It seems there are some creatures that pass through our lives that have bigger personalities than their size would make you believe possible. Amasa was one of those creatures.
Karin and I were living in Saratoga Springs NY in 1996 and we had two cats, Poky and Spaulding and they were great friends with each other and us. One day Poky didn’t come home……………one day turned into one week and then two and three and we figured we’d never see him again. His pal Spaulding was obviously upset and he just wandered around the house never seeming settled. So after almost a month we decided to get Spaulding some company of his own kind and went to the shelter and picked out an orange kitten they called ‘Tad’. He was less than a year old and full of personality and energy. He had long fur and these earnest eyes that seemed to look at you and understand. We brought him home and named him ‘Amasa’ after the color of the burnt orange sandstone on the Amasa-back mountain bike trail in Moab Utah.
The first night we had Amasa home we heard a mournful crying at the backdoor in the middle of the night and I thought it must be the kitten but I got up to check and much to everyone’s surprise Poky was at the back door – home after nearly a month missing. He came in and the first thing I said was to Poky – “Poky, we have some explaining to do’ as Amasa ran up to him like he owned the place. So now we had three cats.
Not all that long later we picked up and moved almost 3000 miles west to Bozeman and the boys came along for the ride. Sneaking them into hotels at night was the challenge of that trip – we always asked for a room near the rear entrance so we didn’t have to carry their boxes past the front desk.
Once in Bozeman the three boys settled in quickly and all seemed to love it here. Amasa in particular loved the warm sun and cool air and would go out onto the back deck and sun himself with all four feet straight up in the air. A few years later we fell for a little girl kitten at the shelter and with the addition of Inga we now had four cats. Yes, we were that crazy couple without kids and a house full of cats.
So we had three New Yorker cats and one Montana local living with us and over the next few years we lost Poky at the age of 15 and then Spaulding at 17. This left Amasa as the only transplanted New Yorker – a distinction he somehow seemed to wear with pride. At some point we welcomed an all white Manx we named Pearl into the house and then there were three. They all got along so well and was a joy to watch them play or all nap together in the warm afternoon sun.
About 6 weeks ago Amasa started acting funny – uncomfortable and unsettled. He seemed to not want to eat as much and he never seemed to really sleep. He lost a lot of weight. At some point recently he stopped eating even his most favorite food (canned tuna) and we knew this wasn’t good. We brought him to our trusted Vet Ruth and made one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever made. Ruth thought he had some kind of cancer and that there was nothing that could realistically be done. Amasa was 15 years old.
We miss him very much and he left a huge hole here. His personality was so big and he was always in the middle of the action. We loved seeing him at Christmas – he’d sit under the tree and play in the pile of ripped open wrapping paper. One time many years ago Karin’s family came to visit and we set up a train-set under the Christmas tree and everyone gathered around to watch it go round and Amasa got right in line with everyone else to watch. He was one of us. So it’s especially sad that he left us right before the holidays. I wish we could have him under the tree again but we will have to just remember him and the 15 years of smiles and joy he brought into our house and shared with us and our guests.
I could tell endless stories of how he’d chase dogs out of the yard or how he’s come out to the driveway to greet me when I got home from a ride but I won’t bore you with those personal details. He was a real force to be reckoned with. It’s enough to say he was a big part of our lives and that he will be missed for a very long time to come.
Merry Christmas Old Friend.