CLICK HERE to view Samantha's photo album and sign her guestbook
More of Samantha's story is on PAGE TWO.
Cat graphics kindly provided by CATSTUFF
In Memory of Samantha P. Kittyface
August 24, 1985 - June 23, 2003
Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods.  Cats have never forgotten this!

                                                                                Anonymous
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NINE LIVES TO LIVE. . .a memoir

By Samantha P. Kittyface, as told to and translated by Mike (who I'm proud to say is my brother.)
I never knew my father, and I don't remember my mother, or any of my brothers and sisters.  That was all very long ago.  I have a foggy recollection of fighting for a place at the table that was my mother's belly, crawling blindly over warm, wriggling, whining bodies, constantly searching, reaching out, seeking nourishment.  But the specifics are lost to me.  My roots are a mystery - sadly, it is this way for most of my kind, in spite of the fact that we used to be worshipped as gods in ancient Egypt.  It does give one paws.
My earliest memory is one of danger, then rescue.  I was just a wee thing, maybe two human months in this world at the most.  Lord knows how, but I got myself stuck in a damn tree.  We felines are always getting ourselves stuck in damn trees.  We can get up just fine - we love to be up high, looking down on the world, surveying the landscape.  It's the getting DOWN that befuddles us.  We try to go head first, and our claws betray us.  For some reason, the logic of tail first never enters our minds.  If I knew then what I know now!

So, somehow I ended up separated from my mother and brothers and sisters and crying for help from the crook of a tree, far from earth.  My predicament was good fortune in disguise, however, as the human lady who got me down eventually passed me into the hands of a charming young human boy.  I am not sure how much I believe in fate, but certainly my tree situation led me to this boy, and I have not known an unhappy day since.

Ah, yes, the boy.  It could not have worked out better if I had painstakingly chosen him myself.  He was a gentle spirit, kind and tolerant, with a soft voice that soothed me.  He was quite young himself:  I believe he had just celebrated his 21st birthday, although this whole "cat years versus human years" concept escapes me.  He opened up his arms and his life to me, and to this day, no lap is as warm and no touch is as comforting as his.

When we first met, he was sharing living quarters with two other human males.  All three made such a fuss over me!  At least one of them was home with me at any given moment, so I was never lonely.  I was christened "Samantha," a silly name that I've never been overly fond of, and hardly one fitting of my true nature as huntress, predator, and carnivore.  But I got used to it, and on rare occasions I even made a mild effort to respond to it.

I fit in just fine in this new place.  So many smells!  So many sounds!  So many trash cans to tip over and newspapers to shred and feet to stalk from under the dining room table!  So many windowsills loaded with sunlight and tempting Technicolor views of the grass and sky and birds and leaves outside.  I surveyed my surroundings endlessly.  I occasionally spied others of my kind sauntering by in the bushes or the alley behind the house.  I would call to them from behind the glass, but they either couldn't hear me, or they were ignoring me.  Cats have always been good at "ignoring."

Ours was a festive household.  My boy liked to sing, either by himself or along with one of his records.  I loved to watch those black shiny discs spin around and around on his stereo.  He would often sing directly to me as I sat in his lap, looking up at his mouth and compulsively kneading his belly with my front paws.  Sometimes he would hold me against his chest while he hummed in my ear, and we would sway back and forth as if we were dancing.  He was very light on his feet! 

One of the other boys in the house played the piano.  I would sit next to him on his bench while he played, watching his fingers flit and flicker back and forth, creating those wonderful sounds and vibrations.  It was magic. 

The third boy spent a lot of time inhaling funny-smelling smoke that seemed to help him relax after long shifts at the local hospital.  He constantly regaled all of us with tales of blood and horror.  The cat certainly never had HIS tongue!  I didn't understand most of what he said, but his wildly flailing hands and comically contorted facial expressions told me all I needed to know.   Humans aren't that difficult to figure out, if you pay attention.  They are pretty simple creatures.

Cat graphics kindly provided by CATSTUFF
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Our lovely arrangement did not last forever.  One day, all three boys split and went their separate ways, with my boy and I settling into a tiny basement apartment together.  Switching locations made me uneasy.  I was so used to all the smells and sounds of the old place, and this new place was unfamiliar and upsetting.  My boy would leave me on my own for the entire span between sun-up and sundown, going off to Morris knows where.  I knew loneliness for the first time in my life.  I know we cats have this reputation for being aloof and independent, and I am sure that is true for some of us, but living with the three boys and getting showered with constant love and treats and chin scratches had spoiled me.  I craved company.  I was definitely not pleased with this new arrangement.

