Sammy

I got to thinking the other day about all the pets I have had in my lifetime. I’ve had several, as have most people I suppose. Having pets teaches kids so many things, like responsibility and empathy. Since I was a kid I’ve been a softy for animals and I’ve always cried like a baby (even now) when a beloved pet dies.

My first pet was a male German Shepherd. His name was Blitz, which was short for something in German, but I just don’t recall what that was. He was very protective of me and our backyard. We had to rehome him because he tried to bite many people who got too close to the fence, including a man who worked for the city electric company. My parents thought it was best to avoid getting sued.

We eventually got another dog when my baby sister was just barely able to talk. The dachshund-beagle mix was named MiMi because all my bratty little baby sister could say was, “Me! Me! Me!” She lived to be a ripe old age but had to be put down when she started to develop tumors. (The dog, not my baby sister.)

I was in the 5th grade (I think) when the class guinea pig had babies and the teacher decided to draw names for who would get to take a baby home as a pet. I just happened to win one! I named my little guy Snorky, after one of The Banana Splits. If you don’t know who they were you can Google it. Snorky always squealed his guinea pig squeal when he heard the refrigerator door open. He knew we kept his veggies in there.

We had a hamster when we were growing up, too. I don’t recall its name but I do remember one night we heard a squeaking-squealing noise and we thought it was Dad making his weird noises. Turns out the little hamster got out of its cage and our cat Fluffy had it cornered. Mom saved its life.

We had a cat named Fluffy, as mentioned above. I don’t know what happened to her but I remember when she had babies. There were 5 or 6 of them. I think that’s when I developed my eternal love and admiration for cats.

We had a tomcat named Tom when I was a baby/toddler. I have a photo of me holding Tom but I don’t remember him. I remember Mom telling me years ago that Tom would be gone for days and when he returned, he was always covered with ants! (Maybe this is when my love of cats developed and not with Fluffy!)

I think we had pet mice at one time, too! I recall having 2 mice in an old aquarium made into a mouse house. Then, insanely, we had about 3,024 babies and had to give them to a pet store! No more mice!

One of my most unusual pets growing up was a tortoise named Sammy. He lived in our backyard. I don’t recall where we got him. He lived in and under an old dog house. I fed and watered him every day. He was something! Sometimes, he would leave our backyard and would be missing for days, even weeks at a time. The neighbors would find him in their gardens and bring him back to our house. He was really hard to see, so we painted yellow spots on his shell so we could find him more easily. We eventually donated him to the local zoo so he could be with other tortoises. We visited on occasion but since his yellow spots wore off, we couldn’t tell which one was Sammy anymore!

Since I grew up (hahaha) I can’t even remember how many pets I’ve had. But I CAN tell you, they’ve mostly been cats! How many pets did you have as a child? What was the most unusual pet you had?

 

Today I Cried

It might sound trivial to some, but today is the anniversary of my best buddy Fuzzy’s death. He was the best cat ever. I cried, as I always do when I think about him. He’s only been gone since February. I hope it gets easier to remember him.

It was 1998 and my kids and I were at my sister’s house for a visit. My sister’s kids and mine were outside playing and they found a litter of kittens. I don’t recall if there was a mother cat with them or not. The kittens were all adorable but one stood out from the rest.

He was a tiny, gray striped male with a huge personality! He played with his siblings but also by himself. He was the happiest little guy! We took him home and named him Fuzz.

Fuzz was spoiled rotten before too long, of course, but he was a good cat! He never had a problem using the litter box, he had manners when we were eating, and he didn’t claw the furniture. He was so cuddly and sweet at bedtime. He slept with me and there were many times over the years that I’d wake up to one of his paws stretched across my face.

When he was a young cat, he loved our Christmas trees! I always had to set up the tree without any decor until he got his climbing frenzy out of his system. It was hilarious watching him climb and go nuts. At that time he didn’t go outside so it was so new and fun for him!

Fuzz was very protective…of ME anyway. There were many times he jumped in between me and some critter in the yard! Sometimes it was an opossum and sometimes a skunk. That cat jumped between the critter and me before the critter could get too close. It was amazing!

He spent a lot of his time outside so he was very street-smart. It’s miraculous that he didn’t get caught by a coyote or hit by a car; but like I said, he was street-smart. I can count on one hand how many times he had to go to the vet because he was sick or hurt.

His last year with us, he began to show his age and he started losing weight. Then came his uncontrollable hunger, which is when I took him to the vet. Kidney Disease. That dreaded kidney disease. He wasn’t going to make it to his 19th Christmas. I knew it was just a matter of time at that point and gave my poor Fuzzy anything he wanted. Why not? Wouldn’t you want someone to give you anything you wanted if you were dying?

Fuzzy’s favorite foods were chicken, tuna, cheddar cheese, milk and vanilla ice cream. So, when he was hungry….which was almost all the time in the last few months of his life….I gave him chicken, tuna or cheddar cheese. I didn’t give him much of the other things because it wasn’t good for the litter box if you know what I mean.

Last February, my youngest cat caught a respiratory virus and I feared the others would get it too. They did. I spent 3 entire weeks going back and forth to the vet, cleaning and disinfecting, and trying to nurse all 6 cats back to health. I was not able to help my buddy, Fuzz. He was too sick and too weak. When he refused to eat, I tried to force him. He wasn’t having that at all. I knew I was going to have to take him for his last ride.

It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. I didn’t want him to suffer any more than he already had. We said goodbye to him at 4 pm on February 23, 2017. We took him home and buried him in the garden. He was 18.5 years old.

He would have been 19 years old this month. I have never had a cat live as long as Fuzz did. Now I have two 15-year-old cats that are really starting to show their age. It won’t be long now before I lose them. It really sucks when you lose a furbaby, but it’s even harder when they have been with you for so long! Fuzz grew up with my kids! The other two senior cats actually did too!

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