting. If that doesn't force me to stop and pet him, then he starts biting my felting mat or project until I have to stop! Irritating but so cute! I love him!
Another thing that Samwise loves to do is eat. His favorite wet food is "Paw Lickin' Chicken", but he likes just about anything. He frenzies at the expectation of the morning wet food and waggles his way around the kitchen, nuzzling all the other cats as he goes. Of course, he always finishes off with a few kibbles of dry food --- just to be well-rounded! Poor Sammy has a bit of an eating disorder. In fact, most of Olivia's kittens have it. Olivia had it. For whatever reason, they have the hardest trouble keeping food in their mouths. They chew and work at it, but more than half of their chow ends up falling back onto the plate or into the bowl. Poor babes. Sammy is really cute when he eats. He hunkers down (sitting on his knees), sticks his tail straight out behind him and smells around for the perfect piece of food. Sometimes, we'll take up a bowl with the Bunny's leftover wet food, in the afternoon. If Frodo and Samwise are asleep on a bed, all you have to do is carry the bowl in and set it down in the room. Their heads come up (with eyes still closed!), and they sniff the air. They'll rush over to the bowl and start chomping away in turns. First one takes a piece, then the other takes a piece. They are so cute!
Of course, after being brushed, playing and eating, what is the other thing that Samwise likes to do? Sleep! He's not a sound sleeper. In fact, he's always ready to wake up and attract some attention. When he does go to sleep, though, you'll never see anything cuter. He will start curled up in a typical "cat shape", but always with a paw under his chin. It's not long, however, before he stretches out to his incredibly long full length and rolls onto his side or his back. His massive front paws (they look like they belong to a lion cub) come up in the air or cover his nose, and his back toes curl up into the cutest little c-shapes, then he rolls onto his head. So cute!
It's impossible to put everything about Samwise into words, but this gives a fair idea of his personality. Photos will help with the rest. He's a really wonderful cat, and I am so thankful that God placed him in our house --- even if it did mean that Olivia had to break a window down to do it!