Sam Linsenbardt: ca. 2005 – 2023

Brooke and I were married in June 2005 and shortly moved to St. Louis. As many young married couples do, within a few months, we thought it was time to consider a pet, but given our work schedules and general lack of desire to walk a dog a few times a day (at the time…), we considered getting a cat. Neither of us had ever had an indoor pet cat before, though Brooke had plenty of outdoor cats at her house growing up, and I was exposed to farm cats at my Grandma’s house. Honestly, we weren’t entirely sure what we were getting in to, but we figured that a cat would probably be easier to manage because we could leave it at home when we went back to Columbia, Hannibal, or on trips. It seemed like a relatively convenient and pragmatic option.

So, we checked out the St. Louis Humane Society to see what they had available. They usually name cats that come in based on a theme, and the current one caused them to name cats after recent movie characters. Thus, looking over our options, we settled upon “Constantine,” who was named after the Keanu Reeves movie out that year. He seemed like a relatively friendly cat, though to Brooke and I, who didn’t grow up with indoor cats, we weren’t really sure what “friendly” meant in this case, as cats tend to have their own personalities (as we’d come to find out).

I don’t remember exactly how we settled on the name “Sam,” but I know we liked the idea of a name usually given to humans, and we also liked that it had fewer syllables than “Constantine.” Somehow, it seemed to fit, so we went with it. In that first few months, I didn’t even really post much about him, except that December when I posted about how he liked to climb up Brooke. One of the good things about a cat is that they’re present, but not necessarily the center of your life, unless you want them to be!

Sam was a good cat, though. He had his claws, which meant that we went through some furniture, as he never really liked scratching posts or catnip. He never really played with many toys, though he did love laser pointers. He somewhat famously hid under our bed for a week and peed on the bed after we brought Edie home a few years later. He was always pretty curious when we’d bring someone new home to stay, such as Edie, or especially Meg, after she was born in 2010. By the time Calvin arrived in 2013, Sam was used to having a young one toddling around.

Sam only made it outside a few times. In Soulard, he slipped through a rip in the screen window and went down the stairs to the courtyard below. We didn’t even know about it until we heard “meow” from outside and had to investigate! Another time, in our house off of Kingshighway, he got out Memorial Day weekend and we were gone for three days, only to return and see that the litter box hadn’t been used and no food was eaten. After a frantic search, we eventually found him in the garage out back, which had a door that could be locked, but couldn’t be closed all the way. Here in Marshall, he got out a few times after we first moved here, but it usually didn’t take too long to get him back from under the front porch.

As I said, cats tend to have distinct personalities, and Sam was no different. He was pretty friendly and would at least say “hi” to strangers when they were come by the house. A lot of our friends knew Sam to be a good cat to just sit and pet, and Sam would happily oblige. Early on, Brooke had to carry him around like a baby over her shoulder as she brushed her teeth in the morning. For most of his life, he’d curl up on top of us as we’d lay on the couch watching TV.

We also learned early on that Sam couldn’t be trusted sleeping with us, as any time we would move a leg under the covers, he would pounce on it (with claws drawn). This would remain an issue for years, especially as he grew older and couldn’t retract his claws as easily as he used to, making it less and less comfortable for him to curl up with us on the couch. He’d also get his claws stuck in blankets, rugs, and more.

Speaking of “couldn’t be trusted,” he also (in)famously helped Edie get some deer jerky from my uncle by climbing up on the fridge to knock the bag down for Edie to open and eat. Sam liked eating jerky, too.

Over the last few years, starting in 2020, he really started to slow down. Frankly, we weren’t sure how much longer he was going to make it back then. He stopped cleaning himself as much, and his fur became progressively more matted and difficult to manage. He still got around well and was eating and drinking, though it was getting more difficult to maintain his body weight, and he’d start throwing up if he ate too fast (common among cats, but not an issue until relatively recently).

In late-2020, seeing Sam already sleeping more and more and being less active, we opted to introduce him to Charlotte. He took to her far better than he took to Edie, and they would play together about as much as he could. She could run past him and get up on her hind legs to hop on his back, and he would “yowl” at her, presumably in annoyance. For a long time, Charlotte would lick his head, which would keep him looking a little better, but it only went so far. Still, those two cats got along well and we think Sam liked having another furry friend around to keep him company in his later years.

It is difficult to fully express what losing Sam means, but I can at least say that I’m a routine oriented person, and I’ve had a housecat for nearly 18 years, practically as long as we’ve been married. We have had this cat longer than we had Edie, and longer than we have had children. Not having him is going to leave a hole in our family that is difficult to fill, but in the end, we know that 18 years is a long, full life for a cat to live, and we are glad he was with us for as long as he was.

We love you, Sam, and will miss you. Rest well, Friend.

