Here's my only pet, Smokey
(with me October, 2003 - January 5, 2006).

The best pet ever - may he rest in peace.

This picture was taken as Smokey was "pawing" my kitchen window.  This is how he used to request entry back into the house.

How'd that cat get in here???

We all have pretty elaborate stories about our pets, and mine is certainly no exception.  Because of my traveling lifestyle as a musician, I never thought it fair to subject a pet to being left with neighbors while I was on the road.  Because I'm an avid lover of animals, I made the conscientious decision to never own one.  Like having a child or a riding on a roller coaster, pet ownership is something one could never miss unless one had actually experienced it.  Since I'd never owned an animal before, I really had no idea of what I was "missing."  Pets really are wonderful companions.   To date Smokey has been my only pet.  How I acquired Smokey is an interesting enough story that I think I'll post it for the world to see.

It all started with my ex-girlfriend, Julie.  When we were in the planning stages of moving her to Albuquerque, she had originally talked about getting a dog in addition to bringing her fish tank.  She had also talked about the many road trips we would take on our motorcycles.  Anyone who has known a pet-owning biker knows what a drag it can be when they can't travel with you because they can't find a dog sitter or someone to feed their fish.  I wasn't going to be one of those people.  I strictly forbade Julie to bring her fish and I told her there was no way we were getting a dog.  Needless to say she was a little heart broken about it, but she understood my point.  As soon as the dust settled on our new pet paradigm, I got to thinking that maybe a cat would be an acceptable pet - an outdoor cat, that is.  So before Julie moved to Albuquerque, I passively starting making inquiries.

As it turns out, my friend Tiffany was in town from Seattle visiting her parents.  She told me about a cat her father was wanting to get rid of.  I had planned on visiting Tiffany's parents anyway, so I figured, "What the heck...while I'm visiting Tiffany's folks, I might as well give the cat a gander."  So Julie and I headed over to visit and check out Smokey.

Mr. Plummer (Tiffany's father) presented me with a grey cat.  "His name is Smokey.  We really like him...he's a very nice cat.   It's just that we already have 2 cats and they don't like him."   Mr. Plummer was right.  Smokey was, indeed, a very nice animal.  He was friendly, cute, cuddly and liked to purr.  I must say I was enchanted with this grey feline.  Julie liked Smokey, too.  Julie just happened to own a cat carrier (God only knows why, as she didn't own a cat), so I thought, "What the heck...I'll give this Smokey character a shot."

Upon arriving home I let Smokey out of his little cage to explore while I prepared a litter box and a food dish for him.  After a while it became blatantly apparent that Smokey was hiding somewhere.  Like most cats that are dragged from their home environment, Smokey buried himself under my bed and stayed there without moving for 2 days.  If he ever left that spot, I never saw him move.  By the second day Julie had to fly back up to Minnesota to sew up some loose ends.  Trying to sell her home over the phone proved frustrating for her, so she figured she might as well just fly up there while she still had free flight benefits left over from a previous job.  This left me alone with Smokey.

Finally after 2 days he came out to eat.  After eating he started walking around and exploring.  I wanted to let him out, but I still felt it was too soon.  I wanted Smokey to be an "outdoor" cat, but I didn't want him to run away, either.  I figured a week of captivity would be long enough for him to get used to me and his new surroundings.  Unfortunately I had an out-of-town, weekend gig come up.   I believe it was a Wednesday or Thursday when I realized I had to leave town for the weekend.  I had been keeping an eye on Smokey to make sure he wasn't going to pee or spray.  There was no way I could impose this responsibility on my roommate, so I made the decision to let Smokey out the day before I was to leave town, which was a Thursday.

