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Sam is the current incumbent in the Keyes household. He is a large brown tabby bicolour cat. That is to say, he is a bicolour cat whose non-white part is brown tabby. He has had some escapades:
Keep in mind that from now on, "Granny" is my Granny because we are all accustomed to calling her that.
Catlessness after Smoggy
With the demise of Smoggy, Granny was now all alone in the house. Naturally many people suggested that she should get a replacement but she was adamant that she didn't need or indeed want another cat. The thoughts of having to deal with another cat tragedy were too much and so, in spite of intense loneliness after Smoggy she remained catless. This was the situation as the summer passed from July into August and Granny's birthday approached. We decided to arrange a surprise birthday present. The problem with giving a present of a lovely furry little kitten is that the little creature has to be trained, a very labour intensive and messy exercise. If only you could get a cat that was already house-trained. Well, on contacting the animal welfare organisations, it transpired that this may in fact be possible. I was put in contact with a lady who ran a cat and dog's home. I described our circumstances and she said that she may have some suitable candidates.
Sam's all-too-shaking arrival
On the morning of Granny's birthday we popped around to wish her happy birthday. Michael had made up a birthday card on the computer featuring some of the Simpsons cartoon characters. Granny was delighted with the card and when she spotted 'Snowball II', the Simpsons cat, she said that this was the nearest thing to a cat that she was going to have in the house that day. Well I nearly had to stand on Michael as I thought that he was going to explode and blurt out to Granny what we had planned for the rest of the day. He didn't and I got him safely out of the house with our secret intact. We headed off beyond Limerick city to county Tipperary and using the directions supplied, navigated down countless country lanes and by-ways until we eventually found the charmingly restored farmhouse cottage where the lady ran the cats home. She greeted us and asked us in to the house where she said she had gathered a selection of cats who might fit the bill. Each of the cats had some tale of woe associated with them and indeed one cat had no tail at all! This cat actually would have been quite suitable were it not for the fact that she was almost a dead-ringer for Smoggy. We thought we were looking at a ghost and I can't imagine what Granny would have said if we arrived home with a tailless Smoggy. There was also a beautiful furry ball of a snow white kitten. She was gorgeous and very playful engaging herself in climbing up the drapes and teasing the other cats to play with her. We thought her a little frisky for our purposes though and decided to leave her for some other family who would better appreciate her. There were some other cats an other harrowing stories of abuse and animal rescue. Just then our attention was drawn to this monster which had just woken from a slumber and was stretching. At first we thought it was one of the dogs which had strayed in but no, it was a huge cat. The lady told us that this guy was called Smokey and in fact hadn't suffered any abuse apart from the fact of having been returned to the cats home when the family acquired a dog. In spite of his impressive size, he was in fact one of the gentlest of all the cats. Anyone strong enough to lift him was rewarded with a loud purring. We settled on Smokey and the kind lady who shared her home and her life with society's cast out cats, placed him in the cat cage we had brought. As we put the cat box in the car she happened to mention that Smokey wasn't very fond of car travel. As we set off she wished us well and reminded us that if things didn't work out, we could always bring him back. Our journey home was forty-five miles long and for every inch of every foot of every mile, Smokey mewed piteously! Nothing we could say or do would placate him. His crying seemed to get into our heads. We imagined at times that his miaowing sounded like real words. Eventually we reached Granny's house. Well whether she liked him or not, I was never again going to take this cat on any car journey. He was in Dromcollogher for good and was staying put! After we regained our composure, we brought the cat-box into Granny's kitchen. We placed it on the floor, opened the door and out trotted Smokey to survey his new surroundings. Granny was gob-smacked, but she was also delighted. She tried to pick up but she failed. Instead Smokey leaped with the greatest of ease onto chairs, tables and shelves. We gave him a little food and milk and in no time at all he settled in, rubbing himself affectionately against Granny's legs as if to say "I'm so happy to be here and I know we're going to get on just fine".
As the days passed Granny allowed him outdoors a little more. He explored the shed where the swallows were nesting. In a split second, he had leaped and climbed up onto the rafters and was stalking the birds. Smoggy would have been proud. Afterwards, he was allowed into the garden where he closely examined everything. He climbed over walls and went through the hedges to the next door gardens. At all times he was happy to return home and Granny was soon happy that he wasn't going to wander off. She wasn't sure about his name though. Apart from the fact that there had already been a Smokey in the house, the name Smokey just didn't seem to suit him. If Granddad was still around, he would have christened him in no time, but it took the rest of us a little longer to come up with the moniker 'Sampson'. Intended to reflect his stature and strength, we gave him the new name in the full knowledge that it would be abreviated and so it is that the current incumbent in Granny's house today is lovingly known simply as "Sam".