I believe my boy sensed this loneliness within me.  On top of that, from time to time I would grow restless and anxious.  I would sit at the window, yearning and yowling.  Something inside of me ached and burned, and I would experience flashes of heat within my belly.  One night, during one of my restless periods, my boy opened the window and motioned for me to venture outside.  It was confusing, and I wasn't sure I really wanted to go, but the churning inside me won over, and I squeezed out into the world and leapt over the fence.

Oh, my, but those next few days were a blur.  I met so many cats and sniffed so many butts and drank from so many puddles and ate so much grass.  I felt rebellious and wild and free.  Male cats seemed to sense that I was out and about and ready for anything.  You should excuse the expression, but you couldn't swing a cat without hitting some feline Lothario, out to woo and seduce me. But once I consented and offered myself to them, things got ugly.  They would crawl on top of me and pin me down, and it would hurt, and we would howl as if we'd lost our minds.  Sounds came out of me I didn't know I could make!  They took turns, one right after the other.  There was very little in the way of finesse, and I can't say I enjoyed it much, but I couldn't make myself stop.  They would bite my ears and neck and be done within seconds, and then scamper off without so much as a wave of a paw or a fare-thee-well.  Men!

My restlessness had put me on autopilot, wandering the streets and crawling along fences, but as quickly as this restless feeling had started, it went away, and I was anxious to see my boy and be back inside again.  I was not cut out for the stray cat life.  I had a home and I needed to get back to it.  I retraced my steps, found our fence, and squeezed back in through the window that my boy had left open for me.  It was dark inside the apartment, but I easily found my way to my boy's bed and jumped up beside him.  He was wide awake, as if he were waiting patiently for my return.  I have no idea how long I had been gone, but judging by his cries and the tears that moistened my fur, he had missed me terribly.

I felt funny after that.  Not funny "ha ha," but funny "strange."  My body became chubby and awkward, and my underside began to swell and become sore.  I think my boy knew what was going on, and it almost seemed as if he had planned for this to happen.  My belly got bigger and bigger, until I just couldn't take it anymore.  I found a spot in the middle of the floor in the bedroom and just sprawled there, panting heavily.  My boy sat with me, stroking me and cooing softly.  I was quite warm, and my head was spinning.  I drifted in and out, and had fits of visions of millions of other cats before me, experiencing the same thing, having the same pain, pushing, breathing, showing me what I was supposed to do.  Suddenly, something shifted, and I felt a hot, wet lump pass between my hind legs.  I weakly lifted my head and saw this slick, plastic looking mass, jerking and twitching at my feet.  I craned my neck over and began licking it, cleaning it, smelling it, urging it into consciousness.  Just like that, it all made sense to me.  Instinct was taking over, and I was becoming a mother.

What happened next I've never understood. It stands out in my mind as one of the most disgusting things I have ever done.  It was so foul I can barely bring myself to talk about it.  Something else shifted inside of me, and out plopped this quivering mass of veiny, slimy, dark red . . . I don't KNOW what!  After the joy of seeing the little newborn baby-cat, this was quite a shock.  But again, instinct commandeered my senses, and I reached down and swallowed this horrific mess in just three or four gulps.  What the heck was I thinking?  It was hardly lady-like, but it seemed so
necessary
, and I must admit I felt energized and refreshed after downing that bloody, gelatinous glop.  It did elicit an "EWWWWW!" out of my boy, but he never left my side.  He was the perfect midwife.  He stayed with me as this whole bizarre ritual repeated itself two more times, and I collapsed, exhausted.  My boy gently placed me and my three squiggly, squirmy baby-cats inside a large box that was fitted with soft towels.  He beamed down at me and wept.  I could tell he was pleased, and that I had done a good job.  That particular moment, with my children by my side and my boy looking down on me with pride, was one of purest sweet contentment that I shall never forget.

Life for the next few human months was nothing but licking and cleaning and resting and letting the baby-cats have their way with my sagging belly.  So much for my figure!  But it was a warm, satisfying time, and it made me curious about my own mother.  Surely I was once like those sightless, fragile, birdlike creatures, stumbling and fumbling at my own mother's breast.  I wondered briefly about what might have become of her and my siblings.  Did we have a safe, warm home with a human family?  Or did we find shelter in an abandoned garage, or behind a dumpster, or under a porch?  Were we strays?  How had I become separated from them?  Did they ever wonder what had become of me?  I wished that I could contact my mother and let her know how nicely my life had turned out, AND that she was a grandmother! 
"The little furry buggers are just deep, deep wells you throw all your emotions into."

                                        Bruce Schimmel


More of Samantha's story is on PAGE TWO.
CLICK HERE to view Samantha's photo album and sign her guestbook