Letting Smokey out wasn't as traumatic as I thought it was going to be.  I had visions of Smokey racing off like a bolt of lightning, anxious to taste his newly regained freedom.  But he didn't do that at all.  I opened the back door and he just sort of meandered out like he'd been out a thousand times before.  I stayed with him, petting him and reassuring him that it was okay by me for him to be out, and that he wouldn't have to worry about being forced back into the house.  It was a nice October day outside, so I left the sliding glass door open so Smokey could come and go as he pleased.  Every once in a while I would go out to pet him to reassure him that we were friendly folk and that he could leave if he wished.  Smokey seemed content to hang out in the back yard.

Eventually night fell as did the temperature.  It tends to get pretty chilly here in N.M. when the Sun goes down - especially in October.  I was hoping that this would be incentive for Smokey to come back to his new, warm, comfy home where all the food was.

Over the previous couple days I had been repeatedly using the name "Smokey" over and over again in the hopes that he would get used to hearing it, and perhaps make the correlation that "Smokey" was his name.  Gary Larson had an interesting cartoon that defined, "What cats hear."  The cartoon shows this guy scolding a cat but all the cat hears is, "Blah, blah, blah...blah, blah, blah" and on and on...pretty funny.  I'll post that cartoon if I can find it.  I'm a huge fan.  Years ago I whole-heartedly agreed with Mr. Larson's "stupid cat" assessment.  However I've since learned that cats do, indeed, have some sort of recognition of their name.  I just think that they are aloof animals and choose to ignore us when we call them - unless they really like us as much as Smokey seems to like me...<:^)

Usually if Smokey is within ear shot, and he wants to come home, he'll come running.  Conversely if he's happy laying in the Sun, he'll either momentarily look up (as long as this action requires little more effort than opening his eyes) as if to say, "Yeah...I hear ya, but I'm busy," or he won't look at all.  Anyway, back to Thursday night...

I quietly chanted out, "Smooookeeeey!"  No Smokey in sight.  I added a mezzo-piano whistle and then chanted again a little louder, "Smoooookeeeeey!"  Well I'll be damned.  Smokey jumped over the neighbor's fence and came running in the house!  It was true!!  He knew where the food was!

Stories, pictures and anecdotes

In this section I'm going to highlight some of my favorite pictures of, and stories about, Smokey.  Don't worry...I'm not one of those crazy cat people that eventually find themselves wading through a sea of felines while fruitlessly trying to hold "meaningful" conversations with them - scolding the feline beasts, like they can understand what their insane owners say, or would even give a flying crap if they could.  No...I won't be one of those.  However I must say that Smokey, as my first and really only pet, has tugged a bit at my heart strings.  He's a wonderful, loving animal.  He never does anything wrong with the exception of pushing keyboard keys while I'm trying to type...kind of'a'liknee he0us doine90g now90!!!

Like most cats, Smokey has brought me his fair share of animal offerings - usually in the form of a dead bird or a live or dead mouse.  What do you say to a cat that drops a mouse at your feet, steps back, and then looks you in the eye as if to say, "Here...I got this for you."  Most people think it sick, but I pick up the mouse, pretend to eat it, and then thank Smokey profusely with rubs and scratches.  I know most people would probably discourage their cat from doing this, but really...outside of bringing you the occasional animal sacrifice, how else is a cat supposed to show his appreciation?

I recently switched Smokey to Science Diet from Iams cat food.  Smokey seems to like the Science Diet a little better.  Consequently, not only has he put on a couple pounds (Don't worry...he's not fat.  He just went from "skinny" to "full"...<:^), but he also no longer eats his prey.  Here are some pictures of Smokey playing with a mouse in the front yard.  The mouse is not a pet.   It is a wild mouse that happen to be hanging out with Tom...uh...I mean Smokey in our front yard.

  I know what you're thinking..."3 seconds later that mouse was swimmin' in Smokey's belly."  Hehe...I would think the same thing.  But that's not the case.  Smokey actually played with the mouse without hurting it.  Here's a picture of the docile little guy in my hand.

          Click on picture to go to the "Smokey" section
                        on my "Videography" page.

Don't worry ladies, I let the cute little guy go in my back yard, unscathed.

