Sometime in March, 1999 a remarkable cat named Sam was born. We’re not sure of the exact date, as Sam was adopted from the Hawaii Humane Society as part of a BOGO (that’s a “Buy One, Get One Free”) special. A friend wanted a cat, and convinced Scott to take advantage of the BOGO special and get one for himself.
Sam is a Japanese Bobtail cat, which means he has a stump of a tail which he was able to use quite eloquently to express himself. With a flip of his tail stump, he was able to deliver a cat version of a middle finger salute that was unmistakable when he was displeased with you for some reason. When I teased him that he was a “discount” kitty, for example, he’d use his tail to flip me off as he walked away.
I didn’t meet Sam (or Scott, for that matter) until May of that same year, when I fell in love with Hawaii, with Scott, and with Sam. We added Megan (not a cat — a wonderful female person) to our menagerie a couple of years later, and we have all been together ever since.
As a kitten, Sam was a whirlwind of activity and adventure. He liked to climb, was endlessly curious, and was absolutely fearless, sometimes getting himself into situations that even he had a hard time getting out of. For a while we lived in an A-Frame house, and Sam loved to climb the rafters, walking precariously along a narrow beam 15+ ft. in the air. Occasionally we would find him hanging from a ceiling beam by one paw while he attempted to drop down onto a piece of furniture without killing himself.
He was intended to be an indoor cat, and seemed more or less content to stay that way until a guest at a party we were having opened the front door and let him outside. From that moment until we moved to another house, we were unable to keep him inside. He figured out how to pull the jalousie window panes out of their slots, spring the latch on the screen, and let himself out the window without breaking a thing. Did I mention that Japanese Bobtails are known as an exceptionally intelligent breed?
Cat Fancier Association describes Japanese Bobtail cats as “full of energy, always playful, loving, endearing, and happy”, and that would describe Sam to a “T”. A couple of websites say that the average life expectancy of a Japanese Bobtail cat is 9 – 15 years. Sam turned 20 this month (that is, in March of 2019), and although he outlived the average by a stretch, we are still heartbroken to know that he is about to “shuffle off this mortal coil”. His decline was surprisingly rapid. He went from sleeping more than usual to a mere shadow of the cat he once was in just a few months.
On Tuesday, March 26th, we’ll be saying our final good-byes to him. We are fortunate to have at least one vet here on the Big Island willing to do at-home euthanasia, and she’ll be helping Sam to leave this life as peacefully and painlessly as possible.
I think he’s ready to let go of this life. He can no longer walk on his own for more than a few steps, and he’s mostly stopped eating, taking no more than a few bites or licks of anything other than water. I wish he could just let go on his own, but in all my life living with myriad cats and dogs, I’ve never been fortunate enough to have one just slip away without assistance.
We love you, Sam, with all our hearts. Your leaving us marks the end of an era, and it will be very strange to wake up and know you are no longer with us. We will miss you forever, my darling adventurer.