Last month my cat Smokey, who had been with me since April 1992, passed away. It was quite a loss for me but I’d like to pay tribute to the unconditional love he showed me during that time by recounting some of his most memorable actions.
In April 1992 I went to the Clearwater Humane Society to find a cat to keep my other cat company while I was out of town. I walked around the facilities looking at the cats that were waiting and hoping to be adopted and when I passed Smokey’s cage he came trotting from the back of the cage (actually more of a little room that was about 15 feet deep) and started walking back and forth by the wire mesh door, rubbing against it and purring while looking up at me. It made quite an impression. I continued walking around and looking at the other cats and eventually came back to Smokey’s cage. He was in the back of the cage lying down on the steps they had there but when he saw me he again came trotting right up to the door and starting walking back and forth rubbing against the door again. If you were looking for a cat, could you have resisted that?
At that time I had another family living with me and they had a young Cocker Spaniel named Danny. Danny had a healthy appetite so he not only ate all of his food but he would also eat out of the cat food bowl when it was on the ground. One evening when Danny was eating out of his bowl, Smokey crept up next to him and slowly moved his head to a position under Danny’s where he was eating out of Danny’s bowl. Danny’s head came up and looked at Smokey and they turned his head to look at us like he couldn’t believe what he was seeing!
Smokey always greeted me when I came home. When I walked in the door he either was already there or would run up to me and then would turn his head to the side and then just plop over so he was laying on his side. Then he would look up at me to let me know he was ready to be petted.
He was also very playful and sometimes didn’t realize he wasn’t a dog. If I tossed a scrunchie (those elastic hair ties for ponytails) or rubber band over his head, he would chase after it and bring it back to me so I could throw it again. One time when I did this he jumped up and caught the rubber band in his paws and then put it in his mouth and still had his two front paws on the ground in time. He walked to within about a foot of where I was and then dropped the rubber bank on the carpet and looked up at me to let me know I needed to do it again! This then became his favorite game and he got to the point where he could leap up 6-8 inches in the air and catch the rubber band in his paws and put it in his mouth and still be able to land on all 4 paws.
He also loved to go in paper bags and empty boxes, and ‘attack’ my hand or foot when it moved under a sheet.
For a short period of time I rented a small apartment which had high ceilings in the kitchen which meant a lot of space above the cabinets. Since Smokey liked to be up where he could see everything, he figured out how to jump up onto the countertop and then from then onto the top of the fridge and then up to the top of the cabinets. Here he was perched atop the cabinets watching over the apartment:
Since he would often nap on the sofa where there was a lot of light, I’d often find him asleep with one or both paws over his eyes. Sometimes he would be on top of the back of the sofa, sitting but asleep, with his paws over his eyes – other times he would be lying on his side with one paw over his eyes like in the photo below:
I still miss him but I did make sure every day that he knew how much he was loved and appreciated. If you have pets, make sure that they know how you feel about them on a regular basis because you don’t know how much time you’ll get to spend together.