Meet Charlotte

We’ve noticed over the past few months that Sam has been very….clingy… night…. Maybe it’s old age, maybe he misses Edie…who knows… But it got to the point where Brooke was wondering whether Sam needed a new friend. He’s also over 15 years old now, so while he could easily be with us for another 10 years (which is crazy to think about), Brooke thought that getting another cat now would give them enough time for Sam to “rub off” a bit on a new arrival.

She poked around the Humane Society’s website to look at what our options were. Since the pandemic took hold (or maybe before?), they have had cats in host homes where the foster “parent” can post about the cat’s personality quirks, how they deal with other animals and children, etc. It’s a much better system than having them locked in a cage where you really don’t get a good sense of what they’re actually like.

We drove to Columbia last Saturday to meet “Caramel Corn.” Granted, it’s been a long time since we had a young cat in the house, but dang she’s tiny compared to Sam! She seemed friendly enough and let Brooke and Calvin hold her, so that was a good start. We chatted a bit with the foster parent and then we were on our way!

“Caramel Corn” yowled in the car for most of the ride home. After awhile, she would close her eyes and pretend she wasn’t in the car…then she’d open her eyes again and start yowling again… So yeah, not a car rider.

Once we got her inside, Sam was sleeping on the couch, so we set the carrier down in view of him. At first, he didn’t really know what to think until he realized what was in the box….

There was quite a bit of hissing initially. For that first day, they avoided each other as best they could. Sam mostly stayed on the main floor, while “Caramel Corn” stayed downstairs in the basement. It was a struggle to get her upstairs! The litter box is down there, so it was fine, but with all the stuff down there, it’s tough to find her when she doesn’t want to be found! There was one point where we wondered if she escaped through some small hole to the outside of the house, but eventually we found her.

The next day, she wandered around a little bit more than before. Ate some of her food (Sam keeps going after it….we haven’t solved that problem just yet….). Used the litter box as she’s supposed to. But she still hung out down in the basement quite a bit! She liked playing with the cave crickets that are plaguing the basement at present.

Early that evening though, she came upstairs for some water, so I shut the door behind her so she had to stay upstairs and “socialize” a bit with her new family. She opened up quite a bit! She was still hesitant to hop up on the couch with us while we were watching TV, but she would walk past frequently and slow down enough for us to give her ear a scratch.

That second day, we still had much discussion about a name. We were looking for “old lady names,” as Edie was short for “Edith Anne,” and we think giving human names to our pets has been fun. One idea was “Max,” short for “Maxine.” Calvin wanted to keep calling her “Carmel,” but the rest of us weren’t down with that idea….

Eventually, Brooke came up with “Charlotte.” We don’t have a good short version of it yet, but perhaps we’ll settle on something after she gets used to the name.

The week has largely progressed with social improvements between the cats. Charlotte has been sleeping on the velvet bench at night, and sleeping on the couch when she doesn’t mind the kids petting her. She also uses the cat scratching stand!!! Sam never uses that thing!!

Speaking of which, Sam and Charlotte still aren’t quite “friendly” yet, but it’s to the point where Sam can walk past Charlotte on the couch while she’s sleeping, and she doesn’t swipe at him or wake up startled. There are other times, though, when Sam is on the table while we’re eating dinner and his tail dangles down below….down to a waiting Charlotte who is happy to start pawing at it. That usually doesn’t go as well….

Charlotte is fitting right in! We’re going to declaw her, which is something we didn’t do for Sam. To be fair, 15 years ago, we didn’t have “real furniture” that we wanted to protect from claws. If we’re going to have another cat for another 20 years…..we’d like to keep our nice couch looking that way….

She’s a sweetie! Looking forward to watching her grow!

Five Years

June 25, 2005 was our wedding day.  I’m not going to recount that day in particular (besides pointing out how friggin’ hot it was…), and I’m not going to write anything sappy in this post (as that really isn’t our style).  But, instead, I’m going to highlight a few old blog posts here as a reminder of various important (or less important) events in our lives over the course of the past 5 years.

(I’m doing this partially because I’ve been going through a lot of old posts, “tagging” them to make it easier for me to find in the future.  So, I’ve been reminded of quite a few things over the past few days of doing this!)

…and then…there were two…

“Yup, I’m married…crazy, eh? Brooke and I have moved into our new place in St. Louis and are almost done putting everything where it needs to go…by the end of tomorrow, we should be mostly done…until the next volley of wedding presents arrives this weekend…”

…fun with turtles…

“…and on a side-note, I get to play with my new praise band tonight at Webster Hills UMC…those drums won’t know what hit ‘em…”


“Otherwise, Brooke and I are preparing to move to Soulard (neighborhood in the City of St. Louis) from our current apartment.”

…what a weekend…

“Arguably the most pertinent part of the weekend, however, came on Sunday… Brooke and I were wanting to get a pet, so we finally did.”

Miracles Happen

“The moral is that it seems that this thing would have happened no matter what Dad was doing or where he was, so it’s pretty amazing that he was at the fire station with capable people instead of anywhere else.”