Smokey is kidnapped by a crazy cat lady!

I guess before I start this story I will reiterate that Smokey is an outdoor cat.  He always has been and always will be.  That said...

Around early October of 2005, Smokey stopped coming home.  After a week of this I started to entertain the idea that he may never come home.  Unlike most pet owners, I really didn't think the worst.  Smokey is a very smart cat, so I wasn't worried that he had run out in front of a car or anything like that.  However Smokey is a friendly cat.  He'll let anybody pet him.  In this situation some folks may have been concerned that Smokey may have been hurt by a human.  But again, I wasn't worried about that.  Everyone in my neighborhood knows Smokey (I know they feed him when I'm not looking).  And honestly, in 10 years of residency, I haven't met any mean or hateful people in this neighborhood.  I'm fortunate in that respect.  I did entertain the slightest possibility that another animal like a dog or cat may have seriously injured or killed Smokey.  But really Smokey is very fast and very dog savvy, not to mention a heck of a fighter.  Dogs are in every yard surrounding my house.  Smokey has always kept his distance from the neighboring dogs.

Smokey doesn't wear a collar and hadn't for the 2 years leading up to his kidnapping.  It was pretty clear in my head that someone in the neighborhood had taken Smokey in as a "stray."  Obviously this person was holding Smokey hostage, because I knew that the second Smokey could get away he'd be right back home here with me.  To me, this crime was obviously commited by a "crazy cat lady."  Only someone that insecure and controlling would have the time, the means, and the wherewithall to actually lure an unsuspecting feline into their lair, and then keep him there against his will.

After a week of Smokey's absence, I decided to start perusing the Albuquerque Journal on-line.  They have a section for lost and found pets.  My hopes were that the person who found Smokey would make an effort to return him to his original owner.  I searched the paper to no avail.

My second line of defense was to, again, search on-line for Smokey on the Humane Association web site.  The great thing about the Humane Association is they post pictures of their residents.  Their site had a couple pictures of gray cats.  These cats were located at the Humane Associations's West Side facility, so I decided to drive down and take a look.  Unfortunately neither cat was Smokey.  It was back to the drawing board.

I decided that I would take out an ad in the Journal.  As it turns out, the Albuquerque Journal prints lost and found pet ads for free.  Nice folks, those Journal people.

After a week and a half of perusing my bookmarked "find Smokey" websites, I was starting to lose hope.  I decided I wouldn't give up my search for 2 months post missing date.  As it turns out, I really like Smokey a lot.

One fine morning the phone rang.  On the other end was a nice lady named Sue.  Sue said the magic words I had been longing to hear, "I think I know where your cat is."  As it turns out, Sue was pretty sure that Smokey had been taken in by her mother-in-law, Wanda, along with her other 4 cats.  Can you say, "Crazy Cat Lady!?"

As it turns out, Wanda lived (or used to live) over on the next block, caddy-corner to my neighbor directly across the street from me.  I was starting to get excited.  Unfortunately Sue went on to tell me that her mother-in-law had since been put in an assisted living facility, so Wanda no longer lived on the next block.  Consequently Wanda no longer had Smokey.  This was bad news.  The good news was that Sue knew the person now in possession of Smokey.  The bad news was that this person lived all the way down on Central and San Pedro (not a good neighborhood).  The good news was that Sue said she would call the new crazy cat lady (we'll call her Agnes), and have her call me.

About 1/2 hour later the phone rang again.  It was Agnes.  I described Smokey to her.  She agreed that her new cat fit Smokey's description.  But then Agnes said something that made me feel discouraged.  She said that she had had Smokey (now called Rufus...ugh) for 5 weeks.  Since Smokey had only been missing for 2.5 weeks, this obviously was not my Smokey.

