Smokey’s Brush With Death

I wrote this on June 10, 2011.  Things have changed since then as you will learn later.  I hope you enjoy what I have gone through while owning two very different cats.

I have two cats; Smokey and Tiger.  Smokey is a 9 year old black, medium length hair domestic (as stated on his adoption papers from Denver Dumb Friends League).  His behavior can be spastic at times and schizophrenic at others.  If there were a cat version for Haldol, Smokey would be on a 10 mg, 4 times per day prescription and I would be broke. 

He is, however, a professional cat.  He knows how to walk the walk and he sure knows how to meow the meow.  If he were a human, he would probably work as the manager of a fancy furniture store (being that he loves to lounge on my computer chair, the couch, the bed in my spare room, etc.).  He could probably write a book on the poshiness, cushiness and comfortability of all the items of furniture I own; that is, if he were a human. 

Tiger is an oaf, a klutz.  He is an 8 ½ year old, orange and white medium length haired tabby (you probably figured his description from his name).  I got him for free from a coworker when I worked at Home Depot.  He’s probably cost me many hundreds of dollars since then (in cat food, litter, vet bills) and a few grey hairs.  I describe Tiger as 33.3% cat (that’s obvious when you look at him), 33.3% dog (he retrieves paper wads, he’s overly friendly, he comes when I whistle, he loves the outdoors, I think he was a K9 in his previous life) and 33.3% raccoon (fluffy tail and he’s a scavenger).  He has, however, not inherited any dog or raccoon intelligence.  He has the attention span of a rock and a brain the size of an acorn. 

Despite my cats obvious opposing behavior, they do get along…most of the time.  One of their favorite pass-times is sparring for the feline version of UFC.  Even though Tiger out-weighs Smokey by at least 8 pounds and is easily 5 inches longer, Smokey usually ends up with the champion belt.  Yes, he has established himself as the “alpha male”. 

Once Smokey spent 4 nights outside (I had given him up for dead).  When he had returned, Tiger seemed surprised.  I guess he had given his kitten-hood friend up for dead as well.  Anyway, Tiger had apparently been self appointed as the new alpha male.  He strutted his stuff around, cut in front of Smokey at the cat food line, picked fights and gave him “the look”.  Smokey, however, re-established himself back to his former position several days later.  This was evidenced by me finding more Tiger fur than Smokey fur strewn all over my house which indicated that feline UFC was back in season.  Tiger’s dominion of my home was short lived but he definitely made his mark. 

One of the funniest things happened this morning.  I usually leave my garage door open about 1 foot so the cats can come and go as they please.  Just before I left for the day, I remembered it was still open.  I went to the garage and discovered both cats eagerly contemplating a morning stroll outside.  This was accomplished by lying as close to the door as possible and peering outside without really being outside (if you know what I mean).  Without warning, I pressed the button to close the garage door.  Tiger just about jumped to the ceiling and tore inside the house; utilizing his rarely used “flight” response.  Smokey, on the other hand, decided to go with the first impulse that popped into his head, “I’ll run straight for the closing garage door and see if I can squeeze my furry body through just before it closes,”

This did not end well, however.  Unfortunately, the door was faster than Smokey thought and it won the race.  For a split second, I saw Smokey’s back-side struggling to wedge through the closed garage door to meet his front-side on the other side.  I could only imagine what his front-side looked like from my driveway.  I didn’t have much time to contemplate that because my reflexes kicked in and I opened the garage door after that split second.  I do not like to see the suffering of creatures lesser than men (cats included), but I had to admit it was the funniest thing I had seen in a long time. 

After Smokey had been freed from the crushing jaws of a monstrous 4 paneled garage door, he high tailed it out of there.  All I saw was a black streak make a bee-line from the garage door into the house.  If the distance were any longer, I think Smokey would have taken flight!  I found him surprisingly at the foot of the stairs nursing his invisible “wounds” and not under my bed where he usually ends up after other such exhilarating experiences.  He was, however, trembling, eyes wide with his hair standing on end.  No not really! 

His brush with death had been short lived and he had come out as the victor.  I inspected him and found him intact and otherwise unscathed.  He even looked up at me with those big yellow eyes as if to thank me for pressing the button that saved him from certain death.  I think I deserve a metal.  Smokey, however, will need a psychiatrist and a shrink.

Smokey and Tiger enjoying a lazy mornig

The bad news is that currently (August 8, 2011) both Smokey and Tiger have been gone for two weeks.  They went outside and have not returned.  Living in Colorado and having outdoor cats does have its drawbacks.  The elements are not so forgiving and neither are the coyotes, foxes, cars and occational mountain lions.  It is with deep sorrow that I am writing this today.  No, not really.  Even though I am a dog person and never really loved my cats (they were leftovers from my divorce), it feels a bit lonely in my house when I don’t have my kids.  Maybe I’ll get some more cats later and have some more stories about my adventures with them!  Who knows.


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