Good bye Samson

by Rick
(Toms River N.J. USA)

This is not a story of my black cat. Three cats live with me, but none are black. This is a story of a very big black feral Tom cat.

A friend of mine has a house and piece of property about five acres in a secluded area of the town. He said he has fed and kept a colony of cats about twenty years now. One day one of His children was having a sweet sixteen party and a young black Tom cat wandered in looking for a handout from their barbecue. My friends daughter is thirty five years old now.

As time went on more cats would show up on his property, some being dumped on or near his house. Some would be wearing collars flea or otherwise. Through the years my friend said the population would rise and fall between 15 and twenty five cats. These cats all sleep on the property. There is a detached garage, and three out buildings. The cats seem to take refuge inside these buildings in winter or bad weather. Some stay under his back deck in the summer and warmer times.

I found it amazing how well they seemed to survive outside. Especially with harsh winters.

He feeds them twice a day and can all them in by yelling here kity kity. It's something to see feral cats coming from all directions of the woods when he calls them for dinner. As time went on that black tom became enormous. He had a very large head and must have weighed every bit of fifteen to seventeen pounds, and he was lean.

He was king of the colony, and through the years had received many battle scars defending his territory. His ears were all chewed up and he would put his head down and growl at you if you came near him. His mean look would be enough to deter anyone from coming too close. He was the last cat to run even from humans.

The first time I came down my friends long driveway, the cat unnerved me by the look he was giving me. Well I began to drop off food for the colony over the last three years and the cats came to recognize my car, and would come running when they heard it. Even Samson the big black Tom stopped his growling,and would come near me.

Last year Samson was caught off guard by a coyote, and picked up by his back rump as my friend was sitting on his back deck. Well that big old cat managed to twist around and took one eye ball out of that coyote, and sent it screaming into the woods. But Samson sustained some very bad wounds to his back. We thought that was the end of the old boy, but by the time the middle of summer came he was healed and his fur was growing back again.

This past winter was very mild here in New Jersey, and it was easy on the cats. I noticed Samson slowing down, and he became friendly towards me by coming right up to me and meowing and brushing up against my pants. I used to bribe him with a can or two of tuna cat food he seemed to love. He also stayed close to the house now, and just seemed to enjoy basking in the sun on the deck rather then going into the woods.

Over three weeks ago Samson never came home for dinner and hasn't since. I started out by being afraid of the big Tom cat, but now I miss him. Samson did have a gentle side with all the kittens. Although the older cats could never touch his food, he allowed any kitten to eat with him even his favorite tuna. It seems Samson was close to or over twenty years old. That has to be ancient for a feral Tom Cat. Farewell old boy. Rest in peace. I miss you.

By the way a hunter recently killed a one eyed coyote, whose face had battle scars on the missing eye side. We know who did that!

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May 02, 2012
A very tough old black Tom cat.
by: Larry (editor)

Hi Rick,

What an amazing and interesting tale and very well told, thank you very much indeed for sharing Samson's story with us.

I don't want to raise false hope here and have to admit that I don't have any experience with, or know too much about, feral cats. But if someone said their domestic cat has been missing for three weeks, I'd say do not give up hope. Many a cat has returned after a lot longer than that.

True that twenty is a good old age, but Samson sounds a very tough old black Tom cat so maybe there is a chance. If not, you must be very pleased to have known him.

Thanks very much for your post once again Rick.

Larry (editor)

May 02, 2012
by: Teresa

What a great story! It's a true testament to the wild resiliant nature of the cat, as well as to the kindness and generosity of humans. I imagine you'll get comments of some sort about how bad it is to encourage feral cats, etc. but I applaud you for your lovely eulogy in honor of Samson.

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