Sad and dejected I called Sue to thank her for the effort.  I explained to Sue that Agnes had told me that she had had "Rufus" for 5 weeks.  Smokey had only been missing 2.5 weeks total, so Rufus couldn't be Smokey.  Sue said, "Agnes is crazy.  I handed her Smokey a week and half ago!" I was a little upset.  I called Agnes back and explained that I thought that "Rufus" might still be my cat.  With some minor resistance, Agnes agreed to meet with Sue and myself at Wanda's old house at 2:30.  Around 2:15 the phone rang.  It was Agnes.  She said that she was pretty sure that her Rufus was not my cat.  A little annoyed, I explained to Agnes that the possibility did exist, and I would like to see her cat to ease my mind.  Again, she agreed to meet me.

2 minutes later the phone rang again.  Again it was Agnes.  This time she wanted to change the meeting place to the Costco parking lot.  Without knowing what she looked like and neither of us having cell phones, this was a recipe for disaster.  Besides, Sue was already on her way to Wanda's house.  I insisted we stick to the original plan.  Agnes begrudgingly agreed.

Over the next 5 minutes Agnes called 3 times.  Her objective was to not meet with me.  Needless to say I was starting to become angry.  I eased Agnes' mind; "Look, I'm not looking for a gray cat, I'm looking for my gray cat.  I promise I don't want your cat if it's not mine."  This seemed to put Agnes at ease.  Apparently she was worried that this entire operation was set in motion for the purpose of ascertaining a gray cat for myself.  Geeze...crazy cat ladies...

I went over to Wanda's house around 2:30.  Sue was already there.  Sue explained to me that Agnes had a few loose marbles, so be prepared.  Indeed I was.  I brought my laptop computer which not only contained photos of Smokey, but also contained video as well.  There would be no mistake if her cat was indeed Smokey.

Around 2:35 Agnes pulled up in a green van.  Smokey was secure in a cat carrier.  He was meowing profusely.  Obviously he didn't like this cage he was forced into.  I've only had him in a cage once.  He definitely doesn't like them.  One look at this gray cat and it was obvious to me that it was indeed Smokey.  The lady wanted to go in the house so Smokey wouldn't "escape."  I placated Agnes by playing along with her "security measures."  Once inside the house I was surprised at Smokey's reaction to me.  It was as if I weren't there.  He walked out of the cage and started to explore the house.  Did he not see me?  Was he mad at me?  Did he think that I, somehow, had something to do with this?

To make a long story short, Agnes finally agreed that Rufus was indeed, Smokey.  She insisted on giving Smokey and I the 100 yard ride home so that he wouldn't "escape."  I explained to her several times that Smokey was an outdoor cat.  I believe the concept of feline freedom was so foreign to her that she couldn't comprehend what I was talking about.  After carefully letting Smokey go inside the house, I walked Agnes to her car, hugged her and thanked her, and went back in the house.  Smokey was standing by the back door.  I opened it.  He was free again at last.

Agnes had taken Smokey to get his shots (now his second set this year).  She got him a collar and a rabies tag.  I reversed the rabies tag and engraved his name and my phone number on the back.  Smokey shan't be mistaken for "stray" again.

Here are some more pictures of Smokey.

Smokey has been with me since October of 2003.  I choose my wording carefully.  I don't write, "I've owned Smokey since..." because really, one doesn't own a cat.  I truly believe we belong to them.  Indeed, he owns me.

                Here's Smokey snoozing on my bed.                         And here a cover picture he did for "Feline Quarterly."

                    My ex-girlfriend had these rubbery,                                                       ET, phone home!
      push-up bra, make-your-boobs-look-bigger things,
so naturally I had to use one of them as a hat for Smokey.

January 5, 2006 - Funeral for a friend

This part of Smokey's web page was definitely the hardest to write.  I used to think I was a pretty macho guy when it came to Smokey.  To me he was a cat that hung around my house once in a while - more often than not.  Did I consider him a friend?  A pal?  Ultimately I would have to answer, "Yes."  However I always maintained that I would never be one of those people who spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars on their cat.  Cats are free and are everywhere, right?  Why would anyone be such an idiot to spend 4 figures on a cat?  Well, as it turns out, when push comes to shove, and the animal you love with all your heart is sick and in pain, money becomes no object or of little consequence.

