|Birth: ||Jun. 1, 1992|
|Death: ||Jun. 17, 2002|
The Sunlight Has Gone From Our Day
In Hebrew, the name Samson means brilliant, a bright ray, sunlight.
When our feral Boopsie had her only litter in June 2000 before we trapped her for spaying, she'd given birth to four adorable kittens. All black Smut was fathered by black and white Sylvester; gray and black tabbies Spic and Span were fathered by George who was a brown/black tabby with white markings; but Toffee was the only kitten who had us stumped. We finally decided that she had to have been fathered by an unneutered neighborhood pet cat because, though we'd searched and searched the neighborhood for a feral who resembled her, we came up blank.
Then one evening out of seemingly nowhere, a gorgeous but badly battle-worn feral tom strolled up to our feeding stations to eat. He was a stunning cat, even with his severely mangled ears and tail. He was large, with remarkably long and powerful legs. His sleek coat rippled with steely muscles. He kept himself well-groomed for a feral cat, but absolutely wouldn't let us come close to him.
And so, I named this magnificent tom Samson because his stature and attitude brought immediately to mind the Biblical story of Samson. His rich, rich coloring was like that of the brilliantly sunlit summer's day he'd meandered into our lives. For nearly eighteen months, he craftily evaded my carefully set trap, but I continued to hang onto the hope that I would trap him soon.
Our Toffee is practically his spitting image. Both have the same incredibly beautiful blue eyes and have a soft cream medium-length haired coat with faint soft brown dilute tabby markings. Samson's body was solid cream, with tabby legs, tail, and head. Toff has a much, much darker soft brown mingled throughout her cream body fur with tabby legs, tail, and head, but there is absolutely no doubt that he is her father.
Samson disappeared from our colony in March 2002. Shortly after Craig had his prostate surgery in late April 2002, Sam reappeared, briefly eating from the patio ferals' food dishes. Then that, too, stopped. However, on two occasions while I'd be working in the yard, Sam would come into the yard, sit close to the cyclone fence, and intently watch me. If I would try to approach him, he would calmly arise from his upright sitting position and slowly wander off our property, never once looking back.
All those months we'd driven ourselves nuts trying to figure out what all this odd behavior meant. Again, he disappeared - this time for over three weeks.
Sunday morning, June 16, 2002 while getting ready to leave to pick up Mama from church, I saw a strange cat on the patio. I eased out the den door to take a better look. The cat had his back to me as he crouched at the dry food bowl.
He was full of old battle scars, with a recent but on-the-mend wound just behind his right ear. His fur was greasy, unkempt, matted, and stretched across a feeble, feeble looking skeleton. He slowly raised his head as I got right on top of him. I was staring into the once beautiful and proud gaze of my Samson. My heart broke into a million pieces - I knew then that he'd come home to die.
Amazingly, he let me scoop him up. I placed him into our large laundry/storage building converted to a "cat house," giving him bowls of fresh water, dry kibble, and Select Care wet food. He ate only about half of the Select Care and touched nothing else. I put Neosporin on that wound behind his ear and put an application of Kitten Advantage on him (kitten dose because he was so pathetically thin and way underweight). I gave him a fresh litter box and dragged out an old soft blanket for him to rest on, which he sank onto as soon as he finished eating. When we left that morning, he was purring - the first time we'd ever heard him purr.
When we returned around 4:30 in the afternoon, he was in the same position, but his breathing was becoming ragged. Each time we checked on him, he would be the same. After Craig went to bed, I'd continue to check on him every hour on the hour. For some reason, he would struggle to his feet, stagger to me to rub against my ankles. I decided to hurry to him so that he wouldn't have to struggle so.
Around 2:00 in the morning, I thought I'd give him one last check and go to bed, but I found him in bad, bad shape - he had worsened considerably since the 1:00 check. His breathing was deeply labored and he was badly congested. I lay down beside him, knowing in my heart the worst, but praying for him to get better. I talked to him and stroked him over and over. This formerly untouchable feral tom cat would lean into me for scritches and pets, lay his head in my hand, raise his chin for more scritches, roll onto his back and offer me his thin, sunken-in belly for scritching - I must say I cried the rest of the night. Craig got up at 4:00am and I tried to get a couple of hours sleep, but I was up again as soon as he left for work.
At 7:30am Samson and I were ready to head for Dr Steve's clinic in Shreveport. We beat the good doctor there. As Dr Steve examined him, he said he'd do the FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus) test first. If it was negative, he would do additional testing to find the cause of Sam's rapid decline.
He said, according to the teeth check, that Samson was an old cat for a feral - somewhere around 10 years old. I broke down - to think he'd been unneutered and had suffered all these years.
The luke was positive; in fact, he was in the advanced chronic stages of the disease. There was no hope, no promise that he wouldn't continue to suffer his remaining few hours, so I OKed his release from this life of hell. I held him as Dr Steve prepared the shot, telling him how sorry I was that I wasn't smarter than he with the trap and that soon he'd be strolling across the Bridge, whole and well again. Looking up into my eyes as Dr Steve administered the injection, he took his last breath and quietly lowered his still magnificent head into my hand.
Sam was a beautiful cat who didn't deserve to die such a horrible, painful death, who should have been neutered years ago, and who should have been kept indoors loved and pampered for years more to come. Somehow he knew enough to come to the only home he knew. I sincerely believe that he came back to us knowing he was dying. Knowing this, I brought his sad little body home. We laid him to rest beside our little feral RedBoy. Two wonderful, beautiful little cats who are the tragedy of a cruel, throw-away society. I'm so thankful they were part of our lives. ❤
Please note: Though I never was able to take a photo of our feral boy, Samson, the photo on his memorial of our Aspen as a kitten reminds me much of him. Of course, our Samson had just nubs for ears since he'd had his mangled in many, many cat fights due to not being neutered.
Remember Our Love
I was chosen today
I'm learning to fly
the world took me away,
but please don't you cry.
And I chose you today
to try and be strong
so please don't you cry
and don't say that I'm gone.
When you're feeling alone
just remember our love,
I'm up near the stars
looking down from above.
Remember our love
In a moment you'll see
that I'm still here beside you
when you're thinking of me.
~ Julie Epp ~
Specifically: Buried beside our RedBoy in our back yard critter cemetery.
Created by: sniksnak
Record added: Aug 08, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 95000998
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