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The following story is a submission for Trupanion’s “Pawliday Blog Contest”.

We had just pulled into our driveway one night in September when I heard the heartbreaking distress call of a cat somewhere in the bushes near our neighbor’s house. We went inside our apartment hoping our neighbor would let the poor thing in when he got home, if the little creature even belonged to him.

We soon began to hear the cat calling outside of our front door. Clearly she had noticed us and thought she’d give us a try. We went to the door and saw a young, malnourished, ordinary-looking tabby cat. Despite her obvious hunger, she seemed friendly and highly interested in us. Before we could inspect her for signs of  disease or signs that she had an owner, she slipped inside and cried at us while circling our legs, purring, and rubbing on things.

We managed to calm the desperately hungry creature with some sandwich meat and cheese, which she gratefully devoured, purring all the while.  Once her hunger had subsided she made herself at home. That first night, to our surprise, the place she most wanted to be was between us on the bed. We didn’t have the heart to move her, let alone put her back outside. So she stayed.

A couple of weeks passed and our search for her family produced no results. Selfishly, we were happy to have the uncommonly cuddly house guest and had hoped no one would speak up. She routinely curled up between us at night and made our little apartment so much more lovely to come home to. It seemed to me that she, too, wanted to stay with us rather than go back to wherever she came from. We hated to think about how she ended up in such a state. Did she escape or was she abandoned? I couldn’t fathom why someone would abandon such a uniquely sweet girl.

We brought her to the vet to get the usual tests and some much-needed flea treatment. The examination confirmed that she had no microchip, making it less likely someone was out there looking for her. The vet guessed that she was between 6 months and a year old. It was then that we also learned about the disease that took her less than a year later, feline leukemia. Somehow, though, it made her more special to us. We promised to take the best care of her until her time came, hoping it never would.

 

Words can’t adequately describe our affection for Samantha, nor the affection she seemed to have for us. Her playful youth was infectious and her fondness of being held and petted was a delightful little trait. She enjoyed giving what we began to call “kitty hugs,” when she would place a leg on each shoulder and burrow her face into our necks while her back legs carelessly dangled.

It seemed to me that Samantha was a gift to us. An unknown force brought her to us, knowing how much we needed her, even if we didn’t know it yet, because she did, without a doubt, need us. She fit so nicely into our lives that when she was gone, there was an unfathomable feeling of emptiness.

Samantha was the first cat that my fiancee and I had together, and I know we will never be catless again. Soon after she died, we adopted Eve and  then Harry, both of whom I wrote about in another post. Samantha is a good example of a reason why it is important to adopt pets, rather than breed them. There are so many loving creatures out there that have been abandoned and mistreated who need homes. You can’t ask for a more perfect and mutually beneficial arrangement. I can’t think of a better gift than the love from the cat that arrived on our front doorstep one night.

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