Smokey thinks he wants to go out more than he actually does

9 Feb
Smokey desires to dominate, conquer the snow. Photo: Alexandra Hanson-Harding

Smokey the cat desires to dominate, conquer the snow.


Son number 2 found Smokey near train tracks by a dumpster. while he was on a smoking break behind Shop-Rite a few years ago. Back then, she was a pathetic, beat up kitten with gigantic, pink ears that had disgusting black gunk in them. The Child brought a box home at midnight, burst into our room with excitement, said, “Guys! I got a surprise!” and out popped that tiny sad kittenhead mouthing a silent fangy meow.

“Noooooooo,” said the father.

“Nonononononononono,” said I.

“Just for a day or two,” wheedled son. “In my room.”

We couldn’t figure out if Smokey was a boy or a girl several weeks later when we took her to get spayed. We knew there was something about a “colon” or a “semicolon” look to their hindquarters that was supposed to tell us. For some reason, we were certain that whichever of those indicated she was a girl, that was the one that was correct. Smokey went to the vet a girl, and came back who the hell cares. But technically, his preferred pronouns are he/his.

I didn’t want to have a dumpster kitten. We’d raised dumpster kittens in the past and found them sad, damaged souls, skittish and difficult. Smokey is skittish compared to his brother cat Monk, who is a big hopeless schmoo who sleeps on our bed all night and smothers us with love. Smokey doesn’t like being picked up. He is particular about when he will have his back scratched or when he will touch your finger with his delicate trianble of a nose. But he radiates happiness. I look at him taking naps on a pile of laundry, (happily shedding his cheap fur), lying on his back in a patch of sunlight, chasing a small jingleball with fierce attention, grooming Monk or having a back-to-back cuddle in some obscure corner that no human has thought to make use of, and he makes me happy. He just looks as if he’s feeling so safe, so comfortable, so settled.

Soon, the Child will be taking Smokey to live with him. He’s missing his dumpster kitten, now healthy, happy big boy cat. He made a good choice, saving this seemingly unsaveable little being. Smokey brought us a lot of pleasure. I know that sometimes people go too far trying to intervene in hopeless situations. But maybe, sometimes, there are times when a intervening turns out even better than one imagines. Finding Smokey the little dumpster cat was one of those moments for my son. And for me.



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