by Richard L Cohen
Since early childhood I grew up with and loved with all my heart two extraordinarily wonderful and loving German Shepherd dogs. I have always loved all dogs, but I was also aware that I loved all animals. I just did not have personal experience with cats. Well, over the past nine years I have been blessed to experience living with and loving, and being loved by, cats.
Now I am not biased or anything.... Sammy is our precious and beloved alpha cat. Sammy is a big boy with smooth and shiny black hair that is very soft to the touch. His eyes are big and round and golden. To me his face is almost hypnotic.
One activity that he loves is to sit inside corrugated cardboard boxes that are about 18 inches high and open at the top. While sitting inside a box, he meticulously and deliberately chews on its top edges, and he tears out hundreds of little pieces of cardboard. When Sammy chews on the edge of a box, it is obvious that he does so joyfully and enthusiastically, and he vigorously tosses the little pieces of the box all over the room. However, as amazing as it may seem, it is not a random act of play. When you look at the outcome of his behavior, it is obvious that it is not an accident. Sammy often chews out large curves that may be three feet in diameter, and a foot or more deep. The curve has to be very smooth, for if it is even a little bit choppy, he will work at it until it is smooth. Two opposing sides of the box may each be chewed to have identically shaped curves with identical dimensions. He usually only works on his project for a few minutes at a time. He will then leave the box, only to return a day or so later. Therefore, the project is a "work in progress" for several weeks or more. When you watch Sammy from a distance, it is evident that his activity is very playful and fun, but as incredible as it may seem, it is also by design! And when I observe Sammy's activity over an extended period of time, it is apparent that the final outcome is one that he had already designed in his mind, and is not an accident! Sammy is extremely thoughtful and creative and artistic, and simply put, he is brilliant!
Sammy does other things that are delightful to watch. I thought that only dogs would sit up upon request, but to my amazement, Sammy will sit up when we ask him to "Sit up for Mommy" or "Sit up for Daddy." Even more amazing is that Sammy taught himself to do this. He will typically come when you call him. And when he wants me to come with him someplace, he will walk at my side maybe one or two feet ahead of me, and every couple of steps, he will turn his head to look back at me to be sure that I am coming. To me it feels as though he is leading me by holding my hand with his. To my delight, Sammy exudes his love for me! I just sense it. With my fiancee Sammy does something that is extremely touching, extremely loving and personal. Sammy will sleep in bed with her, under the covers, with his face tucked into her very hand for hours at a time. And if this isn't love and trust, I don't know what is. He is also very relaxed and peaceful when she holds him upside down with his back pressed against her chest.
As I mentioned earlier, I am not biased (not much)! Sammy is "brilliant"! To me, Sammy feels like a little person. I call Sammy "Sweetness" because that's how I feel that he is. It is difficult for me to find the words to express how very proud I am of Sammy, and how very much I love him!