How does one decide how to raise one's animal?

When it came to the decision to allow Smokey to be an outdoor cat, it was a decision I didn't make lightly.  I basically put myself in his shoes (or paws, as it were).  Would I want to be cooped up inside all day?  Or would I want to roam around, explore, and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air?  The answer to that question was easy.  When you lock up a human like that, it's called "prison."  When you keep an animal cooped up like that...well...we just think we're being "responsible owners."  Legally and politically, many would argue this point in favor of the "responsible owners."  However me, not recognizing 99% of society's conventions, I decided very quickly that Smokey would be allowed to roam the world as a free animal - free to come and go as he pleased.  I took time to weigh the pros and cons of my decision.  I knew the odds of Smokey being hit by a car, eaten by a dog, poisoned by a cat hater, or generally doing something to endanger his life were much higher than that of a strictly indoor animal.  However, no matter how much I pondered the possible consequences of letting Smokey roam around free, it's simply not in me to "own" an animal.  I could easily allow an animal to be my friend because I love them so much.  But ultimately, owning, and thus "keeping an animal captive" is just not in me.

Smokey gets sick

On the morning of Friday, December 30th, 2005, at approximately 3:AM, I was awakened by the sound of Smokey vomiting.  Because it was so early and since I was awakened from a deep sleep, I didn't react much to Smokey's sickness.  He had made this sort of noise before; choking up hair balls.  But this time the vomiting sound was "wet."  I assumed that Smokey was perhaps sick, and I would deal with it in the morning.

The next morning I arose to a different Smokey.  He was very lethargic.  He was obviously sick.  Though he had never been sick before, I didn't much worry about it.  Perhaps he was just feeling under the weather?  Afterall, he'd never been sick before.  Surely I had beaten the odds by having a cat for 2 years without so much as a cough.  Maybe it was Smokey's turn to be sick?

After 4 days of no improvement, I decided that I needed to take Smokey in to see the veterinarian.  So on Monday, the 2nd of January, I made some calls to experienced animal people for recommendations.  In addition, I made a call to my long-time friend, Mindy Baca (now Trombley).  She had worked for a veterinarian years earlier.  She knows more about animals than anyone I know.  Unfortunately she was in school that morning and unable to return my call until that afternoon.  Since I could no longer wait, I went to TLC Animal Clinic here in Albuquerque - the last place Mindy had worked as a veterinarian assistant.

Smokey's symptoms: He was completely lethargic, he didn't eat or drink, he had horrible sores in his mouth, he was drooling a combination of saliva and blood, and he had the worst breath ever (like a dead animal).

As you can see in this picture, Smokey is quite sick.
He is drooling a combination of saliva and blood.  His breath was awful.
In addition he didn't seem to be able to keep his tongue in his mouth.

After being given a "menu of options" at the clinic, I decided on a basic blood work that would check for FIV and Feline Leukemia and a basic triage exam.  The blood test results came back negative for FIV or Leukemia.  In addition, Smokey's temperature was only 97 degrees (cats should be around 100 degrees).  The doctor recommended antibiotics for the sores in Smokey's mouth, and a pain reliever (a morphine derivative) for the pain we believed the sores were causing.  He also recommended keeping Smokey warm to raise his body temperature.  Our thinking was that Smokey may not have been eating or drinking because of the sores.  In addition I was given extra syringes to "force feed" Smokey food and water because Smokey was dehydrated.  The doctor believed that Smokey had definitely been poisoned with some kind of toxin, but ruled out antifreeze because, in his words, "Smokey would've been dead within hours had he consumed even 2 licks of antifreeze."

Sometimes the Internet lies...

