The first time I got a good look at Sam, he was flying through the air. Somebody was angry at this defenseless little kitten, so she threw the tiny ball of fur from her porch onto the driveway. The person doing the throwing never saw the kitten again. I stole him.
I don’t think much of people who let their dogs and cats breed indiscriminately. If that’s you, I’m sorry if it offends you, but we have so many cats and dogs being killed in shelters every day (and dying on the streets) that it’s irresponsible to be letting your animals churn out batches of kittens and puppies. Unfortunately, I have a neighbor who’s one of those people who doesn’t see anything wrong with it, so a beautiful gray cat of hers used to have two litters of kittens each year.
Sam was one of those kittens about four years ago. The mother and the kittens were never allowed into the house, so the kittens would grow up on the porch before starting to wander off into the neighborhood. Some would disappear for good. Some would get hit by cars. A lucky few would find homes. Then there was Sam.
I’ll never know what this woman was angry about when she threw Sam. I don’t really care. Nothing could justify what she did. When the little guy hit the ground, he started running in that awkward semi-slow-motion way that kittens do. He darted into bushes at the front of my house. The woman went back into her house.
I looked in the bushes for the kitten, but I couldn’t find him. But a little while later, I heard a faint meow on my porch. I opened the door and there he sat, waiting for me to pick him up. This little fellow wasn’t the least bit afraid. He was totally confident and very sure of himself. He seemed to love the attention and immediately started purring. Within a minute or so, he had balled himself up in my hand and was purring himself to sleep. (This is something he continued to do, as you can see in one of the pictures above.)
Since he already belonged to someone, I was torn about what to do. I didn’t want to leave him out there, but he wasn’t homeless — not technically. So I left him on the porch and went back inside.
A little while later, I checked again. He was still on the porch, sitting up and looking at the door — as though he was waiting for me to come back. I didn’t go out that time, because I didn’t want to encourage him to stay. But leaving the little guy out there alone was really tugging at my heartstrings.
When I went out the third time, he was asleep on my porch mat, as close to the door as he could get. It had now been hours and the woman hadn’t come to check on the kitten she had thrown. Without giving it any more thought, I scooped the little guy up and brought him inside. Other than for trips to the vet, he never left my house again.
I decided to name him for one of the men who had been important in declaring American Independence, because I decided he had come next door to declare his independence from where he had come from. So the little guy became Samuel Adams, and I always called him Sam.
After I’d had Sam for a few weeks, the woman who had thrown him mentioned to me that one of her cats was missing and she wanted to know if I’d seen it. She described Sam quite well. Without feeling even the slightest bit of guilt, I lied and said that I had no idea what happened to her cat. I also mentioned that I have two small cats who look a lot like him, though, because I figured if she was going to see him in one of my second-floor windows, she’d better have a reason to think it was another cat.
I’m not much of a thief. I’d normally feel terribly guilty for stealing anything. But stealing Sam was one of the better things I’ve ever done. He needed to get away from someone who would treat him like that.
Sam only lived for a couple of years, but he was a very loving cat who remained totally confident about himself and got along with other cats, with dogs and with people. I woke up one morning in March last year, and he was very, very lethargic — pretty much unwilling to move. Something was badly wrong with him, but I had no idea what it might be. I put him into a cat carrier and went to take a shower and get ready to take him to the vet.
I have one good piece of news about the whole situation. Another neighbor and I decided to get the female cat fixed who was having all the kittens. My neighbor approached the owner and made the offer, which was accepted. Although the cat still isn’t being taken care of, she’s no longer having kittens twice a year. It was the least I could do for Sam’s mom.