I Wonder How I Should Introduce Myself to Sam?

Our cat Sam sleeps on the bed as our kitten Boo looks at him from behind

Probably a sneak attack is best.

From 2013 after we adopted Boo, we kept him in isolation for a couple of weeks to let him build up his confidence and give the other pets time to adjust. The night before letting him into the house for the first time we let the other pets come into his room. Boo was eager to impress his older brother. Fortunately he did not follow through on his instinct to jump on Sam from behind.

Our kitten Boo looks like he is about to spring on our cat Sam from behind

A Slow Recovery

Our cat Sam sleeping on a blanket draped over my legs in February 2010

Hard as it is for me to believe, it’s been almost five weeks since Scout passed away. Her loss has been particularly hard on little Sam but he’s been making a slow recovery and is now nearly back to normal, or perhaps has reached the new normal.┬áSam loves snuggling on my legs (shown here a few years ago), to the point that if life were a cartoon I’d have permanent Sam-shaped divots on my legs. But after Scout died he’d only sit in my lap tucked up tight against my chest, as though he was huddling against the cold. After a couple of weeks he relaxed a bit and while still in my lap moved a few inches away, and then a few inches more, but he still stays so close that I can’t really work on my laptop.

I don’t know if he’ll return to sleeping on my legs or if I’ll have to adapt to his new position on my lap. Sometimes he’ll walk down to where he used to sleep but he’ll turn around and come back, so perhaps it’s just going to take a bit more time. He did go all the way down to my feet the other day, but not unaided. Our dog Ellie was snuggling up next to me as well and suddenly sat up and began licking him in the face. He put up with the indignity for a little while but when it was clear she wasn’t going to stop, he moved down to my feet until the coast was clear when she fell back asleep, and then he came back.

His purr has finally returned. It didn’t completely disappear after Scout died, but it got very quiet and hard to come by and didn’t last long. Just in the past few days he’s purred loud and long when we climb into bed at night, so he is definitely recovering.

So too am I.

Scout was my near and constant companion so when I’m at home even now her absence is clearly felt. After getting past that initial wall of grief in the days after she died, a shadow of sadness lurks and at unpredictable times I feel her loss most acutely. But that is at it should be, she was one of the best parts of my life.

With Sam snuggling too close for me to do much typing on my laptop, I’ve been catching up on a lot of old classic movies and British mysteries, usually with Sam on my lap, Ellie tucked up beside me on my right, with our other cat Emma a few feet to my left in her heated bed. Scout’s heated bed lies empty, and that in and of itself is surprising. Sam loved sleeping in her bed and I assumed after she died he’d take it over as his. But right after she died he’d only occasionally get in, then for a few weeks actively avoided it. Now he’s back to occasionally sleeping in it, but mostly it lies empty.

He has been sleeping in Ellie’s beds quite a bit, but that’s not unusual, he’s always done that. Emma has started doing it too, and I had to laugh the other day when both of Ellie’s beds near my office were full of cats and Ellie was scrunched up over on the floor beside them.

What a blessing they are, these little ones.

The Little Wolf Hunter

A close-up view of our cat Sam resting on my legs

Sam curled up and slept on my lap as I watched a documentary about the Druid wolf pack in Yellowstone. He woke when they showed some noisy ravens on a wolf kill and stood transfixed before the television, something I’ve not seen from him before. Suddenly wolves dashed across the screen and he jumped up and swatted madly at them. His claws were retracted so I let him have his fun attacking wolves and coyotes and elk and bison and all the animals of that great land. Finally, exhausted from the hunt, he settled back down to sleep on my legs. The documentary didn’t flinch from the brutality of the wolves to other animals and neighboring wolf packs, but even so, I hope for their sake they never have to face my little hunter. Particularly if I were to let slip the lie that they’re the reason he has to get his flea treatments.

These pictures are the first I’ve taken using the live view on the back of the camera instead of the optical viewfinder, something I can’t do with my older cameras. The live view allowed me to lower the camera to his eye level as he slept on my legs and get a much more intimate portrait.

A close-up view of our cat Sam sleeping on my legs

The Long Arm of the Paw

Our cat Sam sleeps on my legs with one leg stuck straight out

Little Sam likes to sleep tucked down in crevices. The other morning when I woke on my back with my left arm kinked by my side, Sam was snuggled in tight between my arm and chest. If I’m on my side he’ll tuck in behind my knees, and if I roll over slowly enough he’ll move with me in real-time, tucked in tight. When I’m sitting in my comfy chair, I usually drape a blanket over my legs so he can hang down between them, a favorite spot of his ever since we brought him home as a little kitten. He likes to sleep on my chest too, but since this is Scout’s favorite spot, it’s a good thing he doesn’t mind snuggling up elsewhere.

It’s led to many an evening where I’m laying in my chair with Scout asleep on my chest and Sam asleep on my legs, the two stretched out nose-to-tail, me covered in kittens. Since I can’t get up, I make my wife bring me my food and refill my glass. It’s not that I enjoy being waited on, but what else can I do? Wake them?