I concurred with the doctor's assessment because I had done some Internet research and had learned (or thought I'd learned) a couple things:

  • Antifreeze poisoning causes renal failure (this is true)
  • A symptom of renal failure is that the animal cannot urinate (this is false)
Smokey peed regularly - at least once a day.  So I had ruled out renal failure, and thus, antifreeze poisoning.  When the doctor arrived at the same conclusion, I simply thought that he was "making sense."  Unfortunately, we were both wrong.  Final tests showed renal failure as the cause of Smokey's sickness, and ultimately his demise.

Desperately trying to save my little buddy's life

I started the regimen of feeding Smokey 12cc's of water every hour, giving him pain meds and antibiotics twice a day, and feeding him half a can of A/D cat food every day.  The half can of cat food was a pipe dream.  Getting Smokey to ingest anything was nearly impossible.  The little guy fought off the syringes with everything he had (which wasn't much).

After 4 days Smokey was stable, but with little improvement.  The sores in his mouth were healing up and his breath returned to normal almost immediately (which was very encouraging), but he was still horribly lethargic.  On the advice of my friend, Mindy, I took Smokey into the pet emergency room for a complete blood work.

The diagnosis...

Fortunately this particular animal hospital had the facilities to not only take Smokey in right away, but they were able to do a complete blood work right there on the premises.  Here were his results:

And here's the second page that was given to me:

As you can see by the bar graphs in both sets of test results, and the prognosis in the first, Smokey was in horrible shape.  Though the doctor said that she could put Smokey on IV fluids for 24 hours and retest his blood, she said that it was extremely doubtful that he would recover.  To emphasize her point, she said that even if Smokey had been in 25% better condition, she would still recommend euthanizing him.  I asked her, "If I take Smokey home and keep him comfortable, will he die peacefully?"  She said that just before dying he would have a siezure that would be very uncomfortable for him.  I made the hardest decision of my life.  I told the doctor to euthanize Smokey.

Saying goodbye...

The procedure for euthanization is quite humane.  They insert a catheter into the animal's arm (Note blue bandages on smokeys front arms) so that the pet owner can say goodbye prior to lethal injection.  Upon command from the owner, the doctor injects the animal through the catheter while the owner holds his beloved pet during his/her last, dying breath.  Death happens in a matter of seconds.  If the animal suffers at all, it's for a very short period of time - a second or two, tops.  Though it is extremely difficult to hold onto something you love so much while it dies, I think the alternative of not being there is worse.

Since I didn't have my camera with me, I had my good friend, Alison, take a picture of Smokey (using her cell phone) minutes prior to lethal injection.  As you can see, Smokey is quite catatonic.  He seemed to know I was there, and always showed appreciation for my touch by lazily wagging his tail with what little energy he had left.  Towards the end (as in this picture), his tail barely moved, but moved none-the-less.  He seemed to know I was there, and seemed to appreciate my presence.  Smokey was genius on the feline I.Q. scale.  He was one of the smartest cats I've ever met.  He knew how to communicate with me ("Let me in, let me out, feed me," etc.) which makes me think he understood a lot more than most cats do.  Though I'm sure Smokey had no idea he was about to die, I'm absolutely positive he knew I was there.  My tears dripping on his little face surely let him know that I was sad.  I'm sure he wondered what all the fuss was about.

Funeral for a friend...

As part of my "therapy," I decided to bury Smokey right away.  I built a quick casket for him, which was therapeutic in itself (woodworking is therapeutic for me), and then I dug a hole large enough to bury him in.  I found the physical labor of digging therapeutic, as well.

I took pictures of Smokey's funeral.  As you can see in the pictures, Smokey's "casket" is quite basic.  I'm not the best woodworker in the world, so I simply tried to build something reminiscent of a casket - a vessel to hold Smokey's remains.