The "Marmalade" Cat
Some time after SAM had settled in a very strange thing happened. A ghostly mewing was heard by Granny in the yard. She was startled because Sam was curled up on a chair in the kitchen. What could have been making the crying sound? Some time later that evening when we were visiting her, she started to tell us about the cat-like sounds that she was hearing. Just then at the kitchen window, we saw two little green eyes looking in at us from the darkness outside. It was a gorgeous dark orange coloured cat. The fine marmalade coated cat wasn't at all like the usual waifs and strays we were used to seeing wandering in from the farm. No, this was a quality cat, possibly with a pedigree. She was mewing loudly just then and seemed quite hungry. The strange visitor didn't seem to be afraid of us, even when I tapped at the glass. Granny was in a quandry. She didn't like to think that the poor animal was hungry but on the other hand, she knew that if she fed the stray, she would have effectively adopted another cat. At this time, Sam was quite enough to deal with. We stiffened our resolve and convincing ourselves that the cat had just wandered into the yard from some neighbouring house, we decided to ignore it and hope that it would tootle off home.
Well bright and early the next morning, the marmalade cat appeared again at the window. This time Granny relented and set out a dish of milk, which was quickly and appreciatively lapped up. Granny was wondering what to do next. Someone suggested that she should put a notice that a stray cat had been found, in the Vet's window. Clutching at this, her only straw, she made out a little notice and headed off to the Vet's surgery. When she got there, she asked the receptionist if they wouldn't mind displaying the notice about the stray cat. The girl said fine, and curiously she asked if she could read the notice first. "A 'marmalade' cat", she asked. "When did this cat first appear?", she followed with. Granny told her about the first time she heard the miaowing in the yard two days previously. The receptionist called the Vet from the surgery, and they asked Granny a few more questions about the cat. Apparently, they had 'lost' a cat answering to the description on the notice, two days earlier. The cat had been dropped in to have an injection against some cat disease or other, and it had escaped. The Vet was very relieved and so too was the lovely woman who called to Granny's house later that day to become reunited with her beloved Marmalade Cat. Sam was once again the sole occupier and king of the castle.
Sam's mental anguish
Sam had been showing signs of physical and mental problems. On the physical side, he had taken to constant scratching and licking. Initially the vet attributed this to an allergy and had prescribed a course of tablets. The tablets needed to be crushed and mixed through his food, which he then gobbled up. While all this was going on Sam's mental frailty manifested itself in his new-found fear of - everything! It got to the stage where he wouldn't even walk through an open door for fear of the 'demons' that lurked in the shadows behind the door. He was absolutely convinced that the cat-flap was possessed and steadfastly refused to use it. It was at this stage that he was deemed 'non-compis-mentis'. As the supply of tablets was coming to an end and the condition was showing no sign of improvement, Granny was moved to contact the vet again. This time the vet paid a house-call. This was this particular vet's first visit since he had 'attended to' Smoggy. When he saw Sam he was astounded. He said he was the finest cat he had seen for many a long day. He also said Sam had fleas! Quickly and without fuss, he gave Sam a few injections under the loose skin on his back, and that was it. In no time at all, Sam's physical condition improved and so too did his mental well-being.
Horrible Harry: The Feline Bully
Well, all was so well with Sam for so long. He had settled into a nice routine. Three feeds a day with nuts at night. No less than three cat-flaps have been installed so that he can come and go as he pleased. More importantly, this means that Granny doesn't have to get get out of her bed during the night, as had been the regime with Smoggy. All the access and feeding arrangements were working just fine, except for Sam's drinking problem of course. Granny had placed a dish of fresh water and a lovely dish of cool milk, fresh from the fridge, beside Sam's food with each meal, but Sam never touched either. Instead he would insist of hopping up on the kitchen work-top and drinking from the sink. Granny was at her wits end accommodating Sam's strange drinking arrangements and also Sam never finished his food and Granny was constantly scraping the remains of his meals into the bin. Then Granny began to report that Sam was getting much better at finishing his food. When she would come down in the morning, the dish would be clean, the bowls of water and milk would be empty and Sam would be standing there, ravenous and ready for more food. Granny was delighted. She was slightly worried that perhaps Sam would overeat and become fat, but he showed no such signs. If anything, he was getting thinner. One morning Sam had snuggled up on his perch after his breakfast. The 'perch' is a very cosy shelf over a radiator which was first explored by Smoggy. Granny rubbed Sam as he settled down for his morning snooze, and she went about her business. As she was passing the utility room door, out of the corner of her eye she noticed that the cat was again eating from the breakfast left-overs. "Good boy Sam", she said to herself, "finishing off your breakfast, I see." Then she heard snoring coming from the direction of the perch, it was Sam. Granny scratched her head and did a double-take. She peered into the utility room again only to find that the cat eating the food was not Sam, but a stranger. In her shock, she called out "Sam!" and with that the interloper scampered off out throught the cat-flaps and was out of sight in an instant.
