Crash victim inspired to live by cat's visit in hospital
SAANICH -- Sam puts some food on the floor so I can get footage of his cat eating. But Bob keeps disregarding it and walking over to me. Apparently when there’s a choice between a cat treat and a camera, Bob chooses the camera.
But back when Sam first met Bob, Bob chose Sam.
Bob, or simply “Orange Cat” at the time, was one of dozens of cats on a farm in Winnipeg where Sam showed up to try and sell something. Bob couldn’t get enough of Sam.
“[The owners] said, ‘Would you like him?’” Sam recalls. “I said, ‘I-I-I guess so.’”
So Sam chose Bob. “And she looks...” Sam starts to say, before laughing because Bob suddenly pops her head in front of the camera lens.
In this moment the cat seems to remind us how unexpected life can be.
Like a couple years ago, when Sam was driving to a camping trip with friends in Saskatchewan and an oncoming semi-truck totalled his vehicle.
Sam spent weeks in hospital suffering a severe brain injury and the loss of his arm.
“I’m just defeated really,” Sam said in an interview after he was released from hospital. “Things that were simple are now extremely difficult or impossible.”
You can tell from the footage that Sam’s mental health was suffering too.
Sam says he felt so hopeless that he jumped from a five-storey building, somehow survived, and found himself back in hospital.
But this time, something profound clicked inside when he noticed who had been visiting by his side.
Sam shows me pictures of him in his hospital bed, surrounded by wires and machines. Curled up beside him is Sam, her paw resting on his remaining arm.
“[I realized] this cat really depends on me. This cat really misses me,” Sam says. “I need to be around for this kitty cat.”
Bob choosing Sam inspired Sam to choose life.
Two years later, Sam and Bob moved back to Victoria and found a way to do the things Sam thought he never would again, including driving and golfing.
Sam says that instead of feeling regret for what he endured, he’s “massively grateful.”
That’s because he’s now feeling better than he ever has. Instead of living a “meaningless” life before, Sam says he’s learned to lead a purposeful one.
That includes writing a children’s book about him and Bob called, “A Purrrfect Time.”
It features pictures that Sam took of his cat accompanied by comic book-style thought bubbles.
They range from Bob playing with a laser light to drinking the water on Sam’s bedside table. On one page Bob is on the kitchen counter sniffing a full plate of human food. “If I eat Sam’s meal when he isn’t looking,” the cat appears to be asking. “Is it stealing or sharing?”
The book also features one of the pictures of Bob visiting Sam in the hospital.
Sam hopes it will inspire others, whether they’ve experienced similar situations or not.
“And staying positive in difficult situations,” Sam adds.
Because even if you can’t see it at first, if you choose to look, there’s always good to be found.