My father is known amongst family and friends as a cat whisperer. Growing up we had a cat named Sammy, and it’s safe to say this feline worshiped the ground my father walked on. In the early mornings before I’d get up for school, or even on weekends, I’d hear my father talking to someone about his plans for the day: So I think I’m gonna go run some errahnds; go to the dump and drop ah couple ah barrels ah leaves off then swing by the bank and the hahhd way-yah sto-wah. Brow furrowed, I’d think to myself: who the fuck is he talking to? I know my mother is still asleep, my sister’s not home...then who? Oh my god, he’s talking to the cat.
I would sneak down stairs to see it first hand: My father would be looking down at Sammy and she’d be looking up at him, purring, almost nodding along. Sammy was in love with my father; he was her man.
As the years wore on, Sammy became increasingly frail and was not able to jump on to the couch should she want to cozy up; she even lost a fang. Her health became so poor my father finally took her to the vet and was informed she potentially has a heart murmur. Would you like to give Sammy an MRI to be certain?
In the privacy of his own home, only 20 minutes later, my father exclaimed: AN M-AHHH-I? Fo-wah a CAT?! You gottah be pullin’ my leg. M-ahh-i fowah a cat. Can you believe it? But Dad! My sister and I would plead: You love her, and she loves you! She's at risk of having a heart attack! My father, still in shock, mumbling under his breath about the cost of an m-ahh-i. It was almost as if he was channeling Joe Pesci in Home Alone. Sam then got the nick name Heart attack cat.
In a last ditch effort to make Sam the cat feel more at ease about seeing the after life soon, my father decided to give her Fancy Feast; his version of Make A Wish for felines. A day turned into a week which turned into a month, and before everyone’s eyes, Sammy had all but made a full recovery. She was jumping on the couch again, going in and out of the house--hell: she even had a little wiggle in her hips again. This fierce feline was in it to win it again and she wanted everyone to know. Wouldjah believe it Mah-grett?! All because ah Fancy Feast! my father would exclaim.
Eventually time won the battle, and Sam the cat passed on. In front of the dryer. Due to my father’s early morning routine, he was the first one up and found her. I was sleeping at home that night, and he figured he’d better get rid of the body so I wouldn’t see her and freak out. He was protecting me from being sad. What does he do? He decides to stick her in a trash bag and stuff her in the barrel outside. The cat that worshiped the ground he walked on. He woke my mother up to tell her to tell me, and just like that, he was off to work.
Later that afternoon, my mom broke the news to me: Sammy had died. I don’t think she was prepared for my reaction, as we had a very tumultuous relationship, Sam and I. I hated her and she hated me and that was all there was to it. As soon as I heard the words Sammy and died, I began sobbing. The two of us figured out what to do with her remains, and went to the barrel to take her out. I was wailing so loudly my mother told me to be quiet, because she was nervous about the neighbors hearing my sobs. After a conversation with my dad: Should we cremate her? CREE-MATE A CAT?! YOU GOTTAH BE KIDDIN ME! my father said over the phone. So, my mother and I began the task of figuring out what do with poor Sammy. We took turns laughing and sobbing, and at the end of the day realized her remains were perfectly suited to lie under a bird bath. Rest In Peace Sammy, and know that Dad still loves you.