Sam “Smooshie” Leone

I had never been a “cat person”.  All the cats my wife and I had were wonderful pets but were more hers than mine.  That was true until we brought Sam into our home in October of 1998.

Sam had a way of engaging you with his gaze that just made you feel there was a real communication happening, and on top of that, he had an entire vocabulary of meows.  All the other cats I’d known would, of course, speak but usually had a single primary meow, with maybe two or three variations.  Not Sam.  He had at least 50 different “words”.

There was his welcoming acknowledgement “chirp”; his questioning meow.  He had a meow which seemed to indicate agreement.  These meows had different consonant sounds: definite “G”; “M”; “R” meows, and many others I can’t begin to describe.

I can remember sometimes when we’d have people visiting and we’d be in the living room talking.  Sam would join the circle and his gaze would go from person to person as they spoke and then he might chirp his contribution here and there.

Sam touched me in a manner I never thought was possible and converted me entirely into a cat person.

He lived a long life, almost 19 years, and for most it he was very healthy and hardy.  He was easy, never a problem, he only brought us years of joy.  It was only in the last few months that we noticed that he was losing weight, and then in the last week his weight loss was precipitous.  We managed to get an emergency appointment with a holistic veterinarian and after a three hour visit with him we came away with some nutrients and a new diet plan, and guarded hope.  However, Sam was just too weak and he left our world on the next afternoon, which was Friday, February 19, 2016 just before Shabbat.

I never thought a pet could touch me the way Sam has – but now I know.

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