Sunday, September 15, 2013
Smokey was my companion cat that retired to FL from Brooklyn after I had already moved down here. A friend who was coming down called to say his roommate could no longer keep Smokey and was going to bring him to a shelter. I told him to bring the cat down to me. I already had my little street urchin Sushi girl whom I had rescued from the streets in Brooklyn and was enjoying the new life she had in the sun. She was around 18-20 years old at the time. I didn't know how she'd react to Smokey, but what could I do? We'd work it out. Anyway, I digress . . . as I usually do. Fast forward, Sushi died a few years later and it was just me and Smokey-Boy. Although he and Sushi never hit it off, he wasn't alone during the day. He got very attached to me and would latch himself on to my ankle every morning and bite me, before I left for work - he had terrible separation anxiety. He had to get a time out in a big walk in closet. When I let him out (a mere 30 or 60 seconds later) he'd hang his head and "say" "it wasn't me . . . it was that terrible other cat that comes here sometimes" . . . I felt so badly leaving him alone - That's when I said I'd never just have 1 cat again!
I had a habit of leaving my sneakers and socks in the tv/computer room so I'd be ready to put them on and jump up and exercise (I couldn't give myself any excuses to forego exercise - Heaven forbid I have to walk into the other room to get my socks!) Anyway, I started to notice each morning, one sock in the middle of the dining room . . . then it progressed to 2 socks . . . always on the path to my bedroom. Then the socks would appear at the door to my bedroom, and ultimately in the bedroom. Obviously Smokey was bringing them in but when, why? One night, I heard my Boy "singing" from the tv room. It started to get louder and I "answered" him . . . "what are you doing Boy," I yelled to the other side of the house. He "yelled" back to me, then he'd wait and I'd "yell" back again. Then his responses sounded a bit muffled but closer. He'd be "talking" to me with a sock in his mouth as he carried it in to me. Then he'd go back to the tv room and get the other one. The whole time we'd be "conversing." Was he chastising me for leaving my socks there or just letting me know what he was doing? This went on every night for the last 2 years of his life. Once the socks were safely deposited in the proper room he'd jump up on the bed, nose his way under my arm and lay down. Of course, each day I would have to carry the socks back to my sneakers. If I got into bed and forgot the socks, I'd get out of bed and carry them in to the other room for Smokey.
I came to feel that this was Smokey's "job." He had made it his job. And he seemed to take it very seriously. When Smokey started getting sick at the end, he continued to try to bring the socks to me. Sometimes, he'd only make it part way . . . sometimes, with only 1 sock. One night, he didn't call out to me and he didn't bring my socks to me. I knew we were coming to the end and I cried. My poor Boy couldn't do his job anymore. He felt stronger for a bit, and the first thing he did was bring in the socks for a few days. But then, it just stopped.
It's been almost 3 years since my precious Boy left me and it's only recently I'm able to think about that wonderful experience I shared with my little companion. It makes me smile with such joy. It was such a wonderful gift he gave me. I still miss him.