On May 11, we said goodbye to our dear cat Smokey. Smokey was a beautiful, 21-year-old Russian Blue with a feisty attitude and a penchant for eating human food. He often stalked around and under your high chair waiting for a stray garbanzo bean or some macaroni and cheese to roll his way. He did not ever wait long.
I first met Smokey in June of 2005 when I started dating Dad. They used to play a game where Dad would bounce Smokey in his arms, and then toss him in the air over the bed. When Smokey landed, he nuzzled right up to Dad to tell him he wanted to keep playing. Now Dad plays a similar game with you, but when you want more, you just yell "More bouncing again right now please!"
While we were living in New York, Smokey was diagnosed with kidney and thyroid diseases, and we had to put him on several medications. Despite this, he usually acted like a kitten, full of energy and very affectionate.
Smokey lived in Chicago, Boston, New York and San Francisco. He was a very worldly cat, whose favorite things included sitting on Dad's lap every evening, galloping down the hall at odd hours, ice cream, and Emma. And then sometimes not Emma. Smokey was a bit of an enigma. His opinion of you can best be described as dubious. As you will recall from earlier letters, you pulled his fur, grabbed him by his back legs, and generally tormented him with all of your "love." But to his credit, he didn't hold this against you much of the time. When you were very small, he would sit with us in the rocking chair while you nursed. And recently, he even started approaching you while you were reading on our bed. But if you turned too quickly or expressed too much interest in him, he was out of there. He just wanted to watch you.
The day we said goodbye to Smokey, we also said goodbye to your baby monitors. You announced that the one in your room was "scary" and that although the other one was "nice," you wanted neither of them around you. I asked you why one was scary and you said "Because it watches you." I can see how that would be somewhat discomforting, so we took the monitors away. But then it turned out you weren't really scared of them, you just wanted to hold them and talk about them all the time. After two weeks of the monitors being your constant companions ("the monitors are your friends" is a sentence that came out of your mouth more than once), I finally had to tell you that we gave them away to a family with a small baby.
Of Smokey, you sometimes say "Smokey went with the doctor. But he's coming back soon." And when I tell you Smokey is not coming back, you say "Oh yeah." And then you ask for your monitors.
The last thing you said to Smokey was "Hey Smokey, you good cat, you." He was a good cat. It's hard to believe he's gone.