Time goes by so quickly. It’s hard to believe that it was two years ago when I got a call from my father-in-law that my first “baby,” a little cat named Samantha, had died.
It was a strange time in my life since our youngest child had just started kindergarten and after 12 years of never having a moment to myself I now had six hours.
One day I sat down at the computer and wrote about the little cat that got my husband and I ready to be parents. I then decided to use this story to start my blog.
Who would have thought that two years later I would not only be a blogger, but now a Co-Editor/Owner of an online Magazine for women.
It only seems fitting that the same animal that helped me start my career as a mom would indirectly help me start the next chapter of my life.
This essay was originally published in November 2010 on Momster.com, I then posted it on this site last August. Thank you for letting me re-visit it once again.
When my husband and I first thought about starting a family, we decided we would get a cat. We assumed that if we didn’t kill the cat, we could probably handle a baby.
Since we lived in Manhattan, we decided to adopt a cat from the ASPCA. Samantha was a cute little thing that was found wandering the streets of New York. We took one look at her sweet face and we were hooked!
Joe and I went predictably crazy over our new addition. Many, many people made fun of how crazy we went over her.
I’ll never know why.
Perhaps it was because she had more toys than most children.
Or maybe it was our decision to feed her the pricey speciality cat food that could be found only in pet stores.
But, well we had to do that. The one time Joe had the nerve to pick up a grocery store brand, she picked out each inferior piece and left only the fancy brand in her dish.
Did I forget to mention she was a genius? How could we feed her Tender Vittles when she so clearly was telling us her preference?
Maybe we were a tad obsessive.
It didn’t help that poor Samantha had a chronic viral condition, so she frequently got eye and respiratory infections.
I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it, but I remember one night at 12:00 a.m. Joe and I got into a cab with our “baby” so we could take her to an all night vet because we were so worried about her.
The poor thing had a plethora of prescription drops and antibiotics. We became quite skilled at getting her to take each and every one, and the skills have been put to good use with three children!
Nights that previously were spent reading or watching a movie were now spent playing with our sweet cat. Joe would take her out into the hallway of our apartment building and run back and forth with her.
We especially loved it when our neighbor’s three-year old son would knock on the door and ask to play with Samantha. She may have looked like an ordinary cat, but to us she was our baby.
She was also a great comfort to us at one of the saddest points in our life.
Each of the four times I miscarried, it was Samantha who would sit with me in the dark as I mourned my loss. Holding her and feeling her warm fur helped with the devastation I felt over our losses.
When we moved to Queens, Samantha kept me company and made the move less traumatic. I could focus on her adjustment to the new house and not think about my own.
Looking back, I crack myself up about just how crazy we went over our cat. But our sweet cat did what we hoped she would do, she helped us get ready to be parents. And, in her own way she made us a family.
A little more than two years after our first miscarriage my husband and I welcomed our first child into the world. If you thought we went nuts over the cat, you can only guess what a fuss we made over our beautiful newborn son.
In the months before Tom was born, I diligently got Samantha ready for the changes that were coming. What I didn’t anticipate is that our son would be extremely allergic to our first baby!
Luckily for us, my father-in-law was only too happy to give Samantha a new home. The two of them became great friends for the next 12 years.
This August 30 would have been Samantha’s 16th birthday. But last fall, she had to be put to sleep after a long illness.
I always do my best to keep my feelings in check and in control around my kids, but when I got the call that Samantha was gone, I just sobbed. I missed my friend.
I have been blessed with many mentors in my 45 years. People who challenged me to become the person and parent I wanted and still want to be. With the risk of causing my cousin, Donna, a laughter-induced heart attack, I consider Samantha “the cat” one of them.
Samantha got me ready to be a parent like no teacher, parent, or friend could. She gave me first-hand experience in caring and loving something that was totally dependent on me.
I will always cherish the sweet memories of her and how she helped Joe and I get ready for the adventure of raising the three wonderful children we have now.
As always, I thank you for supporting me and the crazed appliance. Be sure to drop by Bonbon Break this week, we have a great issue for you to enjoy!
you know this crazy cat lady LOVED this post and made me teary eyed. oh, kathy, i can so relate to the feelings you had for samantha. steve and i say every single day “what would we do without our cats?!” they are truly are babies and i joke that i don’t know how i could possibly love anything more…i, like you, found such great comfort in them with all of my losses. twinkie and muffin are sitting beside me right now as i type. i constantly say to steve they are never allowed to pass. 🙂 i am so sorry you lost samantha last year…it was wonderful to read about all of your memories and times shared together. <3
i hope you and your family are enjoying october!!
sendings lots of love xoxox
While I often joke about our cats, I still remember, fondly, my first cat baby.
Rebecca Hawkes says
Lovely post, Kathy. What journey you are on!
What a sweet tribute to your cat. I affectionately refer to my cat as the “devil” cat. He used to wait in the hallway or under the bed for someone to walk by and would attack, with claws out. He usually drew blood. I used to be terrified to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. When we were trying to see our house, he attacked the prospective buyers. I guess he is just protective of us or his territory.
Becky Jane says
You’ve come a long way baby!
Our pets can become such an integral part of our lives. My little dog ‘Pepper’ is such a sweet companion for me during the loooong days while my teens are gone to who knows where and CL is at work. (I really do know where my kids are, but they are gone so much now that I’m not #1 in their lives anymore…boohoo)
Life by Cynthia says
What a lovely post. Oh Samantha… I love how she brought out the mommy & daddy out of you & your hubby…
Lisa Gradess Weinstein says
As a fellow cat owner Kathy – I can totally relate, and agree! I still play “catch the string” every night with my “baby”!!