Granny put two and two together and figured out that the empty recepticles in the morning were not in fact due to Sam's improved appetite, but rather to the thief in the night. Not only that but regularly, Sam had scratches and cuts on his nose. Now Sam's pink-white nose is one of his most endearing features and to have it defiled so, greatly upset Granny. She began to imagine awful scenes every night where the brazen thief would push his way in through the cat-flap. Sam would attempt to repel the unwelcome visitor and, in the ensuing foray, would suffer a cut on the nose when the stranger lashed out with his claws. Once or twice, Granny again actually saw this huge cat in the utility room, stealing Sam's food. She has christened him 'Horrible Harry'. At this time she had no knowledge of the similarly-named fictional character Horrid Henry. At first, she erected a 'barricade' at the 'bakery-door' cat-flap. Horrible Harry quickly got round this, first by knocking it over and then by coming over the roof of the bakery shed. Then every night Granny decided she had to remove the food from the utility room in the hope that he might stop calling, if there was no food to be got. In spite of all her attempts however, Sam continued to appear in the morning with new scratches to his nose. What was to be done about this horrible feline bully?
Harry Sighting at Courthouse
It might seem from the title that Harry had been brought to justice for his crimes of Trespass, Cat-food stealing an Assault with a deadly paw. Unfortunately this was not the case. Instead, one evening, when out walking on the footpath by the Courthouse, we spotted a silhouette of a cat on the wall. As we approached, he jumped from the wall, displaying his huge size, gigantic furry tail and small head. We looked in at him and without any fear, he stood his ground and mewed at us. It was none other than 'Horrible Harry' himself!
Now this Courthouse is very far away from Granny's house, where most of Harry's offences are perpetrated. He seemed to patrol a very extensive territory indeed. Now the worrying thing about this was that Sam may have been tempted to follow the street-wise marauder on his ramblings. Harry may be adept at crossing streets and roads and at avoiding speeding cars, but Sam is a house-cat and before that he lived in a cat-farm in the middle of nowhere. It may even be that Sam has already roamed the country-side with Harry. Could this be where he has picked up some of his cuts, abrasions and injuries? Anyway we hoped that Sam contented himself with the confines of Granny's house, garden and neighbouring gardens and stays away from the highways and byways.
Well it is said that all good things must come to an end. Harry was hardly a good thing from Sam's point of view but his visits have come to an end. No more scratched noses, no more empty dishes, no more frightened Grannies hooshing unwelcome guests out the cat-flap. Just as suddenly as he first appeared, Harry disappeared. What has happened? Who cares? There is a theory that he may have emigrated, gone to seek fame, fortune and free food elsewhere. It is thought that perhaps the court-house sighting, which turned out to be the last, may have been Harry actually setting out on his journey. In any case, Horrible Harry is now but a legend.
Sam steals Michael's chair!!!!!!!!!!
One night, Sam seemed very uppity, even slightly violent (Michael claimed that the spirit of Smoggy had possessed him) about something. When Michael went out to the utility room to get the de-Sammer (the lint remover that Granny and I use to get Sam-hair off our clothes) he came back to find Sam in his chair!
Well, he was furious and it gave rise to a feud - between a child and a cat! Now he glares at Sam every time he finds him in the chair and sits there triumphantly every time he doesn't.
Sam's drinking problem
This was written from my own point of view.
As mentioned above, Granny would place a dish of fresh water and a lovely dish of cool milk, fresh from the fridge, beside Sam's food with each meal, but Sam would never touch either. Instead he would insist of hopping up on the kitchen work-top and drinking from the sink. Lately, Granny cracked down on this and he stopped. Well, I observed him doing it once or twice when she wasn't looking, but I alerted her. Now, just as she thought she had him cured, she saw him drinking out of the ............. TOILET!!!!!!!!!!! This was very bad. Coinciding with this, she replaced the upstairs toilet and put the old one in the yard, which Sam passes through every time he leaves the house. He was observed a few times sitting up on this, sticking his head in to drink the rain water. Real toilets are now kept fully out of bounds from him. He has taken to actually drinking the milk now.
P.S. Sam owns a website.
B.T.W. This is not a cat lookup service.