Meet Edie

“Well, we found Edith Ann at the Humane Society here in St. Louis yesterday…”Edie” for short…”


“So, I had a spur-of-the-moment interview today with a company called Bridges Community Support Services. It went really well, and at the end of the conversation, the CEO/owner offered me a job as a Community Support Worker.”

Edie: Wonder Dog

“We go downstairs to check out how exactly she got the door open. Apparently, as the picture above shows, she didn’t get the door open – she tore a new hole in the bars…”

Meet Meg

“Margaret Jean Linsenbardt (or “Meg,” as she’ll be called) was born at 8:57 am on Friday, March 5th. At birth, she weighed 6 lb 13 oz and measured 19.5″ tall.”


“Now that I’m out of school, after 22 years, one could argue that I’m finally ready to join the ‘real world.'”

Happy Anniversary, Wife.  🙂

Transcript Follows

An interchange of text messages between Brooke and I are as follows:

Brooke: “Guess who broke her rope but didn’t run away?”

Andy: “Sam? Oh wait…you said ‘her’… Meg? ;-)”

Brooke: “Yep. When i said day care i meant tied up with a rope.”

Guess you had to be there… 😛



It seems that Sam, our cat, has made it his personal mission to prepare us for parenthood: yowling incessantly while trying to take a Sunday afternoon nap; constantly needing to be picked up and carried around; inhibiting showers, meals, dishes, sewing, hair curling, and pretty much everything you NEED to get done right now; and the usual eating, shedding, puking, trying to escape, and annoying the dog. Anybody want a cute orange monster in February??

They was sleepin’…

Sleeping family...
Sleeping family...

The family was sleeping during “Criminal Minds” Wednesday night…thought I should share the photo op with everyone else… 😛

On a side-note, according to my WordPress Dashboard, this is my 400th post on this blog. Crazy times, yo.

Sam, on virtual video…

A video on YouTube titled “Simon’s Cat ‘Cat Man Do.'” Personally, I think it’s about Sam, ’cause that’s what he does… Any morning that he doesn’t have food in his bowl around 5:00-6:00 am, he starts scratching under our door. Never fails. The fluff ball makes me feed him before I go to bed just to ensure that he doesn’t wake me up too early in the morning. This morning, I squirted him with a water bottle…he came back 30 minutes later and started again…

Anyway, this video is an appropriate representation of our cat…enjoy… 😛

Mass hysteria

So, I don’t always chit-chat about Sam the Cat and Edie the Dog, but I decided I should relay this story…mostly because I’ve only been posting videos recently, but also because it’s somewhat amusing how devious these two are…

Two nights ago (Sunday), I pulled the deer jerky bag off the top of the refrigerator (thanks Uncle Mike!) and had a few pieces. As usual, I gave a small amount to Edie and a little to Sam – yes, even the cat, that usually doesn’t eat “people-food,” does like to eat deer.

The next morning (Monday), Brooke wakes up first and finds the dog downstairs breaking into the deer jerky bag. After I find out about this, I retrace my steps from the previous night. “Did I put the jerky back on top of the fridge? Yes! I’m sure I did!” The only explanation is that Sam must have gotten up there and pushed it off…but that would be a new one, as Sam had never gotten on top of the fridge before (to our knowledge).

Well, last night (Monday…still…), Brooke and I are both upstairs and it’s quiet enough for me to hear something fall to the ground down in the kitchen. I rush downstairs, as I can’t see Edie anywhere, and sure enough: the jerky is on the floor next to the fridge…and the cat is jumping down from the counter.

We’ve long thought that the cat and dog, while not always getting along, cooperate for certain things. Apparently, deer jerky is one of them. Which is now housed inside the refrigerator (…and if those two can get in there, then I say they deserve the jerky…).

“Cats and dogs…living together…mass hysteria!”


In a world of violence, sickness and poverty…

Sam and Edie

…there are none happier than a dog and cat lying in the sunlight… 😛

Meet Edie

Meet Edie!

So, we’ve been looking for a dog for a little while now…  Preferably, a somewhat older one so it would be more mellow, yet energetic enough to go out on walks, etc.  Also, a breed that wouldn’t bark too much and that would get along with a kitty cat…  We’ve checked out various on-line venues, including the pound, and various groups around the state.

Well, we found Edith Ann at the Humane Society here in St. Louis yesterday…”Edie” for short…  She’s a 5 year old 13″ Beagle that was owned by an older lady who had to give her up to enter a nursing home.  We brought her home today and all is well so far!  She’s a sweetie…haven’t heard her bark yet…although she does whine a bit…  She’s a little overweight, so we’ve gotta limit her food for awhile and be sure to take her on frequent walks, but that was the plan, anyway…

So far, Sam isn’t a fan of his new roommate…  He spent most of the day hiding under the bed, but finally came out around 8:30 to see what the deal is…  He’s checked Edie out a few times, but has yet to really “make friends”…  I’m sure it’ll work out, though…

Anyway, there are more pictures on my Google Photos page…check ’em out…and come visit if you want!