Casket ends

Casket almost finished

Smokey inside casket (casket about twice as big as it needs to be - I always over-spec)

Casket closed

Empty grave

Casket in grave

Smokey's grave site minus cross bar with his name

Final days

As much as I hate to admit it, as Smokey became sicker and sicker, the thought crossed my mind that he might not be with me much longer.  Being a snap-happy camera person, I thought I would snap some pictures of the little guy.  In the unlikely event Smokey recovered fully, the pictures would have served as a "look back at Smokey's sick days," in which case the title of this entire section would have been "Smokey gets sick" instead of "Funeral for a friend."

The one picture I don't have - and this really pisses me off - is a final image of Smokey that will always be engraved in my mind forever.  The image of Smokey rolling in the dirt in the front yard or just sitting in the front yard, or perhaps lazing on the couch I kept on the porch, almost solely for him.  Anybody who had seen Smokey in this state understood why he had to be an outdoor cat.  I can say with all confidence that he truly lived the "life of Riley."  He was always happy, always friendly, and certainly always up for a rub on the tummy from anyone willing to give it.

Since this page is already overloaded with pictures (and probably takes forever to download), I'm going to try to not post too many more pictures here.  These next pictures were taken of Smokey during his final week on this planet.  As sick as he was, he always seemed at ease, comfortable, and always willing to wag his tail to show appreciation for the love I heaped on him 10 times a day every day.

Smokey's final hour, he's sleeping in the sun.
I made it a point to take him outside a couple times a day for fresh air and sunshine - two things I know he loved.
He was too weak to walk outside on his own, so I would carry him to a spot in the sun where he would remain until
he got too hot (his grey fur absorbed the sun's heat like gang-busters).
He would stumble to a spot in the shade, sit, and wait for me to bring him back into the house.
I checked on him quite often so I would know when he wanted to come back in.

Since Smokey's temperature was so low, I attempted to keep him warm
by keeping him covered and by using an electric blanket.

Here's another picture of Smokey keeping warm.  The entire time he never seemed to be uncomfortable
or in pain.  Thank the Universe for that.  His only obvious problem was perpetual exhaustion.
He slept 20 hours a day and just laid there with his eyes half open the other 4.

Smokey gets a get well card...

A friend of mine sent Smokey this get-well card.  What's amazing to me is the resemblence between the "model cat" and my Smokey.  Could Smokey have been moon-lighting???


I said a few words at Smokey's burial.  In a nutshell I basically said that I was sorry for his untimely death, but ultimately, if I had to do that last 2 years and 4 months over again, I would have "raised" Smokey the same way.  I would still let him frolic in the sunshine any time he wanted, and I would always allow him back in if he tapped hard enough on the kitchen window to gain my attention (picture at the top of this page).

Anyone who knew Smokey loved him.  He was impossible to dislike.  He was the friendliest (and the dirtiest) cat on the planet.  He liked people as much as he loved rolling in the dirt.  He never did anything bad like peeing on the carpet or scratching the crap out of the furniture (though his perpetual dirty state was sometimes vexing).  He truly "obeyed the rules" (with the exception of his daily roll in the dirt).  Rolling in the dirt was something Smokey was not willing to give up - not for me or anyone.  That's why he never could have been an indoor-only cat.

I only hope that wherever he is now, he's looking down on me and saying, "Thanx for letting me be free.  Thanx for letting me roll in the dirt (even though I know you didn't like it).  Sorry I had to leave so soon."

If there's truly a "cat heaven" somewhere in this vast universe of ours, certainly it contains a pile of dirt as high as an elephant's eye with sign that reads, "Reserved for Smokey."  I'm sure he's rolling in it right now and sticking his tongue out at me.

Goodbye, Smokey.  I miss you, I loved you with all my heart, and I think of you every day.

Smokey says in his best "Morris" voice, "I hope you
enjoyed reading about me and perusing my pictures.
I may not have been here long, but I was very happy
while I was here."

This page is up as of April 9, 2005 - 2:20 AM.  Updated Augest 21, 2009 - 12:00 PM

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please

e'mail me.

All pictures & material Copyright © 2005 Donnie Frank