I have a cat named Sammy. He showed up on our doorstep on our 38th anniversary, April 12, 2012. In the bright early spring sunshine he appeared redder than a salmon with a white pinafore and bright yellow eyes — he was about 6 months old. Where he came from, we have no idea. Most likely dropped off by one of the city folk who thought he’d find a good home in the country — the ‘we can’t keep him or don’t want him so let’s get rid of him’ kind of folk.
He had obviously been on the road for a bit, his paw pads worn and cracked, filled with dirt. Of course, we thought he was feral at first, like so many before him who now sit grooming themselves in front of our fire. But, turned out he was friendlier than a puppy dog, so full of affection in fact, that we fell in love with him on the spot. I was working in a trailer on my property then, and there was no more room at the inn (my house), so Sammy became the official “trailer cat.” He’s now a full-fledged member of the clan inside the house, the trailer sits abandoned, icicles dangling from its windows, its arctic-cold interior brimful of boxes and other stuff that ends up in old, abandoned trailers.
In honor of Sammy and other cats’ uncanny power to cast a magic spell over their humans, here is an excerpt from a delightful book of poems, stories and paintings, “The Town and Country Cat” by Lynn Hollyns — a gift from my brother in 1982 that I still cherish.
While curled before the winter fire, listening to hush of snow upon the windowpane, it is nice to ponder feline lore and legends. Among these is an excerpt from “My Father as I Recall Him” written by Mary, the daughter of Charles Dickens. She nostalgically writes:
“One evening we were all, except father, going to a ball, and when we started, we left ‘the Master’ and his cat in the drawing-room together. ‘The Master’ was reading at a small table; suddenly the candle went out. My father, who was much interested in his book, relighted the candle, stroked the cat, who was looking at him pathetically he noticed, and continued his reading. A few minutes later, as the light became dim, he looked up just in time to see puss deliberately put out the candle with his paw, and then look appealingly at him. This second and unmistakable hint was not disregarded and puss was given the petting he craved.”