Smokey Quasar — The Mischievous Indulged Furry

July 27, 1994 - May 12, 2003

Smokey made a wonderful first impression - a lustrous gray coat; large, beautiful eyes; and a big bundle of 12-week old kitten energy...and I mean "big"...she was already almost 4 pounds! Her name was obvious: Smokey for her color, and Quasar for her big bright eyes that were like luminous objects in the universe. She also quickly became named my "Little Miss Mischief". No house plant was safe from being knocked over or hidden under. Even the hanging plant wasn't was just a small leap from the top of the t.v. to being Tarzan-kitty on the hanging plant....which I found one day on the floor!

got my toy!

at the water dishes
drinking from my hands

Smokey loved to play with water and thought it was a neat trick to tip over the water bowl to watch the water spill out.  There'd eventually be a toy floating in the bowl because any small object that she could carry ended up in her water bowl, including a wrist watch! The PetWell drinking fountain interested her about as much as it did Felix, but her fish-shaped water bowl (any water bowl) was always a great source of amusement for her.  I'd actually worry that she'd fall asleep and her head would fall in the water!

Every morning when I got dressed Smokey always sat on the counter next to the sink. She waited for me to turn the water on for her to watch drizzle down the drain.  Of course I had to take time out from getting ready and make her a personal waterfall.

got my fishy toy Smokey was my little hunter.  Her hunting instincts began very early in life when she'd carry her toys around the house and play "fetch" with them -- I tossed them, and she brought them back in exchange for a scratch at the base of her tail.  Her little terry cloth fishy toy was her favorite.  It was small enough to carry easily, and had the added benefit of soaking up water from the water bowl.  There was often a detour to the water bowl when we played fetch, and she'd come back with a soaking wet fishy.  Even more fun was when she bring me her soaking wet fishy in the middle of the night. She wanted to play fetch and what better way to wake your human than to have them roll over on a squishy wet toy?  Hunting occasionally included lizards or birds but we tried to keep those to a minimum. 

The prey drive was often satisfied with a treat, and if one wasn't available, she didn't hesitate to open the cabinets and bite open the bags to see if they contained cat food.  Of course once you've checked out your food supply, you might as well settle in for a nap. in the food cabinet She knew the sound of the hand-held can opener and the hiss of the can as the vacuum was broken.  Even though she loved being in the back yard, she loved her food even more and she would run in from the yard whenever she heard a can opening.  She was often disappointed that I bothered to open a can of something other than cat food!  

Saying that Smokey loved her food is like saying the Himalayas are big mountains. There's just no adequate way to describe Smokey's passion for food.  Her first week in the house, she established herself as "empress" and would push her older brother Felix out of the food dish. Being the sweetie he is, he would sit beside the dish and watch her eat.  Smokey's passion for food had eating it's down side.  Within a few years, she had grown from a big kitten to a big girl...all 15 pounds of her.  The vet said to try to keep her from getting any heavier, but it was a battle, especially when she was a glutton and Felix was a nibbler.  Unfortunately, I couldn't put Felix's food anywhere that Smokey couldn't get to it.  Remember, this little girl could open the cabinets! And her weight did not prevent her from jumping on the counters or climbing the furniture.  Within a couple years, I had an 18 pound kitty on my hands!  That was the end of the free feeding and she was put on a restricted calorie diet.  Poor Felix went hungry a large part of the day because I couldn't leave his food out, but Smokey's weight had to be controlled. We were able to get her back to a healthier 16 pounds, but it was a constant battle.

tummy rub from daddy
In a very un-catlike manner, tummy rubs were one of her favorite things. You'd have to be careful where you stepped because she'd flop to the floor to beg for tummy rubs. She also loved laying on her back in my lap getting her nails trimmed (my little princess) or having her tummy combed. She loved the attention and it sure made nail trimming time easy!
Favorite tummy rubs were given by her daddy. There was something special about his touch, and the patio table after breakfast was as good a place as any to get a nice tummy rub. 

Where's that neighbor cat?! Although she was a very independent kitty who enjoyed spending most evenings in the back yard, she was also very affectionate. She'd snooze under a blanket with me while I watched tv and sleep under the covers with me during winter. She'd usually prowl around the house sometime during the night, but come morning, she'd paw at my blanket to tell me it's time to get her breakfast, and if pawing wasn't enough to convince me it was time to get up, she'd occasionally lick my eyebrows! Unfortunately, her affection did not extend to the neighbor's cat.  She would excavate fist-sized river rocks to try to get her paws under the fence and get a good swipe at the cat next door.  I'm sure she was frustrated that I kept putting the rocks back, but the next day they'd be excavated again so she had a better chance of swatting poor neighbor kitty who was just trying to enjoy a snooze in his yard.  She'd lay by the fence for hours waiting for him to stroll by (no doubt tormenting her with his free-roaming abilities) and would stand guard at the knot-hole in the fence, waiting for him to get too close. There were many paw-fights through that little knot-hole.  Guarding her turf was important!

Like Bentley, Smokey was entertained by her Indulged Hamster housemates.  She enjoyed sitting on top of the playland watching whoever was inside.  And she also liked being IN the hamster cage. I'm sure her only intention was to keep it warm for Gizmo while he was out!

Gizmo hamster, you home?

Gizmos cage is nice

in Gizmos cage

Gizmo, are you home?
Are you hiding from me?
I just want to come in 
to get a closer sniff.

Gizzy, are you in this corner?

I'll just keep your cage warm 
for you until you return.

All the Indulged Kitties are confined to the house and back yard, so they look forward to putting on a harness and going out front for some exploring.  We were the attention-getting Harness and Happy Tail sight on our street, and people would literally do "double takes" or stop their cars to watch us or ask how I EVER managed to get a cat to wear a harness. I'd explain that the kitties knew their harness meant "front yard time" and looked forward to seeing the harnesses come out.  You must keep in mind that cats are not dogs, and they don't "heal" or walk with you.  That would be very un-catlike!  A caretaker must immediately realize that you are not walking the cat, but the cat is walking you!  It takes a while to master the technique of trying to lead them where you would prefer to go, but you generally find yourself shimmying behind bushes, ducking under tree branches, or trying to keep your balance while following a kitty intent on exploring wherever they can get.  Luckily, the neighbors knew of our "indulgence philosophy" and they humored us with the use of their front yards.  Smokey was always happy when on a front-yard adventure, and she showed this by doing  "Happy Tail".... holding her beautiful furry tail up high. It always reminded me of the stars in the handle of the Big Dipper, so she is indulged with her own constellation...are Smokey's stars....they look just like "Happy Tail". Smokey on her Sheepskin Rug

Sadly, Smokey was diagnosed with incurable lymphoma in July 2002. My little girl was brave trouper through her illness.  She had some bad days, but thankfully the final 9 months of her life were high-quality and happy times for her.  She was indulged with every food or treat she wanted, had lots of time in the back yard, lots of attention, and of course all the love she could stand!  One of her favorite indulgences during the final months of her life was to snuggle up on her very own sheep skin rug. It was purchased as an area rug, but she fell in love with it and it became hers.  She will always be Forever Indulged.