The Cat: Smokestone, 2002-2018

This year we lost our companion, our cat Smokestone. He was 16 years old, with all the ills attendant on such an age, and he had a tumor on his thigh that was not getting any better. Well, yes, we "lost" him not in the sense of our misplacing him, or his running away, or getting hit by a car. We had him euthanized, which on one hand was inevitable, but on the other, nobody told him that and he went about his business every day as best he was able. When he laid down, he did ooze a bit and he couldn't help licking the tumor, but at least he didn't seem to be in pain. "Cats are stoic," I think the vet said. Or, their range of expressions is limited, and their most familiar and successful communications are, as most of us know, along the lines of... "Feed me. Now." "I want to go out." "I want to come in."

He was born to a feral mom, and never really learned either the niceties of house cat behavior, and was never a lapcat. At the same time, he was very much an (indoor-) outdoor cat, with all the instincts operating if not necessarily well-refined. Marked his territory, and patrolled it (across the street, for some reason, rather than over the back fence) but wasn't an especially good hunter. Even in his old age he could find amusement with almost anything we brought into the house. He was also strangely companionable, at least with me...

Cat and man - living room
Cat and man - bed

Or, perhaps, he was just very tolerant of human encroachment on his turf. Certainly, in his younger days he had a very high opinion of where he could go. Like on the kitchen table. Strange thing was, I don't think he ever attempted the kitchen counter, between the sink and the stove, where we prep meals and prepared his food. Anywhere else, toilets, bathtubs, showers, all had their appeal at one time or another. I think it had everything to do with what he could see from the floor, or from the chair in the kitchen.

The last day