Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ode to the Old Cat by E. Alana James

© 2010

I had a friend who used to say her cat was "older than dirt" – our cat, Samson may also fit that description.  At 22 human years old, he was going strong until last week, when he obviously had a stroke.  His spirit is still strong, and although his body no longer moves much at his command he still has us – and his command over us remains as it ever was.  We are well trained and will do anything for him.
Samson is king over our household, ruler of dogs, and the one who sits wherever he wants whenever he wants.  No one would ever know that he came from humble origins, having been adopted from the humane society in Denver, USA.  Later, when transported by plane across the pond he settled into life in Castlepark as the one cat in residence  among all the holiday homes.  
He earned the name Samson his first day home.  Small bit of fur, sitting at my feet when  Caesar, my three year old Great Dane came roaring down the stairs and decided that this cat would be fun to play with.  Out goes all of Samson's hair (for a little guy he fluffs up brilliantly) and WHAM! he takes a big swat at Caesar's nose.  The Dane immediately sits down, looks crushed and gives me a face as though to say, "What did he do that for?"
For 22 years, he has shared our family's ups and downs, sitting on our laps and allowing himself to be stroked through all of it.  He mourned when Ceasar died and took the puppies that followed him quickly in hand (or paw as it were).  My life partner, Margie did not come from a house with cats and so believed that she did not like them.  Samson's purr, his gentle insistence on affection, and his demanding ways changed all that.  He played with toys until just a year or so ago, and easily leaped over the barrier into the bathroom where he is fed until just last week.  
He will move on to join the spirits of our other animal family members soon and will be buried on the hill with the other two who travelled with him from the US.  I will forever remember seeing their three crates get loaded into the plane at Newark, and their  affectionate companionship after that long flight.  Whatever was going on, Samson, Shadow and Stefan knew that the others were close by and obviously found comfort in that.
In his last years, as Shadow and then Stefan moved on, Sam showed us the power in flexibility.  Undaunted, he accepted puppy love and while no longer needing to dominate over the dogs as he did as a younger cat, he still maintained his unique space in their lives.  All the pack that our dogs run with come in, say hello to Sam, and then go out for their walks in the mornings.  He weighs less than five pounds, he stands less than 10 inches yet the size of his spirit has been enormous and he will be greatly missed.  

About the author:
E. Alana James lives and writes in Kinsale, Ireland where she moved as she reinvented the second half of her life.  Her website: is a repository of inspirational stories, big ideas and practical wisdom on how to stay flexible, change gracefully and create the life you want.  She loves to blemd science, subjective reality and metaphysics to help focus the power of our minds on the lives we want to live.
Alana enjoys the company of other nonfiction writers in Cork, Ireland as they meet on alternate Thursdays at the Cork City Library.  You can find more of their work at:

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this beautiful story about Samson. Until I read his stats, I thought he may have been a Maine Coon Cat descendent. Sure He has the lovely markings and spirit of one. (